With regard to Chaz Bono

I noticed that my post about him was getting some attention, and I’d like it known: I bear the guy no ill will. I just don’t want anyone thinking that he’s qualified to offer Trans 101, you know?

He’s in a difficult position and he’s chosen to deal with it in a certain way. I disagree with the way he’s dealing with it. I think he’s got serious issues with women, and I think he’s needlessly prescriptive in the way he chooses to talk about trans identity.

But Chaz already gets so much shit, and you know what? Just a couple of years after I came out, I was saying prescriptivist misogynistic nonsense too. I read a lot, I learned a lot, I spent time living as a trans guy in the world, and I came out the other side of that worldview. I didn’t have a huge amount of fame or exposure when I came out, though, the way Chaz did, and didn’t feel obligated to make myself a spokesman.

I’m not “infuriated,” or trying to start something, or any of that. Don’t put that on me. I am just a guy who tries to point out fucked up things in an effort to make the world better!

I would be more than happy to sit down with Chaz, have a drink, and talk with him about how he can think and talk about gender in a way that’s more inclusive. He seems like an all right guy, his questionable views aside.

And from what I’ve seen, he’s really remarkably good at the cha cha.

62 Responses to “With regard to Chaz Bono”

  1. 1 Kristen from MA (USA) November 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    You rock, Stephen!

  2. 2 Kerry November 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Excellent follow up! I think it’s sad the way people, groups and especially the media are trying to stir up drama by purporting a war between you and Chaz, when none truly exists.

    Like yourself, I was appalled, pissed off but also hurt by Chaz’s “birth defect” comment. While I’m not LGBT (not that it matters in the least), I have family & friends who I knew would be upset by that comment. But also, it hurts me to know that there’s going to be young kids, teens and young adults who are already struggling with their own internal battles and will then see that highly powerful label and believe themselves to be a “birth defect.” That one tiny phrase could be the catalyst and/or breaking point for someone who’s already in a bad place leading them to isolation, depression, self-harm or suicide.

    I hate when people who are in a public arena make such ignorant and asinine statements that get copied over and over in the media that reaches way too many people with the ability to hurt and influence. Sad.

  3. 3 serfer0 November 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    You ever think of being more present in the mainstream media?

  4. 4 Erin November 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    I am a straight person in society, and I would appreciate it if you are allowed to have an opinion on any given topic without being burdened by attention from media types who use their access in bad faith.

    Not in regard to CB, but you obviously are intelligent and thoughtful/thought-provoking. Life is surely never simple. Keep on, your voice will carry to places you’ve never imagined.

  5. 5 tromano November 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I’m doing a story abou trans issues for the Daily Beast and would like to interview you—tr at triciaromano.com

    • 6 Stephen November 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks for the offer, Tricia, but I don’t want to be active in media other than my little blog. Good luck with your story!

      • 7 Penny Jeannechild November 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

        Good for you, Stephen. You’ve got a full life handling college & the activities you’ve taken on there. Chaz was thrust into the limelight too young, then prepped by people who had well-meaning agendas, but agendas nonetheless. You are smart & wise, but ripening still – and smart & wise enough to know it. Ripen on! (And here’s a hint to all you media: Kids who were raised well, and by media-saavy parents, were taught this truth: “Those in the media are NOT YOUR FRIENDS, though they may act that way. Their agenda is NOT your agenda. Decide on your own agenda. Then stick to it.” To this I add: And a tiny pox upon them if they persist!)

  6. 8 'Ragin Bull' November 18, 2011 at 12:22 am

    I’d glad you admit to having the same problem, and experiencing similar situations, and reacting in similar ways. I’m happy that you are able to express exponentially what you had felt at the time, and I am happy you have termed in this understanding. I’m relieved to see some meeting of the minds when you express yourself through guy jargon. What made me scary ‘bad gay’ angry was the way the info inter-markets rebroadcast your blog. You are cited but not as a resource, or an op ed or even an informed guest, artists in residence kind of way- you are in the midst of gone blue propagation without the catchy hash-tag. So maybe I’ll re-capture the term shemale, and use it, because of course I now have license having watched someone else become a great line in a short joke.

