Chaz Bono Celebrates San Francisco Pride – In The Name Of Love & AcceptanceJun 27th, 2011 | By Cloutwomen | Category: Adventure, Author Events, Book Signings, Books
Chaz Bono is no doubt a venerable advocate and champion of the LGBT community so it isn’t any wonder he was selected as this year’s Grand Marshall of the San Francisco Pride Week. Part of his city-by-the-bay agenda includes a book signing event of his latest release Transition (Dutton Adult, $25.95, 256 pages, 978-0525952145) at the charming Books Inc. in the Castro district, where diversity is not only embraced but celebrated with a passion. Just like any independent bookstore, this venue represents the soul and beats the heart of the community. Chaz’ signing was intimately special, attended by a mixture of fascinating folks each with their own unique stories and experiences to share. Reactions from the audience were priceless too – at one point even, there was a poignant moment where a man’s voice broke off in tears as he thanked Chaz for coming out and being his own personal hero.
The author also recounted a chapter in his life which was focused particularly on growing up with his father and even shared the fact that Sonny’s childhood nickname for him was Fred. When Chaz was at Sonny’s house, he also wore boy’s clothes and played with boy’s toys. “With my dad, I was comfortable and happy, he treated me like the boy I felt myself to be.” The book was also replete with passages which I imagined were difficult for him to relive and write down but Chaz’ journey of transition was ultimately rewarding – and as I read the book it almost felt like witnessing the metamorphosis of a butterfly where he emerges beautifully with wings that finally liberate him.
“People ask me all the time what I think my father would have thought about transitioning. I would like to think he would’ve been totally supportive, but I also know that he was of a different generation and might not have understood. Regardless of what his reaction would have been, I really wish he was alive today to see the happy confident man I’ve become. I slayed a lot of demons to get here and I can’t help but imagine that he would be proud of me.” And with that – a man who was probably in his early 60’s stood up to thank him for being in San Francisco, “For some of us who associated wonderful memories in our past watching your mom and dad, listening to you now – your voice just brings back your father to life…”
I also couldn’t help but ask him how his mother reacted upon finding out about his gender transformation -“Mom was hurt when she found out I was gay – she was the last to know – but she also accepted it eventually. I think the most difficult part of the whole transition was when my voice started changing and it dawned on her that I really was becoming a man. There was a time of distance because it was probably was difficult for her to acknowledge the fact that she was losing a daughter.”
The afternoon wasn’t completely serious and nostalgic though, in fact Chaz was quick to confess about the first time his girlfriend Jenny saw him with his shirt off, “OMG you look just like James Gandolfino! – so there, I guess I can play a mobster’s role if I do decide to do some acting in the future” he said chuckling – and it was at that moment when I noticed how genuinely happy he really was. “That smile was really endearing” I thought to myself and other people beside me noticed it too. In a world where most people’s default is to hate something they don’t understand – the one thing I took with me from listening to Chaz that day was to have the conviction and always strive for and speak of what you truly believe in. Intolerance is at an all time high. I am thankful that Chaz has become the voice of all of those whose stories & pains remain unheard.
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Transforming Family‘s mission is to empower children and families to create supportive and inclusive environments in which gender may be freely expressed and respected. Their vision is to create a society in which ALL children are respected and celebrated.
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