Photo Credit: Jeff Vespa/Contributor
Chaz Bono, child of Cher and Sonny Bono -- and formerly known as Chastity Bono before his sex change operation -- appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show Monday to talk about his new documentary Becoming Chaz (making its network TV debut on Winfrey's OWN on Tuesday). During the conversation, Bono opened up about how his transition from female to male has altered his life, as well as his longtime relationship with Jennifer Elia, who was also present for the interview.
"We had to really almost re-learn how to communicate and how to be around each other." Bono said. "Suddenly (things) didn't mean the same thing to her. And so we really had to, you know, adjust our -- how we did things and relearn how to be together." Elia, meanwhile, said that it was "really hard" to deal with her partner's gender change.
Chaz has been open about his years of struggle with his sexuality, and feeling trapped in the wrong body. He told Winfrey, "You have this image of yourself, and all of a sudden your body does the exact opposite of what you feel." But despite having his breasts removed, Chaz told Winfrey he doesn't want male genitalia. "At this point, I really don't have any plans to do bottom surgery," he says. "I feel really good, I feel like a man now, and I'm really happy."
His mother Cher isn't dealing with the situation quite so well. In an interview with Vanity Fair in November, Cher opened up about her own struggle to come to terms with Chaz's gender transition. "(Chaz is) a very smart girl -- boy! This is where I get into trouble. My pronouns are f***ed. I still don't remember to call her 'him.'" Despite the gender pronoun slip-ups, Cher says she supports Chaz in his decision, saying, "I would not take it as well as Chaz has. I couldn't imagine it."
During the interview with Oprah, Chaz revealed that Cher has watched the movie. "She really liked it a lot. But I think it was probably hard to see," he told Winfrey. "She has finally gotten that this is the thing that's making me happy."
Becoming Chaz airs Tuesday, May 10, at 8 p.m. on OWN.