  7. 9 Mitzi November 18, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Hey older lesbian here so cut me a little slack 🙂 back in the days 70s-80s met at “the bar” some MTF who wanted to lesbians…and i believe you said you are a gay trans man…i dont want to be disrespectful, but what does that mean.. did i read you wrong?

  8. 13 Cody November 18, 2011 at 2:13 am

    The first place I saw coverage of this “story” was on the New York Post’s website. In the article itself, I was struck by not only how the writer had seemingly forced a war out of a simple disagreement and calling out, but also by the fact that whoever reported on this felt the need to use birth names. It felt like they were saying, “One freak has something not 100% positive to say about another freak.” Then the headline used the word “she-men”, solidifying the otherness of transguys. IDK. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive because I still get called “ma’am” at the store.

    As for Chaz equating transsexuality with having a birth defect… I am a transguy and gay. I like guys. When trying to explain this to cisgendered(not actually a derogatory term, “cis”-on the same side whereas “trans”- across) people, I find the birth defect allegory the only way they can understand the concept. My brain is male. I am attracted to other males. By some defect, I was born with a female body. This is to some degree correctable. This is usually how I have to answer the question, “Well, if you like guys, why don’t you just stay a woman?” Because I am not a woman. When I equate the two, I am not calling female bodied people, with female brains and identity, birth defects or any person a birth defect. People *have* birth defects. They are NOT birth defects. It’s an important distinction. I think maybe that’s what Chaz was trying to say. I can’t say for certain because I don’t know him and am not a telepath, no matter what my housemates may want to think. I just tend to give people the benefit of the doubt on their intentions if their words or actions seem not so well thought out.

    Anyway…that’s just where I’m coming from…

    • 14 SPS December 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

      This, very much.

      You captured the way I think about myself as well. Another gay trans guy as well, BTW. (I can tell you that heteerosexual women’s attracrtion to men is different from a gay man’s in that gender and gender identity is a mediator.)

  9. 15 Shini K November 18, 2011 at 3:08 am

    I am me, without labels or barriers. I am not a birth defect nor a mistake. I define myself by my own goals, beliefs and express only kindness to others, even when others are hateful in return. Do not mistake me as weak, or easily influenced by negative stereotypes. I have one life to live and live it to fullest, helping those around me to best of my ablities. You are opinionated but not cruel or hateful as near as I can tell. I have enjoyed the few words you have printed and know your following will grow if you stay honest to your convictions. Your followup to Chad post showed me this. Strength, compassion, charachter. I know nothing of your interaction with your parents, but assume as you have grown, they have taken great pride in you, dispite probably not fully grasping all who you are.

  10. 16 cole moyer November 18, 2011 at 3:35 am

    i am wonderinf if you could illustrate a few examples where Chaz has been “prescriptive” and a “misogynist”?

  11. 18 krissy November 18, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Fantastically written article and follow up. The original blog was never written as an attack, it was rather a very logical and well educated analysis of statements that were being made by Chaz (albeit it, of course,had personal connoations for you). I would suggest perhaps, that you have a greater understanding of the issues within the trans community.
    Your follow up was an extremely mature response to the attention your blog received.
    Looking forward to your future musings!

  12. 19 Catherine November 18, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and the actual point of who you are is of utmost importance, but frankly, you seem to have too much time on your hands with all of these musings. Just sayin’.

    • 20 EJP December 1, 2011 at 6:50 am

      God forbid people should take the time to think and evaluate their lives, actions and politics. Imagined the enlightened society that would result from that horror! Z’ounds!

  13. 21 Holly November 18, 2011 at 4:48 am

    that was a nice follow up!! You are clearly a pretty awesome person. I agreed with both your posts and I’m a straight person whose just observing from the sideline.

