Inside Chastity Bono’s Lifetime Struggle

Jun. 11 2009, Published 9:30 a.m. ET

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Chaz Bono may soon become the brave new face of the transgendered world but he started out as Chastity Bono- the sparkling tot who hung around the set of her very famous parents’ very famous TV show. Over the years, Bono has opened up about her personal struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. brings you an in-depth look at her often very public ups and downs.

Click here for Bono’s tranformation through the years

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Despite the glitz and glam life of her mother Cher, Bono found herself drawn to other things and was a self-proclaimed tomboy. "She would have liked a little girl who would have liked to play dress-up in her closet. I was not one of them.” she admitted.

While in her freshman year at NYU in 1989, she came out to her parents with mixed results. Father Sonny (who she told first) was extremely supportive and loving while her mother Cher went “ballistic for a couple of days” before coming around.

As a struggling reporter in her early 20s, Bono continued to keep her orientation secret from anyone outside of her close family and friend. She denied all media reports about her sexuality since she wasn’t comfortable with the world-wide attention. "It retarded my coming-out process. It pretty much ground it to a halt for a few years," she recalled.

In April 1995, she declared she was a lesbian on the cover of The Advocate, thus completing the “last step” of her coming out. A year before, her partner of two years Joan passed away after a battle with lymphoma.

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Upset that her dad (now a California Congressman) voted in July 1996 for the Republican-sponsored Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages. "It wasn't like I didn't love him or we had a falling out," she said shortly after his tragic death on the ski slopes. "We just hadn't talked in a while. I just wish--more than anything--that I could wake up in the morning, find him in the kitchen and have a cup of coffee with him."

Now, she tries to make sure politics doesn’t divide and enjoys the support of her stepmother Mary, who took over Sonny Bono's House seat after his death and who sits on the House Judicial Committee. “The Congresswoman loves and supports Chaz and is hopeful that his privacy and very personal decisions will be respected during this time,” Congressman Bono told in a statement on Thursday.

(Photo: Globe Photos)


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