Chaz Bono's groundbreaking and candid account of a 40-year struggle to match his gender identity with his physical body and his transformation from female to male.
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 18 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 20s, 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.
©2011 Chaz Bono (P)2011 Penguin
I was pleasantly surprised! I usually think it's a mistake for authors to read their own material, but Chas does a nearly perfect job. I thought that after two previous books, the material would be stale; but no! He offers a fresh perspective. What I found very satisfying is that, just as he describes his newly found comfort and ease in living, his writing is evidence of it. The fresh freedom comes leaping off the pages. Energy and confidence!
The book is not overlong, and it only just slightly barely almost but not quite drags, in just a few tense places. Just when I thought, "Oh no, Chas! You've said just enough, don't say anymore", he pauses, and doesn't say anymore.
I saw his parents in concert, when Chastity was about three, and she wandered out on stage in red cowboy pants, a fringed shirt, white boots and a white cowboy hat. Although I don't follow vocalists or actors or celebrities generally, Chas has been a curiosity for me. From time to time I would see a picture or read a blurb with unusual interest. I find myself feeling happy for him, because when I see him now, he seems more present, more confident, just more sure of himself. Just more himself, and that's a good thing! I'm also happy that he appreciates his good fortune in being able to pursue what he intuited was necessary for his happiness here on earth. I think he will use his happiness and generally peaceful demeanor to help others. But Chas, don't forget to take care of yourself!
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