  14. 22 K November 18, 2011 at 5:56 am

    A trans friend of mine linked to a silly article (with more ridiculous comments) about you calling Chaz Bono a misogynist, and I felt like that couldn’t be the whole story. (I’ll be honest here and say I didn’t really know much about Chaz before I read that article.) I’m glad I decided to come and check out your blog! You are an absolutely font of knowledge. 🙂

    I’ve been hesitant about identifying as one specific gender for a long time and still struggle often with the concept of being female. I have very early memories of wanting to be a boy, but I don’t think I’m trans in a binary way, because that just doesn’t feel right to me. Anyway, I don’t need to tell you my life story. I’ve done a great deal of research on trans identity, and have a lot of friends who are trans who are fantastic sources of both knowledge and support. Still, many of the things you have to say are novel and engaging, and I appreciate the many open-minded angles from which you approach trans identity and the queer community.

    Thank you so much for blogging. I will definitely bookmark this and keep reading!!

  15. 23 'Ragin Bull' November 18, 2011 at 8:01 am

    First, there are many transwomen who usually feel the same way about their body parts as a lot of transmen. Since its a rejection of some stigmatic imposed gender and not a style of dress I’m going to theorize to myself that plenty of women hate having chest hair, adams apples, broad shoulders and big hands & feet, ect.. Maybe they feel that having one part of their body is being hosted as an inaccurate growth and this factor gives them the right to change that part of themselves by removal or alteration. Maybe it’s that they are so giddy with a new and true sense of freedom that they completely embrace the heredity of cultures misgivings about blurred lines between the sexes. So for those who have the inability to flex happily without a gender identity I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that they honestly do feel as lesser citizens due to a physical disability. Or mention the fact that barring one side of the coin from your blog(you pick the issues) is in fact a hinderance on social justice and that ultimately continues stereotyping by not allowing equality for everyone involved. I’m glad you admit to having the same problem, and experiencing similar situations, and reacting in similar ways. I’m happy that you are able to express exponentially what you had felt at the time, and I am happy you have termed in this understanding. I’m relieved to see some meeting of the minds when you express yourself through guy jargon. What made me scary ‘bad gay’ angry was the way the info inter-markets rebroadcast your blog. You are cited but not as a resource, or an op ed or even an informed guest, artists in residence kind of way- you are in the midst of gone blue propagation without the catchy hash-tag. So maybe I’ll re-capture the term shemale or shemales, and use it, because of course I now have license having watched someone else become a great line in a short joke.

  16. 25 Amy Windmill November 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I found your comments about Chaz Bono eloquent, carefully considered, and most of all, true. I’m so glad that someone is raising a voice to remind people that Chaz Bono us not representative of the trans community. Well done.

  17. 26 Janet November 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Stephen, I was wondering if you had heard the Chaz Bono interview with Howard Stern and what your thoughts were on that. Chaz made mention that now he is filled with testosterone he notices that all women do is “talk, talk talk, talk” and how annoyed he was with that.

    I feel your assessment of Chaz and his issues with women are spot on. Thank you for being brave and eloquent in your discussion of it.

    Great blog!

  18. 27 Brandon November 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Just a couple of years after I came out, I was saying prescriptivist misogynistic nonsense too. I read a lot, I learned a lot, I spent time living as a trans guy in the world, and I came out the other side of that worldview.

    ‘I would be more than happy to sit down with Chaz, have a drink, and talk with him about how he can think and talk about gender in a way that’s more inclusive. He seems like an all right guy, his questionable views aside’

    Shame you couldn’t of just said all that in the first place…. as well as giving your take on the situation.

    He certainly has had more exposure and I’d say pressure and I don’t think he has deliberately gone out to become the ‘face of the Transgender’ community but I am super glad he is trying to have a voice. And I love that he mentor’s a young Transgender.

    I’ve never heard of your until your blog made headlines. Sure we’ve all heard of your parents but at least with Chaz we’re all becoming more aware of the fact that Transgenderism is very real ( aside from his ‘opinion’s) and that more support and understanding is required from everyone.

