Monday, October 17, 2011

Transition - Bono

In his memoir Transition, Chaz Bono (formally Chastity, the only child of Sonny and Cher) recounts his life from childhood through his present 40-something years.  Despite having written previous autobiographies, in Transistion he opens up and admits to deeper secrets, about not feeling like the growing and maturing woman his body indicated he was, about not quite fitting into the lesbian community despite being attracted to woman and years of working as an advocate for the community.  

After almost 30 years, Chaz finally admits his inner struggle and accepts that he is not who nature has told him he is. He admits to himself, and ultimately his family, friends and the public, that he is a man. He is not, and has never been, the little cherubic, blond girl the public remembers from his parents television show from the 1970's. 

He is so "OK" with that fact that the reader can not help but be also.  In fact, he is relieved. He no longer needs to live a lie for others' sake. And, despite spending his life bending to the needs of others, he finally takes control of his life.  Though it takes his family members a while to adjust to what many already knew, he ultimately finds acceptance. And, with the love and strength of his family, friends and bi-sexual girlfriend, he embarks on the process to change his physical gender to match his inner existence, having his breasts removed and taking hormone therapy to transition his body from female to male (FTM). He even speaks candidly, though briefly, about his plans to move forward with additional surgery and how he and his fiance live with their decision.

This memoir was surprisingly readable. Bono has a writing style that puts you at you are sitting on his couch and chatting over a coffee. Admittedly, at moments, I'd wished he had remembered that we barely knew each other, those few moments of "TMI" (too much information) were rare and were presented in a manner that avoided too much discomfort.

This book has been described as "groundbreaking" and "candid", and it is likely both. Though there are many books on GLBT issues, I know of only a few about transgender issues, none of which were written by a celebrity. While I would typically consider this book a "3", read it or not. In this case, I think that just about everyone could learn a little something about acceptance and being different. Therefore, I consider this book...

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

more opinions at: