TRANSITION: THE STORY OF HOW I BECAME A MAN by Chaz Bono, with Billie Fitzpatrick (Dutton), 245 pages, $30 cloth. Rating: NNN
If you’re familiar with Chaz Bono’s transition from female to male through the documentary Becoming Chaz, which screened recently at hot docs, and want to know more, his book, transition, has got the goods. Where the film is all about the medical treatments required for a sex change, the book keeps the focus on Bono’s childhood as Chastity, his attempts at femming himself up as a rock musician in his 20s and the ways he tried to please everybody – including his lesbian lovers – by not being himself. That is, until he figured out that he had to make an essential life choice. It’s a fascinating story – with parents Sonny and Cher, how could it not be? – even if it’s not told in a particularly creative way. And it’s hard not to admire Bono’s candour and ongoing commitment to the trans community. But if you’re looking for deeper insights into Bono’s relationship with his partner, Jennie – the element that makes the documentary film so impressive – there’s less here than you’d hope. Though rest assured, the relationship, Bono tells me, is still going strong.