    Glad you spoke up, debate always brings attention and that can only be a good thing, but a show of Unity (with differences of opinion) would be more beneficial.


    • 28 Penny Jeannechild November 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      Brandon, I’m thinking that ‘a show of unity’ is a process to be arrived at, and these last few days are that process, yes? I find that Stephen’s thoughts, his reactions, are refreshing for both their passion and grace. His words sparked what I think is necessary debate about the -isms within the -isms. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this dies down quickly so he has time to breathe, consider, integrate all he has read here and elsewhere. (And boy oh boy, do I hope he’ll soon be sitting at the kitchen table with Mom.)

  19. 30 B November 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I think your arguments reflect arguments that are really common in the trans* community: Is it okay to say that I hate my breasts, or does that exclude non-op transmen? Can I talk about my trans experience in purely physical terms – “my brain and body don’t match, I have a birth defect” – or does that exclude people who experience non-binary gender and/or who feel that their transness has social/political/etc dimensions? These arguments get really heated because there are issues of identity and personal experience involved, and because there is no really great umbrella way to talk about trans* experience. Somebody always feels erased.

    So to be fair, the things that Chaz Bono says about his physical experience are really common. I don’t even know how many times I’ve heard people say, “I have a birth defect.” Usually, it means that someone views their trans* experience as a long-term, physical, non-identity issue that can be corrected by medication, e.g. testosterone. I don’t have a problem with anyone who uses those terms to describe their own experience. There are other people who view their trans* experience as binary-breaking, as political, as a way to create new space. Neither of those personal views has to be exclusive; that is, neither statement of personal trans* experience is an effort to erase or discount the other. I just don’t think he’s being prescriptivist; he’s describing gender experiences lots of people have. (And using some personalizing language, too – “the worst thing I could imagine”, “I think of it as. . .”.)

    Usually, when a random person describes their own experience, we take for granted that it’s an individual, non-generalizing statement. The problem is that when Chaz Bono, a celebrity, says these things, they are interpreted by the general public as The Best Way to describe trans* experience. That’s because he has famous parents, he’s been famous his whole life, and he has a long and well-documented history as a lesbian activist. People are going to talk about him, and he seems to have decided that the only way keep control of the narrative about his life, body, and experiences is to do a lot of the talking himself. I wouldn’t want to be famous because I wouldn’t want to have to expend so much energy just to take control of my own history. I think he’s playing the hand he was dealt. I do think he could be more careful to use the “this is my experience” disclaimer; it’s hard to overuse that particular disclaimer.

    He’s also one of a handful of well-known transmen out there talking about his experiences. If you want to make your experience more well-known, if you want to show the range of your trans* experiences, you have to go out there and you have to describe it. As it is, the way that he describes his experience is pretty classic trans 101: sex and gender are not the same thing: sex is between your legs, gender is between your ears; trans*ness is when your brain and body don’t match up. That’s what people have been saying for years as a way to help non-trans people understand the root issue of being trans. Where you go with that, the best response to it, is what people spend so much time arguing about. Is it best to change your physical body, to change the way your brain relates to your body, to change society and societal views of sex and gender? Maybe you think there are better ways to do trans 101, but you can’t fault Chaz Bono for saying things that are unusual amidst a large, uneducated-about-trans-issues audience.

    I agree with your point about the misogyny of his comment that women are always going on about something. It was an asshole remark. I don’t agree with your point about testosterone and sex drives, though. I had a crazy sex drive when I started testosterone. Almost everyone I know had a similar experience. Uncountable numbers of people on the message boards I follow have described similar experiences. Whether it’s the testosterone, a placebo effect, or a new-found comfort with one’s own body, higher sex drive is pretty common. I totally agree that not all men have higher sex drives and that testosterone doesn’t make you behave in certain ways/like a man. But this is a weird quote to use to make that point.

