Cher Backs Chastity's Gender Swap

Singer says she will support decision, try to understand it

By Greg Wilson
|  Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009  |  Updated 6:03 PM CDT
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Cher says she may not understand Chastity's decision to get a sex change, but she supports her offspring.

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Cher has no desire to turn back time to when son Chaz was daughter Chastity.

Speaking publicly for the first time about the announcement that Chastity Bono is getting a sex change operation, Cher, 63, told People magazine it took guts for Chastity to embark on the transformation.

"Chaz is embarking on a difficult journey, but one that I will support. I respect the courage it takes to go through this transition in the glare of public scrutiny, and although I may not understand, I will strive to be understanding ... The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child."

Bono, whose father was the late music Svengali-turned Republican Congressman Sonny Bono, has been living as a man and going by Chaz while planning the operation.

"Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," confirmed Bono's publicist, Howard Bragman.

"He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago.

We ask that the media respect Chaz's privacy during this long process as he will not be doing any interviews at this time."

Bono's move was applauded by gay rights activists, with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) calling the decision "an important step forward" and urging the public and media to refer to "her" as "him."

"Chaz Bono's decision to live his life authentically represents an important step forward, both for him personally and for all who are committed to advancing discussions about fairness and equality for transgender people," said Neil G. Giuliano, president of GLAAD. "Coming out as transgender is an extremely personal decision and one that is never made lightly. We look forward to hearing Chaz's story in his own words in the future."

Sonny Bono's widow, California congresswoman Mary Bono, told TMZ she "loves and supports Chaz."

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