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Chaz Bono Visits Indiana University

Transgender activist and celebrity Chaz Bono visited Indiana University in early October, speaking at the university as part of the Themester  and Sexploration Week 2012.  While at IU, Mr. Bono had a tour of The Kinsey Institute, and met with Institute staff and supporters.

Kinsey Institute Director Dr. Julia Heiman talks with Chaz Bono about his transition.

Mr. Bono spoke to a crowd of over 800 students and community members about his own personal journey towards recognition and acceptance of himself as a man.

Chaz connected to his audience, talking candidly about his relationships with each of his famous parents. He spoke about the constant discomfort he felt in his body, especially when he hit puberty.

"If you talk to almost any transgender adult who had to go through puberty the wrong way, they’ll tell you that it’s really one of the most horrifying, frightening and terrible experiences,” he said.

As a young person, Chaz identified as a lesbian, feeling that this must be the answer to his discomfort in his given gender. But within communities of women, he realized that sexual orientation was not all that set him apart. And so he eventually embarked on the journey to transition from female to male.

In spite of the privileged life of a celebrity and famous entertainer parents, Chaz Bono was able to connect to his audience at the IU auditorium with his message of inclusion and acceptance. Dr. Heiman observed that, “His talk reached across privilege and gender, to focus on dealing with being and feeling different, exclusion, rejection, and wanting to be a good person.”

Chaz Bono addresses students, faculty, and community members at Indiana University. Photo by Martin Weinberg, 2012.

Chaz Bono's visit was part of IU's Themester program, and was made possible through a grant from Tawani Foundation and other sponsors.

The Institute would like to recognize Dr. Martin Weinberg, professor of Sociology at IU and affiliated faculty at The Kinsey Institute, for bringing Chaz to campus.

 


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