Chaz Bono Proves Transgender Isn't What You Think

Julie Ryan Evans

Chaz BonoIn 2009 when she was 40 years old, Chastity Bono revealed that she would become a man. The following year she did so, with cameras following her transition to him every step of the way. The result -- a book, “Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man,” being released this week, and a documentary titled "Becoming Chaz," that premieres tomorrow night on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Today Oprah aired a taped segment with Chaz Bono that provided a frank and rare look into the transgendered world that is so often filled with misery and misunderstanding. He talked about the entire journey his life has been to get to the happy place he is today. He discussed his feelings as a small child and how difficult puberty was as he felt like his body was "literally betraying" him.

"It was just horrifying to me," he said. "You have this image of yourself and all of a sudden your body does the exact opposite of what you feel."

He also talked about the difference between being homosexual and transgendered -- a concept that perplexes many. He credits the movie Boys Don't Cry with helping him eventually understand himself.

I always had this idea that, 'Sure, I wished I was a boy and felt more like a boy and all of that.' But I wasn't, so I would deal with it. And I for some reason thought there were other lesbians that felt that way and that was just part of that community. Then I started to realize, no, that isn't what a lesbian is at all. That's what being transgender is.

One of the most challenging parts of his transformation was the reaction from his mother, Cher. At first she was "unbelievably cool," but as the changes continued to come, it became more difficult for her.

When my voice started to change, I think, is when it really hit her. The hard thing for my mom, I think, is that because she's a public figure and because she has this personality of kind of being so cool about stuff and progressive, people forget that she's a parent.

But despite the difficulty, he says he knows his mother still loves him, while many other transgendered individuals aren't so fortunate.

This is an incredibly difficult process for parents. The truth is that a lot of parents never speak to their transgender kids again. That's not the case in my family. There's no doubt about her love for me.

The Los Angeles Times says, "Becoming Chaz" is "undoubtedly one of the most thought-provoking films you will see on any screen this year." If today's appearance on Oprah is any indication, I'd say they're right.

Will you watch "Becoming Chaz" tomorrow night?

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