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Chastity Bono is undergoing a sex change

Celebrity daughter Chastity Bono is undergoing a sex change to become a man, her publicist announced Thursday.

The gender-swap process began shortly after Bono's 40th birthday in March and more than a decade after she came out as a lesbian.

"Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," spokesman Howard Bragman said in a statement using only male pronouns.

Chastity, the only child of the "I Got You, Babe" singing duo, will have gender reassignment surgery, according to Us magazine - although Bragman declined to confirm the operation.

"He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones," said Bragman, declining to answer any questions.

Bono became a vocal advocate of gay and transgendered rights after going public with her sexuality.

There was no immediate comment from Cher, who initially cringed at her daughter's lesbianism before making peace with Chastity. Her father, Sonny Bono, died in 1998.

Gay leaders hailed Bono's decision as courageous and "an important step forward."

"Coming out as a transgender is an extremely personal decision and one that is never made lightly," said Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

"We look forward to hearing Chaz's story in his own words in the future."

"Transitioning," as gender switching is known, typically involves hormone therapy and sometimes - although not always - some surgical alteration.

"For some it's a medical transition," said Carrie Davis, director of adult services at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

"For others, it's just social. And for many, it's both."


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