Chaz Bono was born to Cher and Sonny Bono on March 4, 1969. As Chaz was assigned female at birth, he was named Chastity Bono and was referred to as Cher’s daughter for the majority of his young life. Chaz went through a lot of public scrutiny for his gender and sexual orientation. Though he came out as a lesbian to his parents by the age of 18, he only publicly came out in 1995. He felt pressured by tabloid speculation, and at 26 he graced the cover of gay magazine The Advocate.
A Lesbian Activist
With his newfound public persona as a lesbian celebrity, Chaz wrote two books: Family Outing, which he co-wrote with Billie Fitzpatrick, where he discusses the challenges of coming out when you’re a child of celebrities; and a memoir entitled The End of Innocence, where he talks about his LGBTQ+ activism, his work as the entertainment and media director for GLAAD, and his experience of being publicly outed. He also bravely opens up about his partner Joan’s battle with cancer.
By the age of 40, Cher’s daughter became Cher’s son. Chaz decided to medically transition, announcing his gender identity as a transgender man to the public in 2008. He starred in a documentary about his transition called Becoming Chaz and also wrote a second memoir focused on this time of his life called Transition: The story of how I became a man.
In an excerpt from his memoir, Chaz writes, “As time went on, and I tried different ways of ‘being a lesbian’ – from lipstick to stone butch – I had to admit to myself that the ‘something’ nagging at me was a lot more complicated than just my sexual orientation. Even when I was active in the gay community, I never felt completely at ease. There was something else about me that didn't make sense, something that was much more profound and a lot more threatening. And it took me years to put my finger on what about me felt so disturbing.”
Chaz’s transition was a big deal at the time, as it was not yet socially acceptable for transgender people to come out and be public about their transition. Cher, however, publicly supported Chaz. When Cher was asked about how she feels about how accepting society has become of trans people, as always she remained a steadfast queer icon. She answered, “Young people don’t care about it. And their parents are letting them be. Thank God for this change, because God knows what would happen otherwise. The young people give me a lot of comfort and hope”.
In his youth, Chaz appeared in his parents’ television show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, a variety show with skits usually involving Cher heckling her husband.
In 2011, after the release of Chaz’s documentary, he competed on Dancing with the Stars. He only lasted six episodes but continued to appear in other shows on TV afterwards – often appearing as himself. He also starred in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story: Roanoke and Cult, and was a guest judge on the sixth season of Rupaul’s Drag Race.
Elijah Blue Allman
After divorcing Sonny Bono in 1975, Cher married Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band. Cher’s husband was a heroin addict and an alcoholic, and his substance abuse problems caused countless issues in their relationship. Despite this, Cher and her spouse had one child together, Elijah Blue Allman, who was born on July 10, 1976.
Boarding School And Relationship With Cher
The family tried to stay together amid their issues, but Greg Allman’s alcoholism and drug problems proved too much for Cher. She sent Elijah to a boarding school to keep him away from the toxic environment. Later on, Elijah admitted that, while he and Chaz bonded as kids, this move made him feel “shunned” from his family.
“When you go to boarding school at 7 years old, it's kind of hard to feel like you're not being shunned”, he told Entertainment Tonight. “But I'm at an age where I'm making peace with it because you just have to. But I still...it doesn't mean it's right. It's still wrong to do that.”
Though Cher and Elijah were on rocky terms for a couple of years, eventually the two reconciled. As of 2018, Elijah has been reportedly living with his mother – their relationship being in a good place.
Cher And Kids
While Cher and her kids are in a good place right now, she admits that she hasn’t always been the best mother. “I’m a cookie decorating mom,” she described her parenting style in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I don’t bake them, I decorate them.”
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