Chaz Bono Encourages Students to “Seize the Moment”

Over 100 students and members of the State College community came out to the HUB Auditorium last night to listen to LGBTA advocate Chaz Bono speak about his struggles growing up and “searching for a place where he could be himself.”

Chaz Bono, born Chastity Sun Bono, is the only child of entertainers Sonny and Cher. In 1995 he was outed as a lesbian in the tabloid Star Magazine, but continued to struggle with his gender identity. Between 2008 and 2010, he underwent a female to male gender transition and in May of 2010, he legally changed his gender and name. Since coming out, he has contributed as a writer to The Advocate, a U.S. based national gay and lesbian magazine, and has written three books about his transition.

He started off his speech encouraging students to vote. “This is such a crucial election,” said Bono. “One that really seems like we are standing on a turning point in our country.”

He then went on to discuss his personal life, and his struggle to come out as a member of the LGBTA community. “As far back as I have memory, which is probably about somewhere between 4 and 6, one thing was very clear to me, and that was that I felt like a boy.”

Over the years he picked up clues as to where he belonged, but was afraid to come out as his true self in the public eye. “If I were to ever transition, there was no way that I could do it privately, the whole world would be watching.”

Bono talked about the people in his life and how they influenced his decisions. From his mother who forced him to wear dresses or skirts at an early age, his friends who encouraged him to explore his “inner goddess” to finally discovering the main person holding himself back from being who really he was — Chaz Bono, the man looking back at him in the mirror.

“Be who you are and seize the moment,” said Bono “don’t waste years of your life feeling physically incompetent with your body.”

Bono has been speaking at Universities to promote LGBTA rights and social justice since 1996. The event was hosted by the Student Affairs LGBTA Resource Center. Chaz Bono’s speech was just one of the many events taking place during National Coming Out week at Penn State.

About the Author

Kat Rodriguez

Kat is a senior in Visual Journalism with an International Studies minor. She is also the President of the National Press Photographer's Association Penn State Chapter.

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