Books: Jeannie Out of the Bottle by Barbara Eden

If you remember Barbara Eden and "I Dream of Jeannie" this is a good read. Barbara Eden shares her story of how she began in show business, and how she landed her role on "I Dream of Jeannie." She discusses her career as she has grown older, some interactions with other stars, as well as her relationships/marriages. She also covers some very difficult topics - losing a child to drug abuse, losing a baby in the womb (stillborn), and surviving an abusive relationship.

Throughout the book, Ms. Eden recalls her mother's words of encouragement to her: "Rise above it Barbara Jean" and you can't help but realize that she has taken those words to heart. Her hard work and strength despite some very difficult tragedies is both empowering and encouraging.

Books: Transition by Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono's book is an honest, open glimpse of what life is like when
a person lives with gender identity issues. Chaz spends most of his life in a difficult limbo, before making a very brave decision to transition from Female-to-Male.

The challenges that arise from this life-changing decision are major. Chaz fears rejection by loved ones, losing his romantic relationship, and additional complications that being in the spotlight create. Chaz faces the most difficulty in his relationship with his mother, Cher, as one might imagine any person changing genders would likely face the most judgement from their parents. However, Chaz's lessons shared are worthwhile to anyone questioning gender reassignment or simply questioning what transgender means.

There is clarity, wisdom and strength that comes with Chaz's decison to transition. He makes important realizations including, "I had to start making choices in my life that were based on me, my needs, my desires..." and "It wasn't my job to make them okay; they had to make themselves okay with me."

Chaz also finds that life after transitioning is easier and a bit more comfortable in many ways. Chaz closes the book with a very positive and encouraging message "If you're letting fear stop you from transitioning, or from doing something else that you've always wanted or needed to do, then don't. Fears are not facts. With a little time and effort, they can be
overcome, worked through, and conquered."

The message in Chaz's book is pure and simple - be true to yourself.

Bono, C. (2011). "Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man."
Dutton, New York, NY.