Chaz Bono revealed he received death threats after his controversial appearance on “Dancing With The Stars.”
Bono, 43, is the transgender son of pop star Cher and was formerly known as Chastity. Bono's father is the late Sonny Bono, who performed with Cher and later became a Republican congressman representing Southern California.
Bono's transformation from female to male took a very public turn when she appeared on the 13th season of “Dancing With The Stars” last year.
Among the death threats received by Bono was a Twitter message warning: “I will kill you. I have a gun.”
“That was my first death threat,” Bono told the Sun of the U.K. in an exclusive interview published Friday. “I was expecting a backlash from ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ It was certainly more than I’ve expected. I've been dealing with the conservative religious right for years, so it’s really par for the course. Thankfully, nothing serious happened after the threats but I was cautious about security.”
Chaz said he always believed he was a man trapped in a woman’s body.
“As far back as four or five, I felt like a boy and wished I was a boy. At that time, I didn’t know anything about people being transgender or changing their sex,” he told the tabloid. ““As I started to get older, I made the mistake of thinking I was gay. My mother is a gay icon, yet she wasn’t over the moon when I came out as a lesbian in 1995. I wasn’t surprised by her reaction. In fact, I knew it was going to be bad.”
Chaz said his famous mother was warming up to the idea that her daughter might be gay when he hit her with another bombshell -- that she was having gender-reassignment surgery.
“It took me a long time, into my early thirties, before I really figured out I was transgender. Then it took almost ten years to get the courage to transition because I was Cher’s child -- everyone was going to know about it,” he told the Sun.
Chaz described how he transitioned from female to male.
“Three years ago I had my breasts removed. I give myself a daily shot of testosterone,” he said. “To begin with there were changes every day — my skin, my body hair. “I’ve waited half my life for body hair and now I’ve got back hair.”
Bono said his mother has become increasingly supportive of his lifestyle.
“It takes a lot of time. Mom loves girlie stuff, so it was difficult because I was never that person. I could never give her that experience. As it goes on, I think she feels more comfortable with me as Chaz,” he said. “If I’m taking flak in the press or people are being mean on Twitter, Cher will jump to my defense.”