Annette Bening’s Trans Son Settles Beef With Chaz Bono

Not everyone in the trans community was thrilled with Chazo Bono’s performance on Dancing with the Stars.Stephen Ira Beatty (at right), the 19-year-old trans son of Annette Bening and Warren Beatty, called Bono a misogynist for commenting in interviews that transgender people are born with a “birth defect.”

In a September 19 post on his blog SuperMattachine Review , Beatty wrote:

“Chaz has appointed himself as the representative of a group of people who are not all like him.  He has said misogynistic and prescriptivist things about gender.  I take particular issue with his comments on trans embodiment and on women.

…Here’s the interview that finally made me decide I was done with Chaz.  It’s with the New York Times:

“There’s a gender in your brain and a gender in your body. For 99 percent of people, those things are in alignment. For transgender people, they’re mismatched. That’s all it is. It’s not complicated, it’s not a neurosis. It’s a mix-up. It’s a birth defect, like a cleft palate.”

I do not have a birth defect.  If you feel like you have a birth defect, fine.  That’s how you feel.  Go feel that. Do not put it onto me. Do not define me that way, and do not define other trans people that way unless they claim that label.

It’s beyond that, though.  Chaz is a misogynist.  He is a trans man who seems to believe that his female-assignedness and his female socialization makes him immune from being a misogynist, and he is manifestly wrong.”


But in the two months since that post went up, Beatty has had some time to think, and last week he posted a follow-up. In it, he writes:

“I bear [Chaz] no ill will. I just don’t want anyone thinking that he’s qualified to offer Trans 101, you know?

…Just a couple of years after I came out, I was saying prescriptivist misogynistic nonsense too. I read a lot, I learned a lot, I spent time living as a trans guy in the world, and I came out the other side of that worldview.

I didn’t have a huge amount of fame or exposure when I came out, though, the way Chaz did, and didn’t feel obligated to make myself a spokesman.

I would be more than happy to sit down with Chaz, have a drink, and talk with him about how he can think and talk about gender in a way that’s more inclusive.”

How about it Chaz—from one celebrity scion to another?


Source:, Images via Bilerico Project, Lydia Marcus

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  • Cam

    Chaz got into trouble for things that were said back when Chaz was a woman and had labeled herself a lesbian. Now those comments make more sense, since in a later interview Chaz said he considers himself a straight man.

    So the comments about the gay community were made by somebody who didn’t feel a part of that community.

    Beatty makes sense, Chaz has only been on this road a short time, maybe they should get together. But also, glad that Beatty backed off the attacks. When part of your communities main complain is visibility, it isn’t a great move to scorch earth the person that is currently getting your community face time on a highly rated prime time show ever week!

  • Ben J

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz am we should care why?

  • amo

    How come you’re crediting him at Stephen Ira Beatty? I’ve never seen him use Beatty as a surname…

  • Erik

    I think i’m with Chaz on this one. Until a few decades ago, outward gender reassignment surgery was not possible. What if in the future, the inward, biochemical switch can be flipped to match one’s outward gender identity instead?

    Doesn’t the very nature of the condition — that one’s outward or inward gender identity MUST be changed for the individual to be content — dictate that it is a birth defect? Being transgender necessitates a medical procedure, surgery, to fix what is out of alignment. I don’t know how else you would describe that.

  • Jeff

    I’m with Christopher, who cares?

  • leanleft

    Another day, another internecine trans battle.

  • Adam

    Chaz was trying to explain it in simplified terms what it takes university-level courses to explain, so I don’t think he can be faulted for missing the mark. At any rate, he didn’t say it WAS a birth defect, he said it was on par with it. It’s an incongruency with social norms that he, at the very least, posits is innate and starts at birth. Whether one wants to get into questions of whether gender is an innate or learned trait is a different argument and is hardly a valid reason to call someone a misogynist. His intentions clearly weren’t malicious, he was trying to normalize it, saying someone who is transgendered isn’t any stranger than someone who is born with a cleft palate.

