'Becoming Chaz': Did you watch the powerful documentary?

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN aired the powerful documentary Becoming Chaz tonight, which focused on Chaz Bono, born Chastity to Cher and Sonny Bono, and his struggle to transition from female to male. It was a personal and, at times, difficult film to watch (I’m a little squeamish when it comes to surgical stuff). The cameras did not shy away from showing the various surgeries that Chaz endured or the difficult recovery process. Nor did they ignore the stress Chaz’s transition placed upon him and his girlfriend. The one thing I did find odd was Cher’s lack of presence aside from a taped interview and a brief moment between the pair at the premiere of Burlesque.

But it was still such a riveting film, particularly when it came to showing Chaz’ advocacy for young children who feel trapped in the wrong bodies. The section of the doc where Chaz visited a young girl who felt she was a boy was simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. It will most likely be a challenging adolescence for the youngster but it’s great that she has someone like Chaz as a support system.

“I’ve hated my body since puberty,” Chaz admits early on in the film. So, it’s incredibly moving to watch him finally become comfortable in his own skin.

What did you think of Becoming Chaz, PopWatchers?

Comments (175 total) Add your comment
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  • Padraig

    “The one thing I did find odd was Cher’s lack of presence.” Why would that be odd? The film is about Chaz’s journey and not his superstar mom.

    • Chris

      Right … but if it wasn’t for his superstar mom, how many people would really care? I’m not trying to be insulting here – just realistic.

      • DA

        When Chaz was still living as a woman, she was an outspoken LGBT activist. Add in the famous parents and it was actually impossible for him to do this in private.

      • JONI

        You are right, if it was not for Cher we would not being hearing anything about this. Plus he has his MOM’s Money

    • !

      Cher had a hard time dealing with Chaz being gay, so this must have hit her really hard.

      • Troy

        Agreed. When your child announces that he is gay, nothing about his identity really changes. He looks the same and he answers to the same name. Transgender people go through an entire physical transformation, and their families need plenty of time to comes to terms with it. It’s not an easy process for anyone. Best of luck to Chaz and Cher.

    • sdgdgg

      Oh, date rich? my friends told me a nice place

      —Lo ve w e al thy. C’/0M—it’s the most effective s it-e in the world to connect with, date or marry with successful, beautiful people. Meanwhile, It’s worthy a try. You do not have// to be rich or famous.

    • Linda

      Where’s Chastity’s bro? Elijah Blu? Nobody mentioned her bro’…

  • Lora Holdorf

    I have grew up with Sonny and Cher and Chasity/Chaz. And I have to say as a Mom I probably also would have a hard time adjusting, but then accept and love him for his courage and belief the way I raised her/him. I would end up being proud of whatever decision was made and always be there.

    • Jethro

      Caught Chaz on Oprah Monday and learned more than I needed to know about why he did what he did. The doc would have not been on at all if it weren’t for OWN, personally this only happened because of Cher’s connection.

      You could easily have seen the same stuff on DIS Health and TLC.

      Frankly and hopefully, Chaz will now focus on enlisting the services of a nutritionist and health specialist, so he can focus on weight loss.

      What good is having this new body when it appears to be unhealthy looking and possibly detrimental to his health?

      • Lisa

        I agree he could get healthy and lose some weight, but the reason he is so heavy is because of the testosterone injections he had to take. Weight gain is a side effect.

  • Lora Holdorf

    Cher knew along time ago what was happening or going to happen. It is mothers instinct. Being in the limelight I am sure made it hard to say/accept it til it happened. The film was excellent in explaining all. Then sharing the feelings with Cher was exceptional and to the tee. Even thou it was not about her. Chers presence was just enogh. It was totally well done. And in the end Rosie was perfect to host the show.

    • Ana

      Cher knew she was gay. I seriously doubt she expected her daughter to undergo gender reassignment.

  • Paul

    Thought it was very insightful. Just finished watching the special after with Rosie O’Donnell which I found surprisingly fun and even MORE insightful. Loved when the audience got to ask questions.

