Thursday, July 16, 2009
Who's that Queer?
Chaz Sun Bono (born Chastity Sun Bono March 4, 1969) is an American LGBT rights advocate, writer, actor, and musician. Bono is the only child of American entertainers Sonny and Cher.
Bono was outed by tabloid press in the early 1990s and publicly self-identified as lesbian in a 1995 cover interview in The Advocate. The process of coming out to oneself and others was a central topic in Bono's two books: Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families (1998) tells the story of his own coming out as well as stories of other gay and lesbian people; the memoir The End of Innocence (2003) discusses his outing, music career, and partner Joan’s death from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Bono reported that Cher, who was both a gay icon and ally to LGBT communities, was quite uncomfortable with the news at first, and “went ballistic” before coming to terms with it: “By August 1996, one year after I came out publicly, my mother had progressed so far that she agreed to ‘come out’ herself on the cover of The Advocate as the proud mother of a lesbian daughter.” Cher has since become an outspoken LGBT rights activist. Sonny gave his child immediate support.
Bono’s paternal relationship became strained after Sonny became a Republican Congressmember from California. The differences in their political views separated them, and the two had not spoken for more than a year at the time of the Congressmember's fatal skiing accident in January 1998.
Bono is in the process of undergoing a gender transition which had begun mid-2008, as confirmed by his publicist in June 2009. The publicist stated, "It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his coming out did." GLAAD and the Empowering Spirits Foundation were quick to offer praise and support for his announcement.
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