When he came out as a trans man in 2009, Chaz Bono broke down several barriers for trans people in mainstream media but his mother, the gay icon Cher struggled with it.
Bono competed on Dancing With the Stars (The US version of Strictly) as the first trans man to star on a major network TV show for something other than being transgender.
As the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono, Chaz was in the spotlight from practically the time he was born. Bono first came out as a lesbian in an April 1995 cover story for The Advocate.
Despite Bono making history and inspiring countless others along the way, Cher had a hard time grappling with his decision to transition. “Look, I didn’t handle [Chaz’s coming out] all that well in the beginning,” Cher said to SheKnows. “It took me a minute. Because you’ve been with a child for 40 years, and then all of a sudden [it changes].”
Cher and Chaz Bono now ‘get along better than ever’
Once Cher realized that Bono was much happier once he began living his truth, her love for her child only got bigger. She said that she had to sympathize with his struggles and put herself in his shoes in order to see life from his perspective.
“It’s like, if I woke up in the morning, and I wasn’t me anymore and I didn’t feel like me and I couldn’t be me, I would just be beyond grief-stricken,” she said. “And that’s what I have to tell a mother or father: You are who you are, but how would you feel if you were someone else and you couldn’t be that someone else? That’s how I had to get it.”
Cher admitted that she didn’t get to that point without some stumbles along the way. “I didn’t do it all that well in the beginning. So, I can’t take too many kudos,” she said, “but now, it’s fabulous.”