During a conversation on 4D with Demi Lovato, available on the Audacy app, Chaz Bono spoke to the “Dancing With The Devil” singer about carrying the title of being a trailblazer, his identity, his transition, and how his acting career stays separate from his activism and trans identity.
As one of the early public figures to share their trans identity and transition with the media and with the public, Bono tells Demi, “it’s funny, because having lived it, I don’t think of myself as that brave. Honestly, I figured out that I was trans almost ten years before I transitioned, and was terrified.”
Being born in 1969 and growing up in the 70s, Chaz tells us that he always knew there was something different about himself, but at the time topics like this were not discussed as openly as they are today. “I knew that I wished I was a boy, I knew I felt like a boy, and I didn’t have a name for it,” says the actor.
At 13 Chaz began identifying his attraction to girls, but at the time the only language he had for it was “gay and lesbian.” “I tried to fit into that identity for about 30 years,” says Bono.
By the early 2000s, the American Horror Story: Cult actor said he still didn’t feel like identifying as a lesbian was authentic to his identity. “For a really long time I thought there was a part of the lesbian community that felt like me, which was ‘I feel like a man, I wish I were a man, I’m not so I’ll have to deal with it.’”
After understanding that he might identify as trans, Bono says it took him “years to unpack that.” Adding, “at the time I still hadn’t gotten sober yet, so I was still dealing with substance abuse, and then once I did I was still dealing witha tremendous fear of rejection from everybody… including people I didn’t know and would never meet.”