  20. 31 giant twist comfort cs November 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I believe this site contains some really excellent information for everybody : D.

  21. 32 Lita November 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    What a great article/follow up. I had thought myself well-informed on LGBT issues because of my friends in the community but I was *so* wrong. I’m going to do more follow up reading so that I can be a more effective ally.

    • 33 Penny Jeannechild November 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      “I’m going to do more follow up reading so that I can be a more effective ally.”

      Now THAT warms the cockles (absolutely no pun intended; no, really) of my old radical hippie heart! Who could ask for anything more.

  22. 34 killy November 19, 2011 at 3:36 am

    That was very carefully said, B. I see where you are coming from, but also see Stephens’ point. What it comes down to is that Chaz has to be aware of what he says and how he says it, and make sure people understand he is speaking only for himself. Everyone is different. Stephen, you are awesome, and I understand why you want to keep to yourself outside your “little blog” as you put it. I think you just gained a ton of fans!

  23. 35 Bimyself November 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Does Chaz have any kind of education? Wikipedia lists nothing under that heading. That may be part of his problem.

  24. 36 Kristen Worley November 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Stephen well said… There has been many inaccuracies projected by Chaz, and has been very concerning.

    Keep up your focus on “inclusion” and greater education around ALL human diversity which is part of the greater “normal”. That is where
    this is all headed.

    Wish you great success on your journey –


  25. 37 JoAnna Michaels November 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Chaz is doing what he feels is the right thing. No one person can be a spokesperson. all you can do is just offer your experience as an example

    • 38 Katy November 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Agreed, JoAnna.

      Chaz has never stated that he’s the spokesperson of the trans community. He’s sharing HIS experience from HIS perspective. By all means, other people in the trans community should feel free to share theirs.

      I also don’t view Chaz’s remarks about women “talking too much” as misogynistic…and I’m a woman. He was joking around with Howard Stern when he said this – it’s no different than when anyone else makes a joke about a spouse being irritating at times.

  26. 39 Emily Somers November 19, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for this followup. I hope you do not mind me adding my own for the purposes of conversation.

    It is undoubtedly a major issue for trans folk now, as we actually gain a modicum of visibility, that a single person’s inability to speak for the community becomes apparent. Still, I applaud someone like Chaz who, under his real name, willingly takes on the predicted transphobia in order to express our situation in a very public way. Do I like how he phrases everything? No. But he’s not the only trans person I’ve met who uses the ‘birth defect’ analogy, although what he means by that could do with some footnoting. But, true our spectrum of experiences will not be reduced to catch phrases. Likewise, I have no doubt that other trans folk find my strong identification with one end of the gender spectrum (female) to be puzzling and, perhaps, idealistically false consciousness. Fine. None of us have come to terms with our experiences in the same way. But I think we’re generally respectful of our right to self-identify.

    If we transfolk want more diversity in trans voices narrating our stories, then we need to drop the anonymity and take prominent and active positions. It is understandable that, given the dearth of trans people in the media, that whomever is in the spotlight will be assumed by Cisland to be providing the Master Narrative (even if that is not his intention.) We know better–but for people honestly looking to ‘understand’ us then whatever is close at hand will serve as the introductory primer.

    I can assure you, as an educator, if you hit the uninitiated with complex theoretical debate, with arcane research perspectives, you will lose them immediately. I promise you that. If I taught a first year course on gender issues like a graduate seminar, you can expect some major problems (including putting off even well-intentioned allies.) You have to start with the basics, and that includes when speaking to the mainstream cis audience. Chaz did us this service — there’s a discussion happening now that was not taking place two years ago. Here is my chance, as I choose it, to step in and ensure the discussion broadens rather than hardens. Diversity requires diverse voices. So let’s keep it loud and proud (if that’s what you feel you should do.)

    Light always,

  27. 42 Dawson Roberts November 20, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Great response Emily!

