In an emotional interview with the co-author of Chaz Bono's autobiography, "End of Innocence," Michele Kort told RadarOnline.com that her friend's "coming out as a man to her mom" was the "scariest" part of his transgender process.
Kort, now Senior Editor for Ms. Magazine, said she and Chaz "became quite friendly and had a great experience working together," on the book in 2002.
"I knew back then that this transgender was an issue," Kort said. "The idea was already on her mind and I knew that she was exploring the idea but she wasn't ready yet to make the decision.
"I can also tell you that during that time, Chastity didn't consider herself a lesbian. I don't know how long she had felt that way but when we worked together she told me she did not think of herself as a lesbian."
Kort saw Chaz again in 2006 when he was appearing on the VH1 reality series "Celebrity Fit Club,"
"I asked him what he had decided to do and he told me he had put everything on the back burner and it seemed that he had figured out a way to stay 'Chastity'....a woman... and make it work.
Kort believes the turning point for Chaz was turning 40 this past March. "You only have one life to live and it was now or never. The turning point had to be that she talked to her mom and got right with her mom."
Cher already accepted Chastity as she was, Kort said, "but I think the scariest part was considering how to come out as a man to her mom. Once she did that, everything was good to go.
"When I saw her on Celebrity Fit Club and talked to her she seemed like she was in a really good place. She seemed really happy. I enjoyed seeing her be really positive with herself."
Kort said she believes Chaz will now step forward as a transgender person evert bit as openly as Chastity did as a lesbian 20 years ago.
"He'll use his celebrity for good and I think it will give him a sense of purpose. I definitely feel he'll be a whole lot happier than he's ever been."