Chaz Bono Talks About His Gender Transition on AM TV and We Like It.

chaz-bonoCHAZ: Well, Chaz Bono was on Good Morning America this morning, saying YES to being the face of Transgender America and challenging hundreds of journalists to create short snappy headlines that didn’t make them & their publications sound like ignorant f*ckwads.

Although Good Morning America didn’t really help the news media by introducing the segment as being about Chaz’s “sex change,” from there on out the interview itself kinda rocked and touched on subjects pertinent to everyone in the GLBT community.

For starters, Chaz tells Chris Cuomo that “gender is between your ears, not between your legs. Chris Cuomo asks Chaz to “unpack that for [him]” (HAR!) and Chaz does: “As a child, it was really clear, I felt like a boy, I felt like one of the boys, my friends were boys … I was one of them.”

He goes on to explain his temporary association with the lesbian community, driven by his sense that “at 13, 14, it was real clear I was attracted to women, and since I am a woman, that must mean that I’m a lesbian.”

Chris asks, “That’s the simple answer, right? Because who you’re attracted to –”

Chaz: “– has nothing to do with your gender identity. And a lot of people find that really confusing, but they’re two completely different things. One is how you view yourself and how you feel and the other is who you’re attracted to.”

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So let’s look at the coverage!

The Asshat:

Newsbusters.org: GMA’ Features Chastity (now Chaz) Bono’s ‘Journey into Manhood’: “Leave it to ABC and its obsession with alternate sexuality to characterize being a male or a female as a “difficult decision  Introducing an interview featuring Chastity (now Chaz) Bono … this interview only adds to a long list that details ABC’s fascination with the sexually bizarre.”

The Headline Heroes:

MetroWeekly gets the “allowed to joke about it b/c they’re a gay newspaper award” for: Chaz Bono, Cher’s FTM son: “Feels great” giving public face (and deeper voice) to transgender issues.

ABC News: Face-Shaven Chaz Bono: ‘I’m Living the Life That I Always Wanted.’

US Weekly: Chaz Bono: “Nothing Scares Me” About Life as a Man.

Way to Go, AP:

Now, let’s get to the linguistic violations! The Associated Press sets a bad example with “Chaz Bono says beginning the sex-change process to turn him from a woman to a man is “the best decision I’ve ever made” in Chaz Bono: Sex change is his ‘best decision’, a headline that’s repeated by about 200 other newspapers.

We’ve encountered this issue on Autostraddle before and I was surprised that so many of my friends didn’t know “sex change” is passe. Firstly, “sex” is defined only by genitalia, and gender identity is way more complicated than that. Also, there’s an issue when this term is casually applied to children.

The official/actual reason, from “Trans Basics” via The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center:

Problematic: “sex change,” “pre-operative,” “post-operative”
Preferred: “transition”
Referring to a sex change operation, or using terms such as pre- or post-operative, inaccurately suggests that one must have surgery in order to truly change one’s sex.
Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
Refers to surgical alteration, and is only one small part of transition (see Transition above). Preferred term to “sex change operation.” Not all transgender people choose to or can afford to have SRS. Journalists should avoid overemphasizing the importance of SRS to the transition process.

What do you think of the interview and the coverage?

HATE CRIMES: Los Angeles County saw an overall 4% drop in hate crimes last year, while crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people increased, prompted in part by last November’s highly charged Proposition 8 initiative, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in California, according to a new report released today.

COLLEGE: A look at what the internet is doing for learning, curiosity, and creativity outside the traditional classroom: How the Web Liberalized Liberal Arts Education. (@good)

PALIN: Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue” in a flash. Who needs a book when you have a little word cloud? (@cbsnews) Also here’s six scary quotes from her book tour. (@jezebel)

CASTER SEMENYA: The International Association of Athletics Federations has agreed that the South African runner Caster Semenya will keep her 800 metres world title, the country’s sports ministry said today.

365 Gay Reacts:

I am happy that Semenya, after her long journey, will be recognized as an international athletic superstar. I hope that her struggle illustrates just how much work there is left to be done to promote understanding of and support for the variety of human gender expression all around us.