    • mama

      After Rosie’s stupid statements about Bin Laden the last couple of days… could not give her a minute.

      • Lisa

        Mama, she’s just starting a conversation. I listen to her radio show and believe me any thing she says truly comes from her heart. Rosie thinks “big picture” and for some reason many people misunderstand her.

      • jan

        mama, do not judge Rosie until you hear what she says in context. The media loves to reduce everything to a cheap soundbite and oversimplified headline, however Rosie’s views are very nuanced and intelligent so unless you hear her full comments in context, it’s easy to misinterpret her.

      • mama

        @Lisa There is no reply under your comment. I get where you are coming from and I used to watch Rosie and I can see the love in her heart. But I can not play along and listen to her uneducated and ridiculous statements on so many things. Seriously, she is a 9/11 Truther. She and Charlie Sheen should go on tour together.

      • mama

        @jan Why do you assume I have not heard the whole comment. It can be found in totality on the internet and I did hear it. Sure, there are parts that may ring true… but she is way too naive for my liking. There is nothing intelligent in her reasoning. But I do admit she comes from a place of love and that is more than many. She is just misguided and shold not lecture others.

    • Lynn

      I totally agree with Mama that Rosie did a fantastic job of chatting with Chaz and Jen and of fielding the audience’s questions.

      • Squishmar

        It was Paul who said that.
        “mama” could not be bothered to watch Rosie since she disagrees with so many of her ideas.

  • Babette

    I kind of think that there is more to this, especially with the weight issue. In my humble opinion, the reason behind the sex change was because Cher evidently prefers or treasures men and this was Chastity/Chaz’s way to get her attention.

    • LOL

      Everything written here is an opinion. Don’t waste time with “In my humble opinion…”

      • geez

        Wow. That is a quite a ways to go to get mom’s attention. You cannot be serious. No, you are, and that is so disheartening, as you must not believe the truth. Chaz’s truth, and the truth of others who feel trapped. The really sad thing is there are probably more who think like you do than people who will believe those that are strong enough to explain to us their struggle so we may know.

      • mr. modest

        @LOL:
        But not all people are “humble” in their opinions.
        …actually, I think I should start adding “in my super-awesome, clearly-far-superior-to-everyone-else’s-(laughably inferior)-opinions opinion” to my comments…

    • dana

      please!…

    • deekay

      Really, Babette? For one thing, your name doesn’t inspire confidence in your “ability” to even have an informed opinion on this matter, and for another, right on for assigning yourself to the ranks of the ignorant. You know NOTHING about the struggles transgenders go through. “Did it for attention”?? Are you serious??

      • Ames

        Do you feel insulting her will educate her in any way about transgenders?

      • deekay

        @Ames…insulting? So sorry, I thought I was just reading it as I see it. Kind of what she thinks she’s doing. Without knowing anything about what she’s commenting about. Getting educated is easy; there are tons of sources. It’s having the willingness to learn that some seem to struggle with.

    • Dash

      Actually there is a high rate of obesity in the lesbian community. They have done quite a few studies on the subject I don’t think it’s fair to say oh Chastity was overweight therefore there is something wrong here to encourage her to undergo a TRAUMATIC sex change procedure.

    • christine chaos

      I thought the same thing Babette.
      Or it could be resentment toward her mother in the form of not wanting to be anything like her.
      There are definitely layers of unconscious feelings here…his weight is a testament to that.

    • Trav

      Chaz has never been comfortable in a female body, so it’s not surprising that he never took proper care of it. Perhaps once his reassignment in complete, he will be able to concentrate on nutrition and fitness so that he can live a healthy life.

      • MJG

        Ex-ACTLY. Weight gain is also associated with depression, which is very common among transgender people (wouldn’t you be depressed if you were a man with breasts?)Also, while it’s not done deliberately: for transgender men like Chaz, carrying extra weight can also “defeminize” one’s body in that “curves” disappear and a large chest is not so noticeable. It also deflects unwanted sexual attention from those who would otherwise be attracted to a feminine body.

