Chastity Bono Is Having a Sex Change

Chastity Bono, daughter of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, is undergoing a sex change, has learned.

Chastity, who is transitioning from female to male, began the process earlier this year after turning 40 March 4. "Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity," publicist Howard Bragman tells

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"He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago," Bragman continued. "We ask that the media respect Chaz's privacy during this long process as he will not be doing any interviews at this time," the statement concluded.

Said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD): "Chaz Bono's decision to live his life authentically represents an important step forward, both for him personally and for all who are committed to advancing discussions about fairness and equality for transgender people. Coming out as transgender is an extremely personal decision and one that is never made lightly." first reported the news Thursday.

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In 1998, Chastity Bono wrote about her sexuality, revealing that she "came out" at 18. Cher said she "flipped out" when she heard the news, even banishing Chastity from her NYC apartment.

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"I'd always had this idea that she would get married and have a family," Cher said at the time. The two have since reconciled and Chastity went on to become an American LGBT rights advocate and writer. Chastity appeared on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club 3 in 2003.