  • Kamuriie

    Trans-people: No matter what you believe, you’re somehow wrong! Even if you’re parroting highly mainstream trans-literature, or VERBATIM arguments from trans-people!

  • Kamuriie

    “Birth defect” does not imply a moral judgment against the subject. How else do you describe something that someone is born with–a physical condition “outside the norm” that needs surgery to “correct”–other than “birth defect”? If it wasn’t a physical defect you need to correct, and instead just a rare “feature” of a small subset of people, what’s with the need/desire for hormone therapy and exorbitant plastic surgery?

  • kylew

    @Erik: Agreed Erik. The problem is not in the description, but in the negative connotation assigned to it by Beatty. I think that he is the one that needs to consider his attitudes.

  • Meowzer

    I don’t think Chaz was speaking for an entire group of people, just like if I talk about being gay to my co-workers am I speaking for all gays. Chaz just was getting the publicity at the time. If Beatty thinks he can do any better to represent/speak for the trans community, get yourself on a reality show and let a microphone be shoved in your face and speak your peace.
    I think Beatty needs to get over himself.

  • kylew

    @leanleft: “Another day, another internecine trans battle.”

    Great word – had to go look that up. I’m gonna be dropping that casually into conversations all month. lol!

  • QJ201

    1) old news, queerty’s editors are trolling other sites for stories/content

    2) Chaz needs to go away. Was only famous in the first place for being outed as a lesbian by the tabloids, then became an “accidental” activist. Then gained 200 pounds stating the weight gain was due to discomfort with his/her body. Then transitioned. Didn’t lose any weight. Then embarrassed himself on lumbering around a dance floor on national TV while people fawned all over him for being so “brave” and “courageous.”

  • Goodnight Moon

    for being 19, ira is pretty impressive

  • Mike

    I didn’t even know they had a transgender kid.

  • Cathy Brennan

    I think a 19 year old is too young to have a drink.

  • Caliban

    Personally, I thought Chaz acted insulted on David Letterman at an implied connection with the gay community and wanted to make sure everyone knew he was STRAIGHT, by god, STRAIGHT! My reaction to that was F U!

    But whatever. I’ve got better things to worry about than these two.

    FWIW, the Beatty (or whatever) kid looks remarkably like Ellen Page.

  • R.A.

    The most bizarre aspect of the trans conversations is that everyone discusses the brain/body dimorphism as if male and female were polar opposites. Gender isn’t just a sliding scale – it’s a mixed bag in each and every one of us.

    I’d wager a lot of gay hostility toward this subject has to do with childhood memories of questioning our own identities, of bullying, of being called a girl and having girls as friends, etc.

    In the case of Chaz, as in Iran, this seems to be being promoted as an ex-gay movement even more extreme than anything imagined by the Marcus Bachmann’s of the world.

  • Riker

    Stephen is adorable (though you could have found a better picture of him than that blurry cell-phone-mirror-shot) and I would totally date him (assuming he had the operation already)

  • mike128

    @Riker: I think he’s cute too… but it’s offensive to assume that all trans people are on their way to having “the operation”. That’s certainly not the goal for many trans people and a common misconception among people not so familiar with the trans communities.

  • Eastwood

    Stephen sounds like a smart young man. Best of luck to him.

  • Dan

    I’ve met many FTM trans guys who overcompensate with extreme machismo/mysogyny when they first come out to others. With time, they realize machismo/mysogyny doesn’t make a guy a guy – it makes a guy a douchebag.

  • CatsPajamas

    @QJ201 – #2 had me laughing because it is so true! If Chaz doesn’t want to be associated with the gay community so be it, but maybe he should think about being associated with weight watchers.

  • John

    Dan, that comment is perfect.

