Chaz Bono: Gender Is Between Your Ears, Not Between Your Legs
"It would be easy to say, 'Why did I wait so long to do this?' but I am a person who believes things will happen when they're suppose to happen. I was ready when I was ready. Life is just great now," he said.
Bono, who has served as a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) civil rights advocate, began the gender-changing process earlier this year, following his 40th birthday. His publicist announced Bono's decision to undergo gender reassignment in June. He is currently living with his girlfriend Jennifer.
Bono has undergone breast removal surgery and began taking hormones to alter his appearance. "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," he said.
"Gender is between your ears and not between your legs. I've felt male for as far back as I can remember," he said. "As I child, I felt like a boy. My friends were boys and in school, I related to boys. If a game broke out [with] girls against the boys, I was always with the boys."
But as Bono hit puberty, there were obstacles to overcome pressures from society to conform. "As you get older, it gets more confusing. Suddenly there is more pressure to fit into your assigned identity... At 13 or 14, it was real clear I was attracted to women," stating that he tried to take the easy way out and assumed he must be a lesbian.
Bono knew it went much deeper than that though. "I've only been on hormone therapy for about eight months now... I feel so much more comfortable than I've ever been, but [there's] more to come," he said. "The first hurtle was that I wouldn't be able to do this privately like most people can. Then, it was about dealing with the people in my life and how it was going to affect them... I have to live my life for myself and life is too short and precious. This is who I am, and I need to finally be who I am."
At this point, Bono admits nothing really scares him anymore about the transformation. "Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I needed to work through the things that scared me in order to start this journey. At this point, nothing scares me. I'm living the life that I've always wanted to live now and that's amazing."
While Bono never sought to be a public figure of the LGBT community, he is taking it in stride. "I'm not looking at it as campaigning. I struggled a lot getting here. If by being public about [my transformation], other people can see this and not have to struggle quite as much as I did, than I'm really happy to do that."
"If I can help make things easier, legislation wise, I'm happy to do that as well. I've been an activist in the LGBT community for a long time, and I don't think that really anything as changed. I'm just more focused on the T now than I was with the L and the G," he laughed.
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