twitter facebook stumble upon rss

The Courage of Chaz Bono

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Dr. Michelle Golland: Chaz Bono's decision to go through the process of becoming a man is one that, as a mental health professional, I know will benefit other people struggling with the same issue: now they have an open and public role model to look toward.

I am a clinical psychologist, so I do not look at the issue of sexual orientation or gender identity through the lens of either politics or religion. I believe these issues are inherently personal, and as a professional working with the GLBT community, I view them as humanitarian issues first and foremost.

chastity bono

Since he came out as a lesbian many years ago, Chaz has been a role model for the gay and lesbian community, fighting for equal rights and to stop prejudice and discrimination against the GLBT community. His decision to undergo gender reassignment surgery takes great courage. It is a courageous decision for anyone, even if one is not doing it publicly.

What should you do if your child comes to you with this deeply personal revelation, whether they are gay, lesbian, or struggling with their gender identity? I believe it is important to explain some clinical terms regarding this topic.

Sexual Orientation: Enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings toward other people.

Gender Identity: A person's own internal sense of being male or female: this results from a combination of genetic and environmental influences.

Transgender: This is a broad term describing the state of a person's gender identity that does not match his/her assigned gender at birth. Chaz Bono would be considered "transgender." He was born biologically a female, but his gender identity is that of a male. The hormone therapy and possible sex change surgery would bring his external world to match his internal experience of himself.

It is reported that one in four families have a close relative that is gay or lesbian. I truly believe it is imperative that we bring these issues to light so that they can be demystified and understood by the general public. Tolerance and understanding must increase so that GLBT individuals do not continue to carry the burden of our society's ignorance.

Whatever your religious or political inclination is, as a mother and a psychologist I hope all of you believe your children are more important than any prejudices you hold against homosexuality. Even if you have strongly held views, it is important that you are loving and supportive of your child if you want to maintain a relationship with them, and rise to the occasion and be the parent your gay or lesbian child needs you to be. This is either going to be a life-shattering experience for you and your child, or a life- and love-affirming experience. It is honestly up to you.

Your son or daughter has been carrying around the enormous burden of trying to deny or hide their sexual orientation. They may have been experiencing tremendous stress and anxiety around this issue for a long time. Coming out of the closet to parents is one of the most intense and important moments that a gay youth can experience. In sharing this revelation, your child has lifted a great burden of guilt and shame, and you need to understand what a huge relief it is to not have to lie about who you are.

Some parents believe they did something "wrong" and that is why their child is now gay. This is simply not true, and it is becoming increasingly clear that gay and lesbian individuals know early in life that they are "different" and attracted to the same sex. Transgendered individuals report the same experience of feeling different and the deep desire to be the opposite sex from an early age.

The most important emotional contribution any parent can make to their children's lives is to love them and not withdraw this love when they reveal they are gay. It will be important to find out if your child is experiencing any harassment or bullying at school. Many gay youth don't tell their parents because they are embarrassed and overwhelmed by the chronic harassment.

Another concern for gay and lesbian youth is the issue of loneliness and depression due to feeling isolated. It will be important to help them find a community or group they can feel connected to so they don't suffer in silence, but can develop a healthy gay identity. As parents, we must love and support our children through this process. It can be challenging, but if navigated with an open mind and heart, you will find yourself much closer to your son or daughter than ever before.

As parents, you may have a lot of questions and concerns, and there are wonderful resources available to you, including Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Remember, if your child is opening up to you and making themselves vulnerable, you must have done something really right for them to feel safe enough to be honest with you. Respect them and help them honor who they feel they are to be in this world. As parents, we think we are here to guide our kids, but in fact, they can teach us much more if we open ourselves to the possibility of love, tolerance, and mutual respect.

see more photossee more photos
Chastity BonoHollywood's Transgendered

next: Played Pregnant!
67 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 16, 2009, 4:48 PM

Crap like this is what is wrong with America. You were born a woman because you are a woman.

Anonymous June 17, 2009, 12:07 PM

This is freaky !!! People like Chaz need deep psychological help. I can guarantee that this sex change is not going to ‘fix’ her problems.

Yuck June 18, 2009, 8:13 AM

Ugly as a women…Ugly as a man.

Jodylynne June 19, 2009, 12:21 AM

I wish Dr. Golland’s article focused more on the transgender aspect. I daresay that “gay” people are finding far more acceptance and tolerance in our society than are transgender people.

If your child was transgender, you might have totally different thoughts and feelings about this issue. At least I would hope that you would.

Anonymous June 21, 2009, 2:37 PM

I am transgender (FTM) and the definitions hit the nail right on the head! Stop being ignorant. This article lays it right out there for you. Don’t hate, because there statistics that show that you are most likely hating someone you love.

alice November 19, 2009, 1:27 PM

I’m sorry I find this whole thing to be disgusting. And you are right, ugly as a woman and ugly as a man, the woman or whatever needs to loose some serious weight.

Michelle Lee May 7, 2010, 8:08 PM

Don’t judge and you will not be judged. Aren’t you happy you don’t have to? God will decide at the end as to the reasons why people do the things they do, so if you are straight, stays straight. And if you don’t like gay and lesbians — stay away from them. There are other things out there that are so much more interesting to talk about … seriously, there are … like … why do I have kids … I don’t like it when they become teenager…yucky . . why can’t they stay adorable forever???

Hemorrhoid Cure November 27, 2010, 2:43 PM

I really like your info. Nice piece of info, very informative and easy to understand.

cura slabire January 3, 2011, 1:44 PM

I have been trying to find the google for this information and i wanted to say thanks to u for this post. Also, just off topic, where can i download a copy of this theme? – Thanks

Discount Vertical Blinds January 15, 2011, 8:40 PM

What’s up my homie read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you might be up for exchanging links Thanks again for taking the time to put this online.

test inteligenta January 19, 2011, 5:38 PM

I was been scouring the google for such info and just wanted to say thanks to you for the post. By the way, just off topic, where can i find a copy of this theme? – 10x

Emmie Pomposo February 6, 2011, 8:47 AM

Definitely, what a great website and revealing posts, I surely will bookmark your site.Best Regards!

Faustino Blan March 16, 2011, 8:17 PM

awesome book you’ve have in hand

dofollow social bookmarking March 29, 2011, 12:59 PM

There are a lot of strange comments on here.

do follow up March 29, 2011, 2:31 PM

There are a lot of strange comments on here.

Caroline A. Barbour March 29, 2011, 4:39 PM


Delbert Wansley March 29, 2011, 4:40 PM

You are a very smart person!

Stanton Futter March 30, 2011, 6:56 AM

I’m still learning from you, but I’m improving myself. I definitely enjoy reading all that is posted on your site.Keep the tips coming. I enjoyed it

credit counseling March 30, 2011, 10:48 PM

Good points…I would note that as someone who really doesn’t write on blogs much (in fact, this may be my first post), I don’t think the term “lurker” is very becoming to a non-posting reader. It’s not your fault in the least , but perhaps the blogosphere could come up with a better, non-creepy name for the 90% of us that enjoy just reading the content .

Magazine for fashion March 30, 2011, 11:29 PM

This is really fascinating, You’re a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and sit up for seeking extra of your excellent post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks!

Back to top >>