Chaz Bono, born March 4, 1969
Some of you may know Chaz Bono better as the former Chastity Bono, child of Sonny and Cher.
Chaz is just two months older than I am, and I vividly recall watching him join his parents -- he was still a she at the time -- at the end of every episode of the Sonny and Cher show. I never missed an episode, and I worshiped Chastity. How cool to be a kid on TV! And to get to wear an outfit that matched Sonny and Cher!
In 1990 the tabloid rag the Star outed Chaz. Although he was already out to his family, Chaz denied it at first, because he wasn't prepared for the public scrutiny. He subsequently came out publicly in 1995, in an interview with the Advocate.
Through the years Chaz has been a champion for the rights of gay people and same sex couples, working with the Human Rights Campaign and against the vile and misnamed Defense of Marriage Act.
This March, Chaz celebrated his 40th birthday with Cher in Vegas. That's a party I would have paid to attend!
The latest news is that Chaz started a sexual reassignment transition (thank you People Magazine RSS feed.) I think that's a perfect example of seizing life at 40. You're experienced enough to know what you want and how to pull it off, and still young enough to go for something huge and life changing.
Best wishes to you, Chaz, on this latest chapter: It's been delightful growing up with you, and you're still an inspiration!
PS - Doesn't Travis the Near Girl (see post below) sort of look like Chaz?