I don’t usually take time out of my day to watch Oprah at four o’clock in the afternoon. But I did today, because Chaz Bono was doing an interview and promoting his new book, Transition: The Story Of How I Became A Man.
Although I can’t relate completely as a gay man, I did have a friend once who was a woman who felt as if he was trapped in a man’s body. I didn’t know this at first. He was always very reclusive and quiet. And he refused to show is feet…even when he went to the beach. As it turned out, he refused to show is feet because his toenails were always painted and he didn’t want anyone to find out. It wouldn’t have mattered: he was with a group of gay people who wouldn’t have cared whether his toenails were painted or not. But in his mind the magnitude of wanting to be a woman was so intense he created this sort of block that kept him separated from the rest of the world. It’s the only way I can describe it.
Eventually, he came to terms and is now living somewhere in Philadelphia as a woman. But he cut off all his friends, even the ones who would have supported him, because it was such an intense situation for him. So while I can’t personally relate to this topic, I’m very empathetic to it and I think what Chaz did took a massive amount of courage most people wouldn’t be able to handle.
I’ll be reading Chaz’s book. And, I hope Chaz decides to enter this in the Rainbow Awards this year. I think it’s a must read for anyone in the lgbt community.
At first, America knew the only child of Sonny and Cher as Chastity, the cherubic little girl who appeared on her parents’ TV show. In later years, she became famous for coming out on a national stage, working with two major organizations toward LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights and publishing two books. And just within the past eighteen months, Chaz Bono has entered the public consciousness as the most high-profile transgender person ever.
All through the hoopla surrounding his change, Chaz has insisted on maintaining his privacy. Now, in Transition, Chaz finally tells his story. Part One traces his decision to transition, beginning in his childhood-when he played on the boys’ teams and wore boys’ clothing whenever possible-and going through his painful, but ultimately joyful, coming out in his twenties, up to 2008, when, after the death of his father, drug addiction, and five years of sobriety, Chaz was finally ready to begin the process of changing his gender. In Part Two, he offers an unprecedented record in words and photographs of the actual transition, a real-time diary as he navigates uncharted waters. These chapters capture the day-to-day momentum of his life as his body changes.
Throughout the book, Chaz touches on themes of identity, gender, and sexuality; parents and children; and how harboring secrets shatters the soul. It is an amazing contribution to our understanding of a much- misunderstood community.