    Chaz Bono did not and has not appointed himself as the new transgender representative of society. Young “queers” as many of the transgender youth are calling themselves are much too quick of the tongue for their age and lack of gender related experience.

    Chaz decided to become a man and tell his story in a way that speaks true to himself. You don’t have to like it and you certainly don’t have to agree. However, it seems to me that you are presenting yourself as some sort of authority on the matter. I find it odd and disconcerting that you think you know what you are talking about when you are barely out of high school.

    Colleges like yours have a way of indoctrinating people towards one frame of mind. So accusatory with a veil of “political correctness.” I commend Chaz for stating how he feels without worrying about critics like you villifying his story.

    I hope your voice doesn’t reach very far corners as some other commentators have suggested. You need to wipe the moisture up from behind your ears and start reading something besides your women’s studies books. If you do not get what I am suggesting here, that only further proves my point.

    • 43 Stephen November 20, 2011 at 6:46 am

      I feel that I should remind you, and some of the other people in comments who seem distressed or puzzled by my age, that yes, I’m very young, but I’ve also been out as a transgender person since I was fourteen years old. (It wasn’t public knowledge, because I’m generally a private person.) That’s five years–six, come this January. Coming out as trans during your early teens means you have to mature very quickly, because people challenge your gender constantly. You have to be ready to assert yourself and demand respect, if in the kindest and most polite way you can. Essentially, I grew up very quickly.

      I have had years of experience of living in the world as a trans person, and frankly, since we live currently in such a void of good discourse on trans issues, that’s the most effective form of education about transgenderism that exists. It’s interesting to me that the world has decided to look to Chaz, even though he just came out in 2008, only three years ago. Because he’s come to the trans community so recently, to me Chaz actually seems very young–I don’t mean literally, of course, but it’s clear that he’s still trying to settle into a new way of being. It’s a pity he feels obligated to do that under public scrutiny.

      The term “political correctness” is often used in debate against social justice activists who try to move towards a non-oppressive lexicon. It has a really interesting history, and has gone through several different incarnations of meaning. I encourage you to look it up and read a little about it if you want–it’s genuinely fascinating. After I decided to unpack the term, I found that I thought it was meaningless.

    • 44 Renee November 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      Finally someone unafraid to speak the truth. I completely agree with your response here Dawson. It’s interesting to me that Stephen thinks that he actually could sit down and “have a drink with Chaz” since he’s not even 21 yet. I’m sorry but your handful of “years of experience” is simply not enough. I guess we can blame your father for your abhorrent arrogance. Funny how he’s also made headlines lately as well. Grow up kid.

      • 45 Stephen November 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm

        Any arrogance I have is my responsibility, not my dad’s. Any drink I had with Chaz would of course be tea–I’m only nineteen!

        It’s ok that you don’t like my writing, Renee.

        W.S. Merwin: “how do you know if what you’ve written was ever any good?”
        John Berryman: “You don’t. You die not knowing. If you need to know, don’t write.”

      • 46 Penny Jeannechild November 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

        No fair, name-calling and being snide, Renee. really and truly, it’s a form of bullying. “I guess we can blame your father” and “funny how he’s also made headlines” and “grow up kid” . . . no, no, no, no fair. People are really trying hard here to think things through, Renee, to be humane and unifying, Stephen most especially.


        Definition, Google quick-hit: “inspiring disgust and loathing; repugnant.”


    • 47 EJP December 1, 2011 at 7:11 am

      Jesus, where did you go to school–Condescending A-hole University?

      What the hell does age have to do with recognizing sexism when you hear it?

    • 48 Steph M. December 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Wow, that’s some strong ageism. Stephen’s point of view as a trans person is very much as valid as anyone elses’s isn’t it? Especially on his own blog. I certainly learned a lot from his thoughts that I need to process and learn about so I can be a better advocate.

  28. 49 Cherie Noel November 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hey. I’m not trans, but my brother is. He’s an awesome transman, a wonderful person, and I love him very much. I’d love to have more resources to learn about what he’s going through. Do you know where I could find more info?

