Chaz Bono, who until 2010 was known as Chastity Bono, the daughter of pop icon Cher and late singer/politician Sonny Bono, has had a complicated journey starting out as a “she” and eventually becoming a “he” — a journey Bono shares in his new book, Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man. The feelings surrounding Bono’s coming-of-age were often difficult, he says, and often directed at nobody besides himself.

As Chastity, Bono first publicly announced being a lesbian in 1995, more than a decade after he first knew he was gay. What followed was a series of relationships (with other lesbians, naturally) that failed for reasons Bono explains in our exclusive interview. “I felt like I was doing something wrong, like I was a really bad lesbian,” he said, adding: “There was nothing about me that was feminine or female.”

Bono went on to explain that he always felt isolated from the gynocentrism of lesbian identity. “I would get in a lot of relationships with women who seemed to try to change me in some way,” he said. “It was almost as challenging being with lesbians as it was with straight women when I was younger.”

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