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'Transition,' Chaz Bono 

The son of Sonny and Cher talks about growing up as a girl.

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Chaz Bono has a picture on his wall of himself and his parents, Sonny and Cher, taken when he was a toddler. They all look happy, Bono says in the new book Transition (which he wrote with Billie Fitzpatrick), but he doesn’t remember that day, or much of his childhood.

What he does remember is that he always felt like a boy, even though he was the daughter of the famous couple.

Bono says that, as a child, he dressed in boy clothes and answered to a boy’s nickname. He played with boys at school and his best friend was a boy. Nobody thought much about it, he writes.

Puberty was rough and Bono came out as a lesbian, but something still wasn’t quite right. He didn’t identify with women, gay or otherwise, and distant feelings of masculinity colored his relationships with them and with his family. Bono’s father seemed supportive of his lesbianism, he writes. His mother had trouble with it.

Happiness eluded Bono, and he turned to drugs to cope with the frustration. By then, though, he thought he knew what he needed to do.

On March 20, 2009, he says, “I drove myself to the doctor’s office … I felt only confident that what I was doing was right.

“After all the years of fear, ambivalence, doubts, and emotional torture, the day had finally come. I was on testosterone, and I have never looked back.”

Transition is filled with pain, angst, wonderment and joy. It’s also a little repetitious, though, and contains a few delicately squirmy moments. Bono is quick to defend and explain away his family’s reluctance to accept his gender reassignment, but he’s also willing to admit to being hurt by it.

Still, contentment and awe shine forth at the end of this book, and readers will breathe a sigh of relief for it.

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