Ellen DeGeneres had Chaz Bono on her show Thursday to talk about his life as a man and his upcoming appearance on Dancing With the Stars. Ellen then surprised Chaz with a phone call from his mom, the one and only Cher. Cher didn't hold back her passionate support for her child and let us know she has no patience for those threatening to boycott DWTS. Cher said, "If you've got that excess time and that amount of hostility I'm not sure that I can say anything to you to change your feelings. Those are such feelings of hostility and fear." Listen to Cher come to Chaz's defense and watch Ellen and Chaz's reaction now.
By sharing what it was like to transition from female to male, Chaz Bono has done a lot to educate the mainstream about transgender issues. He's talked about how his gender crisis impacted his family life and created a documentary for OWN, Becoming Chaz, hoping to "put a face on an issue that people don't understand." Last night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Chaz continued to open up, this time talking about the "aha" moments that made him decide a sex change was what he ultimately wanted. Chaz said it was the media, including movies, books, documentaries, and TV, that helped him realize who he was. Perhaps that's why it's become so important to him to share his transition with the public.
On The Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday, Chaz Bono shared some of his stories about growing up in the world of celebrity, specifically, growing up as Sonny and Cher's little girl. He discussed his strained relationship with his mom and how his gender crisis affected his family life. Chaz is taking this time in his life to really open up about his sex change to help others and "put a face on an issue that people don't understand" with his documentary, Becoming Chaz, on Oprah's OWN network tonight, and his memoir, Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man, released today. In this clip from the interview, Oprah reads this excerpt from the memoir, "Even I can't believe that that cherubic little girl from the television screen would grow up to be a middle-aged man." Watch the rest of the clip below.
"I always felt like the male from the time I was a child. There wasn't much feminine about me. I believe that gender is something between your ears not between your legs."
— Chaz Bono, the child of Sonny Bono and Cher, explains why he decided to transition from female to male. In his first interview since announcing his decision, Chaz says that he didn't want to wait until he was an old man to enjoy his life in a male body.
“Chaz is embarking on a difficult journey, but one that I will support. I respect the courage it takes to go through this transition in the glare of public scrutiny, and although I may not understand, I will strive to be understanding. The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child.”
— Cher on her child's decision to transition from female to male and call himself Chaz.
"Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity. He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago."
— Chastity Bono's spokesperson, Howard Bragman, in a written statement about Bono's decision to identify as male. Transitioning doesn't always mean gender reassignment surgery. According to Mara Keisling, executive director of the Washington-based National Center for Transgender Equality, "It's sort of a general term that encompasses both or either a social transition or a medical transition." Although Keisling said she didn't know Chaz's case specifically, to transition means that he will now be "known, seen, viewed" as male.