    • 50 dimovier November 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      i suggest that since your brother is his own person, you should ask him! a simple “how’s your day” is often pretty good. if you want to be more specific about transition-related stuff, ask “how’s transition going?” if this is applicable. if you want to find out about medical things that he may or may not be pursuing, hudson’s ftm guide is a good resource – http://www.ftmguide.org/

      • 51 Cherie Noel November 20, 2011 at 6:47 pm

        Well, of course I ask him stuff. But he’s new to the process, and when he asks questions I’d like to know what resources to point him to. I’d like to be able to educate the people around us so that he doesn’t always have to do that.
        When my daughter was diagnosed with first ADD and then bi-polar I did research so that I could be a better advocate for her. So I could have a handle on what she’s going through without adding to her stress level.
        I have a friend who’s deaf. He’s going to be at a business conference with me next fall. So I’m signing up for sign language classes this spring so that I can more easily communicate with him.
        That’s why I would ask.

  29. 52 kristen November 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm


    You are right – stay the course. You see the bigger picture.

    Be who you are and love you, and strive to be the best you can be.

    Well done!


  30. 53 Mason (@crashtwitty) November 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    thank you so much for this entry

  31. 54 Scallywagandvagabond (@ScallywagNYC) November 21, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Of course what you have to remember is the fact that Chaz himself was born a woman before having a series of operations that facilitated his biological male gender. Whether the operation dealt with that part of Chaz’s psychological make up is another thing, after all the way Stephen sees it it could be an issue that Chaz is talking with her misaligned female quotient. Or could it be a situation that Chaz has appropriated his (disgust) mixed feelings of having been born a female into his ethos that being the ‘wrong’ gender is tantamount to a birth defect.


  32. 55 Amy November 22, 2011 at 12:02 am

    It’s important to remember that while Chaz Bono doesn’t represent the trans community, neither do you. I have seen several in person interviews that he has done and, in all of them, he has been very careful to say that he can only speak for his own experience. This is a very nuanced and complicated issue to try to explain to non-trans individuals and he has, in my opinion, done an excellent job of fielding all the questions with grace and honesty.

    Every human being, whether gay, trans, or straight, deals with sexuality, relationships and body issues in their own unique way. As a straight woman, I would never presume to speak for all straight women – and yet, relating my experience has value in providing information and insight. I believe that is all that Chaz Bono is trying to do – provide information and insight based on his own personal experience.

    • 56 Stephen November 22, 2011 at 2:17 am

      Of course I’m not appointing myself some kind of alternative spokesman. I’m just a college student who writes a blog. I’m not on TV, I’m not anything–any serious visibility I have is because of the mainstream media trying to sensationalize my work.

  33. 57 Spartan November 22, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I won’t dispute your point about ‘birth defect’, although more context may indicate that Chaz is talking about how he personally feels about his transgenderism, and I agree that his statements about men who have breasts were obnoxious. Your age is irrelevant to your arguments, although I’m assuming you realize despite feeling that Chaz seems ‘young’ to you that Chaz was outed as a lesbian by tabloids when you were all of 3 I believe. But I’ll have to second the suggestion that you put down the gender studies textbooks for a bit, as you seem to be adding some to what was said.

    “Chaz has appointed himself as the representative of a group of people who are not all like him.”

    He’s appointed himself ‘the’ representative? Citation please.

    (Regarding his statement that he doesn’t care about all the stuff his girlfriend talks about) “Does he really not realize that this is a variation on saying, “Women should shut up and let the men do the important things men do”? ”

    It’s such a variation that it looks like a completely different statement to me. He said precisely zero about ‘important things men do’, you just added that straw all on your own. Most annoyingly, you have a very loose definition of ‘misogynist’, which I’ll admit is common on the web; I think you need a bit more than someone saying, “I’m really not that interested in a lot of what a lot of women talk about”. Chaz gets to talk about his experiences just as anyone else does, it’s not his responsibility if others see him as ‘the’ representative or some other role model nonsense. Also, I’m not sure, but I don’t know that you have the psychological training or telepathy to be able to determine Chaz has ‘serious issues’ with women or that he’s clearly trying to settle into a new way of being, from an interview. Not that your opinions on the matter are not valued, it’s not that I don’t see where you’re coming from, but they’re strong claims and to me strong claims need better evidence than what you presented.

