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June 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

According to TMZ.com, Chastity Bono, daughter of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, is in the early stages of transitioning from female to male.

Publicist Howard Bragman made a statement for the activist, journalist and author, using  masculine pronouns: “Yes, it’s true — Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity.”

“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.

We ask that the media respect Chaz’s privacy during this long process as he will not be doing any interviews at this time.”

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