        I speak as a gender researcher and also as a transgender man who has struggled with his weight. Being able to fully inhabit one’s body, to feel “at home in your own skin,” is the essence of loving oneself. If you love yourself, you will treat yourself lovingly. Simple as that.

  • victoria

    Why did no one ask if he still has his reproductive system? I would be curious to see if, like his breasts, he would like to get rid of the female reproductive system, especially due to the estrogen factor.

    • Sarah

      He said during his interview with Oprah yesterday that at the moment he isn’t planning in having surgery on the reproductive organs. He said he’s happy with the way he is now.

    • Luddite

      I also watched Chaz on Oprah and I was really surprised by what he said about the genital reassignment. He wasn’t as concerned about that because his biggest concern was about others perceiving him the way he perceived himself – as male. The mastectomy and hormones made that possible.

  • Lizzy

    As a mom, I think it’s gotta be hard for Cher – not that she doesn’t support Chaz in his decisions, but just having to take time to mourn the loss of your daughter…

    • becky

      Yes, I cried for 12 hours after my daughter told me she was going to become a man, and that’s what I was doing, mourning the loss of my daughter. I love her so much, and just want her to be happy, so I accept her decision and will stand by her.

  • dana

    chaz i am in awe of you i am a 60 year old female i have know since i was a child that i was in the wrong body probably around 8 – years old diffenately bu puberty when i was growing up in the 60’s 70’s 80’s there was nothing on transgender in the 90’s when it became more known i thought about it i was in a lesbian relationship for about 10 yrs and we talked about it but i guess i never had the guts or the money to do it i envy you it must feel soo great to finally be in the correct body i think about it often i am to old now to do it maybe in my next life good luck to you chaz and you are so blessed to have jen in you life–

    • GHB

      Too bad you didn’t learn how to tame a run-on sentence!

  • Tessa

    SO SICK of the LIBERAL MEDIA trying to SHOVE “GAY” down our throats. It is getting VERY TIRESOME. IT IS NOT OK and these people are just so mental and sick.

    • Chet

      Its called a remote control dear, learn to use one. Oh and say hi to Bristol, Brick and the rest of the kids

      • Corissa

        Ha! Good one. Hey Tessa, can you see Russia from your house? Close your mouth if you think GAY is being shoved down YOUR throat.

      • mama

        Idiotic statement by both of you. There are gays amongst us. Get used to it. But the response is as hateful too. Idiotic.

      • ajay

        @mama Why do the people being discriminated against always have to turn the other cheek? Why does hate get an open forum?

      • mama

        @ajay They don’t ALWAYS. But to attack with hate is not good for anyone. Gays are as likely to hate as any other group. Haters exist everywhere and until we can discuss the issues on merit without ridiculous jabs at certain political candidates I am game. The Campaigner in Chief is not for marriage equality either remember that when attacking others. And as long as there are humans there will be hate and gossip. When families who are supposed to love one another can’t get along… what do we expect? Life is not fair and never will be.

    • stephen

      Maybe you should stick something else down your throat for a change Tessa… you’d be much more tolerable!

    • Maryb889

      @Tessa: Chaz Bono isn’t gay. Chaz is a man in a relationship with a woman. What’s gay about that?

    • Debs1

      God forgives you Tessa.

      • God

        Let me think on that for a while.

      • GS

        Dear God — I appreciate that even you struggle with the best way to deal with bigotry. Good luck with the Tessa dilemna. There’s a lot of hatred in that heart.

    • Cheryl

      Oh bite me….

    • UpAllNite

      Talk about missing the entire point. Chaz Bono is NOT gay, he’s transgendered – and entirely different animal. Not to mention, if he were simply gay there would have been no need of a sex change operation, he’d have remained a she. Try doing some research.

      • whatevs

        So Chaz used to be a lesbian, but is now transgendered. I’m pretty sure every trangendered person “used to” be gay. No heterosexual wants to be another gender.

      • Conner

        @whatevs: Most gay people have no desire to change genders either.