    Which to be clear is a critique of your arguments, not you. You seem like an all right guy, your questionable views aside. 😉

  34. 58 Jel November 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Bless you Stephen….Your words have now blown my understanding of the trans world wide open.

    Chaz has without a doubt been a strong and an important voice for the trans community in the mainstream media… Thank you for bringing your voice into the arena, to help people further understand the diversity and complexity of the trans community. Without Chaz’s brave journey into the public domain and your timely and articulate blog – I would have remained ignorant and even worse indifferent to the issues at hand.

    I hope you get a chance to speak with Chaz in person over a pot of tea. Ultimately we are all on a journey of self realization and the more we get the chance to sit and talk and share our stories – the more hope we have for change in this world.

  35. 59 Linda December 1, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Stephen, I’ve been very impressed by your maturity; some people ‘way over 19 are not mature at all. Some thoughts:
    –Chaz Bono was born during a time when knowing he was trans was just not accepted. People would have said that a child just could not be certain about being trans at such an early age. He suffered for years. He had support from his dad but not his mom. Taking the steps he did to come out AND to have some physical changes made was terrifying for him. Only now is he coming into his own. Only now does he fell the acceptance of his mom.
    –I knew a little girl who was 8 years old. She KNEW with every fiber of her being that she’d been born in the wrong body. Sharing this with her parents caused them to divorce. Her father is totally out of her life, but her dear mother has been with her through it all, staunchly supporting and loving her. Her physical changes were just a few years ago, but the result was a well-adjusted, happy, healthy-in-every-way young man. He is now a teacher, the kids love him, and his large group of friends love him, too.
    –I’ve read about your issues. Bless your mom for sticking by you and trying to get her head around it all. Pray for your dad. He’s very intelligent and he loves you, so maybe with your help and your mom’s, he’ll come around, too.
    Who am I? I’m a 66-year-old grandma of 3 who has not experienced anything of this type in my own family. I can only equate it to raising my daughters Catholic and then suffering as they both rejected their faith. One, although married to a Catholic in a Catholic church, is now an agnostic (maybe even an atheist) whose children know nothing of a higher power. The other is also married to a Catholic, but they married in a Lutheran ceremony and are raising their son as Lutheran. I was initially shocked and dismayed, but chose, for the sake of my entire family, to accept their new ways, even if they are not mine. This, I think, is where your mother must be in her adjustment period. She will never stop loving you; you are her child…and that goes for your dad, too. I have great hopes that your family will come through this stronger than before.
    Please be happy, healthy and wise in all you do.

  36. 60 Elisa Wolfe December 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

    ”I am not infuriated or trying to start something, or any of that. Don’t put
    that on me. I am just a guy who tries to to point out fucked up things in an effort to make the world better.” Stephen, each individual who makes
    the decision to transform their gender begins that journey with counseling
    and hormonal alterations. This transition ‘births’ new physical and
    emotional adjustments. In your opinion, Chaz blames his misogyny on
    the progesterone he takes, rather than unresolved personal issues.
    It’s most likely both. After having been through this transition yourself, I
    would think that the ”guy who tries to point out fucked-up things in an
    effort to make the world better.” would have been more empathetic
    than judgmental. Chaz is trying to make his way through this life
    changing transition and he is aware of his vulnerabilities.

  37. 62 Lola Scarpitta July 19, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Just saw the video you did recently for WeHappyTrans.com. You are an amazing person with an incredible intellect and empathy. You are most certainly a rare person and I wish you all the happiness this world has to offer. Best wishes and love from one artist to another!

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