Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Becoming Chaz" Premiers Tonight on OWN at 9pm

Chaz Bono at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards, Apri...Image via WikipediaThe much anticipated documentary, "Becoming Chaz", which depicts Chaz Bono's journey through his transition from female to male, airs tonight at 9pm on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert writes this morning, "'Becoming Chaz' is remarkably multifaceted. Most of all, the new documentary about Chaz Bono, formerly Chastity Bono, is a chronicle of gender reassignment. But it is also a touching reminder of the endless process of coming out that we all undergo — not just as gay or transgender, but as ourselves. It’s a glimpse into the often cold, exploited world of the child of celebrities — Chaz is yesterday’s Suri Cruise. And it’s a love story, an intimate profile of a relationship challenged by life changes."

This promises to be one of those groundbreaking television events that we don't see very often any more. Chaz explains that as the child of celebrities, he could not have gone through his transition privately, as his famous mother wanted. Instead, he chose to tell his story himself, choosing documentary filmmakers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey (The Eyes of Tammy Faye).

This is not some self-indulgent celebrity reality show. Chaz and his girlfriend of five years, Jenny Elia, struggle to redefine their relationship as Chaz goes through the the steps of his transition. Jenny admits that the hardest part is coping with the changes in Chaz's personality, which she sees as typically male characteristics, brought on by his hormone treatments. She admits, "I miss the person I met five years ago."

The film doesn't pretend to depict a story with a victorious outcome, but rather gives the viewer a look behind the scenes of an ongoing journey. Set your Tivo. You don't want to miss this one.

Americans tend to view trans people with the same morbid curiosity once seen only in side shows. We forget that inside the changing body is someone who is risking everything to become the person they were meant to be.

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