Cher (left) and Chaz Bono
Katy Winn/Getty, INF
10/29/2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
Now that he's finally in the body he always felt he belonged in, Chaz Bono says he's enjoying something that took decades to accomplish.
"It's a long process going back almost a decade. I got clean and sober in 2004 and I couldn't have done this before that," Bono, formerly known as Chastity, tells, Entertainment Tonight
in an interview airing Thursday and Friday.
Born the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono, Chaz, 40, has been undergoing a female-to-male sex change
since March, a process that has already had significant physical changes
on his body.
"It lowered my voice," he says. "Fat redistributes, muscle growth, hair growth, sex drive increases."
One thing that didn't need changing: His mental and emotional concept of himself as fundamentally male.
"I always felt like the male from the time I was a child. There wasn't much feminine about me," he says. "I believe that gender is something between your ears, not between your legs. That is something I discovered in the early '90s. It was just a long process of being comfortable enough to do something about it."
It was turning the milestone age of 40 that spurred him to action.
"I was turning 40 and I thought it's now or never. I want to still feel vibrant and be able to enjoy my life in a male body and not wait until I am an old man."