Much fanfare, both positive and negative, surrounded Chaz Bono’s announcement of his gender transition. Hailed as a possible turning point for the mainstreaming of transgender images and culture, eyes are most certainly turned onto the only child of singer and gay icon Cher and the late entertainer/congressman Sonny Bono.
This is exactly why a sweeps week interview on Entertainment Tonight is a fitting stage. Chaz was interviewed by the show’s Mary Hart and Mark Steines at his Los Angeles home for a series of segments.
New pictures of a masculine Bono have started appearing in gossip blogs and rags, including his emergence from a post-surgery support group and ring shopping. One source even claims that the star has even posed for a photo shoot showing off his newly reconstructed chest.
Entertainment Tonight, however, gets more intimate when Chaz answers questions about starting testosterone therapy last March, his recent top surgery, shaving practices, and his decision to transition:
I believe that gender is something between your ears not between your legs. That is something I discovered in the early ’90s. It was just a long process of being comfortable enough to do something about it. I was turning 40 and I thought it’s now or never.
Transitions are hard for any trans individual, but going through it so late in life must also present its own set of difficulties. Bono, as well as many transitioning compare the process to going through puberty all over again. Bono himself describes: “It lowered my voice. Fat redistributes, muscle growth, hair growth, sex drive increases. It doesn’t change anything mentally and emotionally.” And while it may not change one’s personality, hormones most certainly affect one’s emotions.
The process is not all arduous however. Bono describes his new facial hair with glee when he says, “I shave about once a week now. It kind of started to come in just like peach fuzz. I always wanted to shave. It is a very natural process. For my birthday I got a lot of shaving stuff.”
Chaz Bono has had a rough coming out experience throughout the ’90s with various family tensions, but rumor mill gossip is portraying a very supportive mama Cher.
How do you feel about the coverage of Chaz’s transition? Is it being handled well by the media?