      • Luddite

        @whatevs – Not quite. Chaz has always been transgendered. He has always had a male gender identity and has always been attracted to women.

      • BioEngMan

        @whatevs — sorry matey, you’re wrong. I know SEVERAL Female To Male (FTM) transsexuals who were into men (heterosexual) as women and are now gay transmen – never slept with a woman. I also know several FTMs that were married to a man when they lived as a woman and are STILL with them living as a man.

        Here are some things to think about:

        1) Gender is not now and has never in the past been binary – even if that confuses you or you disagree. It’s just a fact.

        2) Sex does not = Gender

    • becky

      It IS okay, it’s Not sick, they are Not mental. Each to his or her own way of life, that makes for a peaceful world.

    • tiny

      you are soooooooo right!!!! this is the first right comment i’ve read yet

  • Robert

    I genuinely don’t understand why we applaud gender reassignment or consider such a thing brave. What happened to loving and accepting yourself for who you are? Or that beauty comes from within? I see this as very cowardly and severely mentally unhealthy. It’s not normal for people to play God with their bodies for whatever reason. What’s next? Racial reassignment surgery? Sorry, but I don’t support this at all. Deal with YOUR reality.

    • mama

      You don’t have to support it. But this is who this person happens to be… there are people born in the wrong bodies. I would recommend you see Transamerica, an excellent movie about the feelings and process.

      • Robert

        Chasity is a female. She will always be a female. It doesn’t matter what she feels. Some days I feel like a king, but I’m not. Feelings should NEVER override facts. Facts are what make up our reality. Reality is something people should try to live in more often.

      • mama

        @Robert Whatever – she is what she is and she is happier as a male. Period. What is it to you? If she has the surgery that alters her sex organs she will be a full male.

        By the way, you are fully aware that there are 1 child in 4500 that is born as one sex but with the sex organs of the other? Androgyny is sometimes used to refer to those without gender-specific physical sexual characteristics or sexual preferences or gender identity, or some combination of these. These are FACTS.

      • whatevs

        mama, I don’t see how those facts that you stated relate to a person who is born one thing, but gets surgery to become another thing. She feels that mentally, she is a man, but that isn’t what she is. No amount of surgery will make her one. She will just be a woman who got surgery.

      • Al

        There are people who don’t have the self-esteem to ccept their bodies the way they are. Cher is one, and had multiple plastic surgeries to fix herself. Chastity/Chaz is another and had a sex-change.

      • BioEngMan

        @ Robert — I agree with Moma – it does not matter if you suport it or not. Chaz is a transman, he will always be a transman. At some point he will learn to balance having been born female and now living his life as a transman with or without your or anyone elses support. It’s his journey – not ours.

        @ Moma — about lower surgery making someone a “full male”. Having a penis is not what makes someone a man. Being a man is MUCH more about whats in your head and in your BODY not just the one localized location. If that were true we would all look the same except for our sex bits — women and men LOOK different all over and FEEL different and ACT different. It’s possible to not have a penis and still be a man. Not having a penis does not make you LESS of a men — it makes you a different kind of man. It makes you a transman. Having surgery still makes you a transman — there is not a transman on earth that will ever be a genetic man. We are a different KIND of man. We are transmen.

    • ajay

      What if who you are is lost beneath what you appear to be? I realize that it is unconscionable to imagine “changing sex or gender” to someone who’s never faced that reality but everyone should be allowed to live their best life.

    • Debs1

      Tell that to the millions of women who have implants.

    • Alice

      I totally agree, Robert, but the so-called “open-minded” can’t discuss this without frothing at the mouth. In an effort to not be “judgmental” (i.e. to express an opinion that anything is abnormal or wrong), everything is “all good.” (Sociopaths must love these gullible folks.) There is a difference between condemnation and judgment. I don’t condemn “Chaz,” but she is not courageous. She is self-centered and seriously misguided. She is abnormal. And what is it to me? Frankly, she’s a typical Hollywood product. Her “transformation” plays right into women ruining their bodies because of Hollywood’s body fetish. Robert, you are absolutely right that “feelings” shouldn’t always dictate. We often give them too much credence. I learned this lesson, interestingly, in the context of “transgenderism.” I was POSITIVE that a woman was not a biological woman. I felt she HAD to be a post-op man dressed up as a woman. I was WRONG. Feelings are not reality.

