Imagine living your entire life trapped in the wrong body.
Imagine waking up every day wishing you were the opposite sex.
Now imagine doing everything you could in your power to change the way you look, feel and act.
Chaz Bono, the only child of celebrities Sonny and Cher, lived this life, and shared his story with CSUSB faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, May 13, in the Santos Manuel Student Union.
The CSUSB Pride Center welcomed Bono with a full and eager crowd.
Before the event, the audience didn’t know all of the turmoil that Bono faced in his everyday life before his surgeries.
As he shared, the crowd began to understand the pain he experienced throughout his transformation.
Bono started his life as a female, Chastity Bono, a tomboy, who didn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. He lived day in and day out feeling different and alone in a world that was not accepting.
“I was born female, but always felt male. My sex and gender identity didn’t match up. It made for a really difficult life,” said Bono.
From the ages of five to six years old, Bono was the ultimate tomboy. From the clothing, toys, trading cards, posters, television shows and music, Bono’s life was male oriented.
“My gender expression was a typical and weird, but people liked me cause I was a very sweet child, always doing the right thing.”
Bono’s choice of dress and friendships were looked over because of the kind and sweet attitude he always had. But this only lasted for so long.
Before he knew it, his mom, Cher, was forcing him to wear skirts and dresses at least once a week.
“My mom had these expectations of what she wanted her daughter to be, and I didn’t fit that expectation.”
The older Bono got, the more expectations were placed on him.
Being a cute, sweet tomboy didn’t cut it anymore.
Bono was forced to act and dress like a young woman.
It was during this time Bono started to go through puberty.
“I felt like my body was betraying me. I wanted muscles, to have hair and to be taller. Instead, I got curvy and started developing,” explained Bono.
Bono lived through high school thinking he could only be gay or lesbian because those where the only terms he knew.
He had no idea he could be labeled transgender until he was an adult.
It took him 10 years to actually transform from a female to a male.
“Once I made the decision to transform, I had absolute peace in knowing that everything would eventually be okay,” said Bono.
Bono went under a physical and social gender transition, from female to male.
After changing his name, he went through with several surgeries to complete his happiness as a male.
“The comfort that I feel now, I can’t put into words,” said Bono.
Today, Bono is a LGBTQQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Allies) rights advocate, three-time book author and an inspirational speaker.
“If I am not treated well, and others like me are not treated well, I want to do something to make that better,” said Bono.
The main advice Bono gave was for ALL parents was to love and support their children and encourage them to feel comfortable with who they.