  • Riker

    @mike128: Lots of people can’t AFFORD the surgery. With his mother, that probably wouldn’t be a problem for him. That said, of course some trans people do not want it. However, I happen to like penises. I enjoy them quite a bit. Dating a guy with a vagina instead of penis would be a complete nonstarter.

  • Riker

    @CatsPajamas: I wish we still had upvoting and downvoting on comments. Yours would get a hearty thumbs up.

    Surely with his mother’s money he could afford a membership to a reputable gym, maybe even a personal trainer or three?

  • slurp

    I’d hit it.

  • CBRad

    @QJ201: LOL !

  • queertypie

    The concept of transgendered, gender re-assignment, etc. always makes me scratch my head trying to understand it all. Someone enlighten me please?
    Chastity Bono was born a girl who is attracted to women and she is not gay.
    She felt that she had more masculine feelings and should become a man.
    Now she’s a man who likes women.
    When she was a girl she wasn’t a lesbian and now that she is a man he is not gay, because he has a body of a man ???? Ay Carrumba!!!
    Is his body and mind now that of a 100% heterosexual man? Has his feminine brain been altered? Does becoming transgendered change your brain chemistry too?

  • Riker

    @queertypie: Alright, here’s a very quick and oversimplified summary:

    As near as we can tell, gender identity disorder is caused in utero by the mother’s hormones, or else at a very early age. In a nutshell, some electrochemical switches get mixed up and their biology (sex) doesn’t match their psychology (gender). This is an internal inconsistency, so it usually winds up causing lots of confusion and psychological harm to the individual affected. Since we don’t yet have the technology to change the psychology, and even if we did it would be ethically questionable, we change the biology of the person to match the way they feel, to resolve the internal conflict.

    Chastity claiming to be a lesbian was part of her own journey of self-discovery. Just like many gay men start out pretending to be bisexual, even trying to convince themselves of this, because it is easier for them to accept. Eventually they come to accept the truth.

    I don’t know the status of Chaz’s genitals (nor do I want to. ew.), but he is likely taking male hormones. These cause physical and mental changes, building muscle and redistributing fat (or at least trying to!), making him more like a natural man.

  • R.A.

    No. 30 · queertypie,

    When we treat labels as if they were the thing itself, we wind up in strange places.
    Since Chaz’s surgery, his girlfriend has described herself as “bisexual” – this without any kind of physical or psychological transformation on her part.

    And yes, hormone injections will have an effect on the brain. Body-builders who take testosterone can become violent. This is one of many reasons why treating youngsters with have gender issues by injecting them with hormones to delay puberty is highly controversial and should be.

    As to whether or not Chaz was a lesbian, of course he was. There are many women who never imagined they were bisexual until they finally fell in love with a woman. No one here really knows who or what Chaz Bono will be in ten years except to say he will probably turn it into a book or reality show. Some things don’t change.

  • amo

    @R.A.: Chaz’s girlfriend has said she’s been bi since before his transition.

  • G.I. Joe

    Actually research has shown that trans women have a brain more similar to born-women than to men, and vice-versa.

    So if you want to over-simplify the issue, it is more that Chaz (and other FTMs, and vice-versa for trans women) have a male brain inside a female body. And when you spend your whole childhood being told you’re a woman, there’s a point when even your brain is confused and believes it, I guess. Just like being told (implicitly or not) that you are straight, that being straight is THE ONLY WAY possible screws with a lot of people’s head and definition of their own sexuality, and you get people coming out at 40. It’s not that they suddenly turned gay, it’s just they repressed it until then.

  • Barbie

    Where’s the Beef?

  • Mike in Asheville

    @Riker: You do realize, I hope, that the vast majority of those who receive approvals for sex reassignment surgery are straight. More likely than not, Stephan is into girls. And good for him! Of course, he is still a cutie too.

  • Stephen Ira

    @Mike in Asheville: Actually, I’m gay. And it’s not true that most trans people are straight–like cis people, we’re all over the sexual map.

Comments are closed.