Cher Discusses Acceptance as Mother of Transgender Son
Filed under: Celeb News & Interviews
If she could turn back time, Cher just might change a few things in the way she parented her children, but she wouldn't change a thing about who her children are.
"Like most working mothers, they never feel like they're doing a good job because they're never able to devote the amount of time," Cher tells ABC News' Cynthia McFadden in an interview scheduled to air tonight on 20/20. "I mean, I have many regrets about my parenting ... I would have spent more time; maybe I should have had children older."
These revelations come just months after Chaz (nee Chastity Bono), Cher's first born child with the late Sonny Bono, became a man after undergoing gender re-assignment surgery this past spring, according to ABC News.
"I have two sons," Cher tells McFadden. "Never thought that would be, but, you know? You go through life, and you get what you get. You get what belongs to you."
Chaz's surgery has been a sensitive subject for Cher and she has been reluctant to discuss it, McFadden says -- until now.
Cher tells McFadden she and Chaz had talked about it before, over the years and she advised, 'If you need to do this, you'd better do it.' She says Chastity made the right choice for her, since she was so unhappy.
"I like being a girl," Cher explains to "20/20." "If I woke up tomorrow and I was in a guy's body, I would just be flipped out, and it would just be horrendous for me. And that's all I can think of. That's the way I put myself in Chaz's place."
Cher tells McFadden it was difficult for her when Chastity first came out as a lesbian a decade ago, even though she had suspected her daughter was a lesbian since she was about 11 years old. Chaz has admitted that his mother initially "went ballistic" when he came out to her as a lesbian, before coming to terms with the news, Salon reports.
But Cher tells McFadden she wasn't upset about the fact that she was gay; she was upset that Chastity hadn't talked to her about it, while everyone else already knew.
"She had told everybody but me," said Cher, "because she was frightened to tell me ... what are people going to think?"
Wherever the truth lies, Cher has certainly come out herself -- as an advocate for her son who offers valuable advice for other parents of transgendered kids in a video interview with The Advocate:
"Take it slowly. There are so many feelings that come up and most of them are difficult. And you go through a lot of changes, just as Chaz was going through whatever her changes were," Cher says. "One time I called, and she obviously had forgotten to change her voicemail, and I thought, 'Oh my God, that's probably the last time I'm going to hear the voice I've known my whole life.' There are small things you take for granted. It took a long time for me to know, this is the same person I've known my whole life."
This message of acceptance is hugely important to parents, friends and family of LGBT individuals, Salon reports, "The person who comes out to you is still the person you love. You may have to tweak your vision of the person, but go ahead, do the work." They add, "If Cher can, you can."
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.