      • MJG

        Let me break it down for you simply. “Nature” is not as black and white as we pretend it is. “Biology” makes more than XX women and XY men- look up “intersex” and you will see that chromosomes, hormones, genitals–all the things we say make a person’s “sex”—come in many different combinations. Sure, most people come in a “standard packaging” of completely male and completely female. But let’s consider the facts of biology for a moment. Throughout our 40 weeks of gestation, any number of different biological events can potentially occur that impact fetal development. If something “out of the ordinary” happens at any point during a pregnancy- if a chromosome doesn’t copy exactly the way it usually does, if the mother’s hormone levels shift a little too far one way or the other, if the process of sexual differentiation does not go juuuust so- these events can trigger the development of a child whose biology does not completely match up in one camp or the other. For instance, research has shown that babies exposed to cross-gender hormones in utero are more likely to be born with intersex conditions, to exhibit traits of the other sex (physical and/or psychological) during childhood and into adulthood, and—yes, Virginia—they are more likely to be transgender. THESE are facts. And, yes, it actually DOES work that way. It’s just that no one ever told you, and you never asked.

        If you really think about it—given all the different things that can happen while we’re in the womb, all the different “turning points” that have to go just the right way for us to become “regular men” and “regular women”- it’s a wonder that most of us ARE born that way. Most of the time the chain of events actually DOES go as planned, and so most of us never have to (or do) give it a second thought. Take a moment and consider what kind of a privilege that is—to never have to question or be questioned as to who you “really” are. For those who do have to face the reality of being born differently, it’s a question that will not let them rest until they find an answer—an answer that we as a society are all too ready to deny them and/or ridicule them for. To continue to wake up and face every day and to fight to be who you are—is to me the very essence of bravery.

      • Squishmar

        *Excellent* post, MJG. Really. One of the best I’ve ever read.

      • BioEngMan

        MJG – agreed. Very good post. Unfortunatly too many people out there can’t get their heads around the issue and it’s fairly dishartning to know the world can be so damn small minded.

    • chris

      Thank you Robert for a clear, concise and articulate opinion. I happen to agree with you and appreciate your post.

      • Simon

        Ummmm, “Chaz” is not a man. He is a woman no matter how many times we use the preferred pronoun to define him. Sorry, you can’t have female organs and genitalia and be a man, doesn’t work that way. All this is is a very expensive attempt to play dress up as a guy.

      • GS

        Simon, you lost me at the teenage girl “ummmmm.” But that aside, gender roles are socially defined, often having little to do with biology. And if you met Chaz without knowing who he was, you’d respond to him – even unconsciously – as a man. He’s happier living as a man, and feels that that’s who he truly is, so why do you care?

    • Conner

      @Robert: It’s just not that simple. You and I are not transgender, so we will never really “get” it. I, however, am willing to see what I can learn from other peoples’ experiences. You seem to declare yourself an expert on all human beings.

    • JUSTAGURLINSEATTLE

      Robert…. people are born with Birth defects EVERY DAY… Can you not see that when your head and your heart are MALE and your body female… that is a BIRTH DEFECT? and one that should be fixed… there are people born with both male and female sex organs…..People don’t judge them as harsh…. though, they are still judged.. so why do you feel it is not possible to have a man brain and heart, and be trapped in a womans body????

  • Theresa

    It’s amazing to see the transformation of Chaz. I admire his courage. I would be more concerned about the weight issue at this point. It’s so unhealthy to be overweight male or female. I hope he has plans to address this issue. God Bless you Chaz!!

