In the past couple of decades, the LGBTQ community is flourishing mostly due to celebrities coming out. One of the first who publicly talked about being a transgender person is Chaz Bono, an only child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono.
Chastity Sun Bono was born in 1969 and from the start was under a spotlight along with her parents who often included Chas in their shows. Being so exposed from a young age made it even harder for Chaz to come out. The very first time he publicly talked about being a trans person was back in 1995. Before public admission, Chaz told his parents that she was gay and later changed it to be transgender. Cher knew about the hardships her son went through but was still stunned when she found out that Chaz talked about it to the media.
Even though Cher is an LGBTQ icon who fully supported the community for decades, the 75-year old singer went through a hard time accepting her child’s transformation. In the book “Family Outing” Chaz, 51, said that his mom “literally went ballistic” when she realized that Chastity is about to become Chaz.
“It was very unlike me to, in the beginning, have a problem with Chaz being gay, and it disappeared like that”, Cher said about her first reaction to the news. “But it wasn’t easy. I remember calling, and the old voicemail message was on the phone, and that was very difficult. But you don’t really lose them. They just are in a different shape”, the Oscar-winner said.
In 2008, Chaz decided to start his transition into the man he is today. As a transgender man, Chaz opened up doors for generations of LGBTQ people in many segments. He appeared for the first time ever in “Dancing With the Stars” as a trans person as having a different role instead of just talking about his gender transition journey.
The transition was completed in 2010, and in 2011 Chaz recorded a documentary “Becoming Chaz” in order to encourage others to just be who they are. The same year, Chaz gave an interview to Oprah where he discussed his struggles once puberty hit. “It felt like my body was literally betraying me”, he said, and Oprah jumped in: “The boobs threw you off”, to which Bono grunted loudly. “You have this image of yourself and all of a sudden your body does the exact opposite of what you feel”, he explained.
Cher and Chaz smoothed out the wrinkles in their relationship, and are having a loving bond again. Still, many fans did not expect the music superstar to react the way she did, being that she always wholeheartedly supported the Rainbow community. Cher admitted that, at one point, she surprised herself when she started behaving like she lost a child. In time, the “Goddess of Pop” came to terms with losing Chastity and having Chaz in her life.
Even though Cher is straight, she talked about the connection she felt with gay people since early childhood. One day when she was 9 years old she came home to an unusual scene. Two men, her mom, and her grandma were doing hair and make-up together. Young Cher was immediately drawn to the two guys and thought about how “they are the coolest”. “That was my introduction to the gay world. Gay people don’t feel like they fit in, and I never felt like I fit in”, Cher explained.