Birthday: March 4, 1969
Age: 51 Years
Sun Sign: Pisces
Also Known As: Chastity Sun Bono, Chastity Bono, Chaz Salvatore Bono
Born in: Los Angeles
Famous as: Actor, LGBT Rights Activist
Height: 1.68 m
U.S. State: California
City: Los Angeles
education: Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
Chaz Bono is an American advocate, author, musician, public speaker, and actor. Chaz started his musical career in the late 80s when he joined a band, ‘Ceremony,’ which was a moderate success. In 1995, in an interview to a gay magazine, ‘The Advocate,’ Chaz announced that he was lesbian. Bono later became a prominent part of the magazine’s activism for the rights of the LGBT community. During 2008-2010, Chaz underwent female-to-male gender transition. He later took everyone by surprise when he revealed that he had opted to undergo partial surgery and that he hadn’t replaced his primary sex organs. He then filmed a documentary titled ‘Becoming Chaz,’ which was based on his controversial transformation. He also appeared in the 13th season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ where he was paired with a professional dancer Lacey Schwimmer.
Childhood & Early Life
Chaz was born Chastity Sun Bono on March 4, 1969, in Los Angeles, California. He was born to the popular pop duo Cher and Sonny Bono and often appeared on his parents’ famous television show. He was named after a film produced and written by Sonny Bono.
Chaz hogged the limelight since his birth as his parents were at the peak of their respective career. He made his first TV appearance in his parents’ show ‘The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.’ During the filming of the show, Chaz felt uncomfortable when he was asked to wear the clothes given to him. To everyone’s surprise, he was interested in trying out the outfit worn by male artists.
Sonny and Cher’s marriage ended in a bitter divorce when Chaz was six years old. He attended ‘The High School of Performing Arts’ in New York City, where he befriended Jennifer Aniston.
Though he was interested in performing arts, he was often bothered by the confusion regarding his identity. As soon as he stepped into his teens, he realized that he wasn’t interested in boys and that he was a lesbian. But by the time he was in his late teens, he began to understand his real identity.
Unfortunately, Chaz had to undergo a difficult phase, which was further worsened by the fact that his mother wasn’t pleased with his revelation. In fact, she ended up disowning him, but he was not ashamed of his identity and decided to make a career in the field of entertainment. Hence, he started focusing on his musical skills.
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While pursuing his college education at ‘New York University,’ Chaz embarked on a musical journey by joining a band named ‘Ceremony’ in 1988. Apart from being the band’s lead vocalist, he also played the guitar and percussion. During his struggle days, Bono did not tell anyone about his famous parents. However, after a few months, he finally revealed his true identity and ended up signing a record deal.
‘Geffen Records’ cracked a deal with his band and in the following few years, ‘Ceremony’ came up with several songs for the record label and most of the songs were written by Chaz. He and his band members experimented quite a lot by fusing psychedelic undertones with soft music. In the year 1993, the band released its album ‘Hang Out Your Poetry,’ which received mixed response. However, a few critics praised the creative attributes of the album and called it a ‘soothing psychedelia.’
As soon as Chaz came out of the closet, ‘Star Magazine’ published a lengthy story regarding Chaz’s sexual orientation. The fact that Cher and Sonny’s only child was a lesbian became the talking point in media. In 1995, Chaz disclosed his thoughts to a number of people with the help of a magazine ‘The Advocate.’ Since the magazine was one of the leading American LGBT publications, it made Chaz famous overnight.
He then joined the publication as a writer, and in 1996, he joined ‘Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’ (GLAAD). He became the organization’s ‘Entertainment Media Director’ and raised his voice against the emotional and physical assaults on homosexuals.
In 1998, he bid farewell to ‘GLAAD’ when he was embroiled in a controversy. According to a few reports, Chaz’s nasty comments, made on the popular sitcom ‘Ellen,’ had given rise to the controversy. However, Chaz made it clear that his comments were taken out of context.
Facing Inner Demons
When he repeatedly failed to make the world accept him for who he was, Chaz turned his attention towards illegal substances. During his struggling days, Chaz suffered from an illicit drug use disorder. He could come out of drug abuse only in 2004.
He took professional help from psychiatrists and after several counselling sessions, he decided to give up on drugs in order to start afresh. He also decided to go ahead with the sex reassignment surgery to make peace with his inner self.
In 2008, Chaz sought medical help in order to transform his body and eventually changed his official name from Chastity Sun Bono to Chaz Salvatore Bono. In 2010, he got the official documentation for the same.
Though he was initially reluctant to reveal the details regarding his transformation, Chaz decided to narrate his story when he received support from ‘GLAAD’ and other LGBT organizations that encouraged him to speak about his journey in order to inspire many others.
Chaz then started working on a documentary about his life. His documentary ‘Becoming Chaz’ had its world premiere at the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ in 2011. The documentary received a standing ovation at the film festival.
Later that year, Chaz released another book titled ‘Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man.’ His second book too, was appreciated by readers and critics alike.
Chaz appeared in the 13th season of the celebrity dance show ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Although he was eliminated rather quickly, he received a lot of praise for competing in the show.
Chaz Bono was in a relationship with Jennifer Elia in the 90s. Their affair was extensively covered by tabloids. After 12 years of being together, the couple called it quits in 2011. According to Chaz, they parted ways due to personal differences and that the break-up happened in an amicable manner.