    • Christina

      I just want to say that there are Christian out there who feel that Chaz is right and that he had to get help. God wants us to be healthy and joyful!!!! It is no different than treating my asthma. My heart and prayers go out to all transgendered people!!!!!!

      • whatevs

        Christina, I am no Christian, but even I know that God certainly doesn’t condone going through the physicial toll of having all of this done to yourself. Either that or a person would have to say that God made a mistake in making Chaz a female, which is obviously wrong. The problem is with Chaz, but no person ever wants to say they have a problem. The problem has to be everyone else.

      • Luke

        @whatevs: Get over yourself. You are not God’s mouthpiece. You do not speak for Him, nor are you an expert on what He wants, feels, or thinks. He will decide for Himself without the need of your arrogant input.

      • God

        Thanks, Luke. I get so tired of people assuming they can speak for me. I haven’t even put out a press release on this matter!

      • God’s Publicist

        We should have that final draft ready for you shortly, Almighty.

      • Squishmar

        @God’s Publicist… you should really have been fired long ago. I see things all the time attributed to God that are just ridiculous. Get your s#it together!

  • Navarone

    Very confusing.so chastity’s girlfriend fell in love with her because she was a girl . Now she’s a man. So does that make her straight or will she leave her to be with another woman?….

    • rob

      the girlfriend is apparently bisexual, which is a stroke of luck for the both of them. they can still be in love, because lets be realistic even if you are completely in love with someone if you are 100$ straight or gay this would severely hurt most relationships. but they seem to be going strong, possibly due in part to chaz';s girlfriend having prior relationships with men. otherwise there would probably be more of an issue.

      • ajay

        Having prior relationships before identifying yourself as gay doesn’t make you any less gay. Most people aren’t 100% gay or straight. The fact that she stayed probably is more about heart than gender. She fell in love with a person not a label.

      • Soap On A Rope

        @Rob My thoughts are, since Chaz is the daughter of a famous and wealthy movie star, it would appear to me that the girlfriend is more attracted to the advantages that Chaz’s fame and money afords her. Also the fact that the girlfriend had already been broken in by a man should have no effect on whether their relationship survives or not.

    • SUZIE

      that’s what I was wondering, first she was “gay” and had a “gay” girlfriend, Now She is a he but his girlfriend is still a gay female. so where does that leave their relationship? or will they say they love the person no matter what sex they are?

      • !

        Chaz is not altering his female genitalia so if the girlfriend is gay and not bisexual, it’s still like being with a very, very butch lesbian. If Chaz does eventually goes all the way, the relationship might not survive, which might be part of the reason for Chaz’s decision. I’m concerned about the health risks in having a female reproductive system that’s still pumping out estrogen mixed with taking male hormones plus Chaz’s smoking and obesity, but I guess the risks are worth it to him. I admire him greatly; it takes a lot of courage to be oneself when something like this is still a huge taboo.

    • yikes

      I am confused as well. He is still a FEMALE. He still has female organs. This half and half makes me think he is just mixed up in his head. Either you are a man living in a womans body, or you are some sort of freak. Get it changed to be the man you are. Otherwise to me, he just seems creepy odd.

      • Linda

        I think Chaz needs psychologist. I don’t think SHE has dealt with whatever issues SHE has. She was born a woman, has female organs, and no amount of surgery is going to fix HER head. She needs to get her head straight first, then her body (like lose weight) and then focus on a career instead of living off mom. I think people become what they become because they ‘chose’ to be that way. There’s plenty of doctor’s who can provide advice on getting Chastity’s head straight. She can have surgery til the cows come home but it won’t fix her mind!

      • Bryan

        Chaz is not a she, but nice try anyway. Your personal identity is defined by what’s between your ears, not what’s between your legs. If more people thought with their brains instead of their genetalia, the world would be a better place.

      • BioEngMan

        @Bryan — standing ovation from the crowds!! Well said. :-)

  • Snsetblaze

    I would have liked to watch this but I don’t have OWN.

  • val

    Such a wonderful man. I loved his courage and insight.

  • mama

    Nope… maybe it will be on another network or hulu one day.

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