Chaz Bono transitions from Chastity to his real self

Mon May 9, 2011 2:00pm EDT
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "I was forced on stage at age two," says Chaz Bono, only child of Sonny and Cher, of life with the pop stars' during their heyday in the 1970s. "I looked retarded."

Fast-forward 40 years. The little blonde girl who traded scripted barbs with her famous parents on their popular TV variety show is legally a man, and finally comfortable in his own skin.

"Before, the person in the mirror didn't reflect the person that I felt I was," Bono told Reuters in a telephone interview. "Now when I look in the mirror, what I see is really me."

Bono went public a few years ago with his female-to-male gender transition, and then several steps further by embarking on an intimate documentary chronicling the process, both at home and in the doctor's office.

"Becoming Chaz", which had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, will be broadcast on Tuesday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) cable TV channel. Bono has also written a book -- "Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man" -- which is published this week.

"I knew I was going to write the book. I never thought of a film, but it seemed a good way to me to share the story," Bono said.

The film, mostly shot during 2009-10, opens just before Bono's trip to San Francisco for breast removal surgery, accompanied by her lesbian girlfriend of five years, Jennie. (At this point Bono was still legally a woman).

During the course of filming, Jennie becomes increasingly uncomfortable, not so much with Chaz's changing appearance, but with the increasingly assertive behavior, emotional swings and increased sex drives brought on by hormone treatments. She moves into the guest room.   Continued...