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Chaz Bono
Chaz Bono by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Bono in 2017
Chastity Sun Bono

(1969-03-04) March 4, 1969 (age 55)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Writer
  • musician
  • actor
Years active 1972–present
Parent(s) Sonny Bono
Relatives Elijah Blue Allman (half-brother)
Georgia Holt (grandmother)

Chaz Salvatore Bono (born Chastity Sun Bono; March 4, 1969) is an American writer, musician and actor. His parents are entertainers Sonny Bono and Cher, and he became widely known in appearances as a child on their television show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.

Bono is a trans man. In 1995, while then identifying as a woman, and several years after being outed as lesbian by the tabloid press, Bono publicly self-identified as a lesbian in a cover story in a leading American gay monthly magazine, The Advocate. Bono eventually went on to discuss the process of coming out to oneself and others in two books. Family Outing: A Guide to the Coming Out Process for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Families (1998) includes his coming-out account. The memoir The End of Innocence (2003) discusses his outing, music career, and partner Joan's death from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Between 2008 and 2010, Bono underwent female-to-male gender transition. In May 2010, he legally changed his gender and name.

Early life

Sonny and Chastity Bono 1974
Chaz Bono with Sonny Bono in 1974

Bono was born in Los Angeles, California, the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono of the pop duo Sonny & Cher, stars of a TV variety show on which the young child often appeared. Bono was named after the film Chastity, which was produced by Sonny and in which Cher (in her first solo role in a feature film) played a bisexual woman.

Bono was enrolled at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City. Bono came out to both parents as a lesbian at age 18.


Bono began a short music career in 1988 with the band Ceremony, which released one album, Hang Out Your Poetry, in 1993. The band featured Bono on vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Other members were Steve March Tormé (backup vocals), Heidi Shink a.k.a. Chance, Pete McRae, Steve Bauman, Louis Ruiz, and Bryn Mathieu. All but one of the band's songs were written or co-written by Bono, Shink, and Mark Hudson. They used no synthesizers or digital effects on the album; Shink noted, "We turned our back on technology. [ ... ] It's reminiscent of the 60s, but more a tip of the hat than emulating it. We took the music we love and rejuvenated it, made it 90s." Critical reception of the album was lukewarm, with Roch Parisien of Allmusic describing Hang Out Your Poetry as a mildly psychedelic take on early 1990s pop, "pleasant, accessible, well-produced ear-candy that's ultimately toothless".

The songs "Could've Been Love" and "Ready for Love" were released as singles from the album. Sonny and Cher also recorded backing vocals for the track "Livin' It Up" on the album.

LGBT activism

Chaz Bono square photo 1
Bono at the 2012 GLAAD Awards

In April 1995, Bono came out as a lesbian in an interview with The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian magazine. In the 1998 book Family Outing, Bono reported that Cher, who was both a gay icon and an ally of LGBT communities, was quite uncomfortable with the news at first and "went ballistic" before coming to terms with it: "By August 1996, one year after I came out publicly, my mother had progressed so far that she agreed to 'come out' herself on the cover of The Advocate as the proud mother of a lesbian daughter." Cher has since become an outspoken LGBT rights activist.

Bono's paternal relationship became strained after his father became a Republican Congressman from California. The differences in their political views separated them, and the two had not spoken for more than a year at the time of Sonny's fatal skiing accident in January 1998.

Bono worked as a writer at large for The Advocate. As a social activist, Bono became a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, promoted National Coming Out Day, campaigned for the reelection of Bill Clinton for US president, campaigned against the Defense of Marriage Act, and served as Entertainment Media Director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Bono was a team captain for Celebrity Fit Club 3 (2006) and was supported by girlfriend Jennifer Elia, who orchestrated exercise and training sessions.


In mid-2008, Bono began undergoing a physical and social transition from female to male. Bono's legal transition was completed on May 6, 2010, when a California court granted his request for a gender and name change.

In September 2011, he became a competitor on the 13th season of the U.S. version of Dancing with the Stars, paired with professional ballroom dancer Lacey Schwimmer. The duo was eliminated on October 25, 2011. This was the first time an openly transgender man starred on a major network television show for something unrelated to being transgender.



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Bar Girls Scorp'
2004 Fronterz
2016 Dirty Jerry the Hoarder
2019 3 from Hell Digby Neville
2020 Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen Himself Documentary film
2020 Reboot Camp Herbert mockumentary
2023 The Bell Keeper Sheriff Carlson


Year Title Role Notes
1972–77 The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Himself 32 episodes
1975 Cher Himself Episode 2.14
1997 Ellen The Moderator Episode: "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah"
2011 Becoming Chaz Himself Documentary film
Dancing with the Stars Himself 6 episodes
2012 Degrassi: The Next Generation Himself Episode: "Tonight, Tonight: Part 2"
2013 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Himself Episode: "To Each Her Own"
2014 RuPaul's Drag Race Himself/Guest Judge "Queens of Talk"


2016 The Bold and the Beautiful Reverend Rydale 5 episodes
American Horror Story: Roanoke Lot Polk 2 episodes
Brian Wells 2 episodes
Where the Bears Are Gavin Kelly 3 episodes
2017 American Horror Story: Cult Gary K. Longstreet 8 episodes
2018 Adi Shankar's Gods and Secrets Upcoming series
2020 Curb Your Enthusiasm Joey Funkhouser Episode: "The Spite Store"

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Chaz Bono para niños

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