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2847 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. way to go, chaz bono. i’m so proud of him for making an incredibly complicated decision and doing it knowing that he’d face exceptional scrutiny as a celebrity’s child, and grateful to him for deciding to take advantage of his position as a public figure to help educate the public about trans people and gender identity in general. he’s articulate and accessible, and he’s such an asset for the trans community. if i were in his position, i’d probably want to recoil from all the attention, because there’s just so much hate and ignorance out there; instead, he’s facing it head-on, and just seeing him out there is going to make a big difference in the lives of so many trans people, and kids who don’t yet have the ability to articulate what it is they’re feeling. i just hope that no papers out there were obtuse enough to refer to him as “she.” that shit i cannot stand.

  2. The best part of the interview is that Chaz doesn’t dwell too much on the past and seems real excited about his future.

    On a related note, I’m currently reading “Middlesex” and just got through Book One. I’m kinda skeptical as to where it’s headed but I’ll stick with it.

    And not that I’m an avid reader (it’s actually very hard for me to get motivated to read any book) but didn’t AS used to make book suggestions? Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  3. I’m happy that they’re not stripping Caster Semenya of her medal, that would’ve been so unfair. It will be interesting to see how the rest of this story plays out, though. I really hope she’s not pressured to retire and forced to end her career, which is what the IAAF did previously in a similar case. Stuff like this really exposes and problematises society’s binary gender system in a big way.

  4. The 8 year old wanting to be just like Sarah Palin freaks me out too. If it’s any consolation, I have an 8 year old too and he’s a budding lefty radical. He cancels out the Palin wannabe.

  5. What is the world coming to? When I saw what Chastity Bono had transitioned into, I not only cringed but thought…’why would anyone want to look like a John Candy reincarnate?’ Granted, not everyone that’s uncomfortable in their skin goes to such extremes yet some people never quite come to terms with things or themselves and gradually morph into something freakish and embarrassing. Look at how Michael Jackson progressively ruined (instead of finding) himself over the course of time. End result likely stems from self-loathing. That would be my guess re Chastity Bono, Michael Jackson and several others. Known or unknown, seems people rarely, if ever, are able to intervene. Any psychiatrist familiar with gender issues and re-assignment would not only warn and urge against it, they are all-too-familiar with the failure rate of sexually re-assignment meaning the spiraling rate of depression, despondency and increased suicide rates. Yet when it’s a celebrity including the money that goes along with that, seems the aforementioned is shelved (overlooked) and any wad-dropping celebrity can wantonly pursue reassignment because money talks. Look at M.J.’s scores of plastic surgeons at his disposal and then of course there’s Dr Conrad Murray who was another ‘for sale’ doctor who catered to Jackson and ultimately cost him his life. Start (and STOP) with the celebrity before it progresses to having well paid doctors and other so-called professionals in their pockets-enabling them to ruin themselves and no accountability other than fruitless or belated finger pointing. Collectively, none of that is the answer (or opportunity) to self-loathing. Shameful in every instance…

  6. What is the world coming to? When I saw what Chastity Bono had transitioned into, I not only cringed but thought…’why would anyone want to look like a John Candy reincarnate?’ Granted, not everyone that’s uncomfortable in their skin goes to such extremes yet some people never quite come to terms with themselves and gradually morph into something freakish and embarrassing. Look at how Michael Jackson progressively ruined (instead of finding) himself over the course of time. End result likely stems from self-loathing. That would be my guess re Chastity Bono, Michael Jackson and several others. Known or unknown, seems people rarely, if ever, are able to intervene. Any psychiatrist familiar with gender issues and re-assignment would not only warn and urge against it, they are all-too-familiar with the failure rate of sexual re-assignment meaning the spiraling rate of confusion, depression, despondency and increased suicide rates. Yet when it’s a celebrity including the money that goes along with that, seems the aforementioned is shelved (overlooked) and any wad-dropping celebrity can wantonly pursue reassignment because money talks. Look at the scores of plastic surgeons and pill rollers at Michael Jackson’s disposal and then of course there’s Dr Conrad Murray who was another ‘for sale’ doctor who catered to Jackson and ultimately cost him his life. Start (and STOP) with the celebrity before it progresses to having well paid doctors and other so-called professionals in their pockets-enabling them to ruin themselves and no accountability other than fruitless or belated finger pointing. Collectively, none of that is the answer (or opportunity) to self-loathing. Shameful in every instance…

  7. I think it’s great that Chaz was able to come to terms with the courageous decision to be who the gender she always wanted! So many people are in the closet, and have fantasys, and do not have the courage to be themselves! As Shakespere said”to thine own self be true” and of course he was really gay! There is a film out “Transamerica” that tells a story of a mans change of gender, great film!

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