With the 25th and final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show scheduled to wrap on Wednesday, May 25, Oprah and her producers are more intentional than ever about what to do with their 13 remaining shows. Airing Monday, May 9, one of those shows will feature an exclusive interview with Chaz Bono, the only child of Sonny and Cher, whose transition is the subject of Becoming Chaz, a documentary premiering on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on Tuesday, May 10 at 9:00 p.m. EST.
A hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival and the first selection for OWN's Documentary Film Club, Becoming Chaz follows Chaz Bono through the emotional first year of his physical transition from female to male. Cher and other family members appear in the film, as does Jennifer Elia, Bono's girlfriend of five years.
Of his motivation for allowing film cameras to document his physical transition, Bono, speaking in the film as he addresses the media for the first time, said, "I wanted to put a face on an issue that people don't understand."
To see Oprah's interview with Chaz Bono, tune-in to The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, May 9. Please check your local listings for time and station information. GLAAD provided resources to the producers of this show to ensure that transgender issues are discussed accurately.
"I think we can all learn something from him," said Oprah, after taping her interview with Chaz. Of Chaz's transition, she said, "It's really about honoring the truth of who you are, and if you can't do that, you die a little death every day...your willingness to be truthful about who you really are opens up enormous possibilities."
Immediately following the premiere of Becoming Chaz on Tuesday night, OWN Documentary Film Club collaborator Rosie O'Donnell will host a one-hour special that aims to shed more light on Chaz's story. Bono, Elia and filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato will participate.
This is not the first time Oprah or OWN has raised the visibility of transgender people. Launching just four months ago, OWN featured an hour-long look at transgender issues on a moving episode of Our America with Lisa Ling called "Transgender Lives." An eight-time GLAAD Media Award winner, in January, Oprah pointed out that her team has produced more than 120 groundbreaking shows devoted to telling the stories of LGBT people.
“Our intention is – and has always been – to help people see things differently by giving a voice to those that might not otherwise be heard,” Oprah said at the time.
GLAAD applauds Chaz Bono for his willingness to share so much of his transition with a national audience, and we thank Oprah Winfrey for giving him several great platforms in which to do so. We look forward in anticipation of the greater understanding that is sure to result from Becoming Chaz.