Chastity Bono says getting sober was the first step toward gaining confidence to start her gender re-assignment surgery.
Bono, the 40-year-old daughter of the ‘Believe” singer, Cher, and her late husband Sonny, has been living as a man. She calls herself Chaz, and says she has never felt comfortable being a female.
Eventually, he knew she would have to confront the difficult decision to have a sex change.
“It wasn’t a sudden decision. I’ve been doing therapy for a long time. It’s a long process going back almost a decade. I got clean and sober in 2004 and I couldn’t have done this before that,” he says.
“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.
“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.”
Chaz began the process in March by taking male hormone pills.
“It lowered my voice. Fat redistributes, muscle growth, hair growth, sex drive increases. It doesn’t change anything mentally and emotionally,” Chaz said. “[I’m] still not anywhere near what I will look like but really for the first time I am feeling much more comfortable with how I look physically.”
But it will take some time before she can fully call herself a man.
“I will be changing for about four to five years in total but I’ll be on testosterone for the rest of my life. The nice thing about this process is it is slow. I am literally going through puberty,” he said on celebutainment show “Entertainment Tonight.”
Chaz declines to reveal the full extent of the surgery she plans to have. “That’s a personal decision and I don’t really feel comfortable talking about anything below the waist,” he says.
Chaz, however, has had his breasts removed and could have penile implant surgery if he so chose.
“Most people call it top surgery. The construction of the male chest from a female chest. When I went through puberty and started to grow breasts, it was very uncomfortable and emotional,” 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.”
“Still not anywhere near what I will look like, but really for the first time I am feeling much more comfortable with how I look physically,” he says.
Cher briefly kicked Chastity out of the house when she came out as a lesbian at 18. But she told People magazine she now supports her child’s decision.
“Chaz is embarking on a difficult journey, but one that I will support,” she said. “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.”