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Health Insurance Outrage; How Chastity Became Chaz; Hope in Hollenbeck

Aired March 11, 2010 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. Tonight, Chaz Bono and his extraordinary transformation: you may remember Chastity Bono, the little girl who grew up on the TV in the '70s, the daughter of Sonny & Cher. But Chastity is now Chaz. One year ago he began hormone therapy. This fall had surgery.

Tonight, in a rare interview he talks about life as a man and the journey he's still undergoing.


CHAZ BONO, TRANSGENDER ACTIVIST: You know, I'm struck probably by the same irony that, you know, I mean it's not missed on me that -- that this kid who, you know, my parents brought on stage is kind of the all-American, you know, family of the '70s grew up to be, you know, a middle-aged man.


COOPER: We'll have a lot more from Chaz Bono coming up in this hour.

But we begin with the battle over health care reform that is tonight in its final stages. The White House saying it wants Congress to pass a bill by March 18th, a week from today. Tonight House Democrats are scrambling to get the 216 votes they need to pass the Senate version of the bill.

Now, meantime, we've seen a change in tone from President Obama this week as he has literally rolled up his sleeves, gone on the road, trying to fire up Democrats and taking aim at the insurance companies.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just last month, Anthem Blue Cross in California tried to jack up rates by nearly 40 percent; 40 percent. Have anybody's paycheck gone up 40 percent?


COOPER: We have no doubt noticed if you're lucky enough to have health insurance that your premiums are going up while the nation's biggest health insurers are netting billions in annual profits. So why is that? Tonight we're "Keeping them Honest."

We're also going to talk to filmmaker Michael Moore about what's going on in Washington and why he says he's ready to take over for Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff's job.

But let's start with these big profits by insurance companies, with the ballooning premiums and the reasons behind them. "Keeping them Honest", here's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're hoping your health care premiums are going to go down any time soon, don't hold your breath. Just take a look at this. Insurance companies have requested huge premium hikes, Blue Cross, 56 percent in Michigan; and Anthem, 39 percent in California, 24 percent in Connecticut, 23 percent in Maine.

And at the height of the health care debate in Washington, the president is up in arms.

OBAMA: Just last month Anthem Blue Cross in California tried to jack up rates by nearly 40 percent; 40 percent. Have -- anybody's paycheck gone up 40 percent?

KAYE: The numbers are sobering. Health insurance premiums soared 131 percent in the last 10 years, costing the average family about $13,000 more over a decade.

American Medical Association President Dr. James Rohack says the Justice Department has done little to stop health insurance companies from merging creating what he sees as a monopoly. A system that can dictate the market for the very products they push.

(on camera): Seventy percent of the market in 25 states is controlled by just two health insurers, just two. And in the State of Alabama one insurer, Blue Cross, controls 80 percent of the market.

DR. JAMES ROHACK, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: You've got that dominance of one insurer and as a result they have a take it or leave it premium.

KAYE (voice-over): The insurance industry says they have to raise rates because the overall cost of care is going up. So they have to pass those increases along to policyholders.

KAREN IGNAGNI, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS: Health care costs are surging. We have to get those under control.

KAYE: Fair enough, but don't forget, these companies answer to shareholders who expect to see one thing, profit.

(on camera): How much profit? That's what we wanted to know. So we checked the three biggest insurance companies in America. United earned $3.8 billion last year. WellPoint took home $3.2 billion. And Aetna saw profits of $1.3 billion. (voice-over): And it pays to be an executive at these companies. Angela Braly, the CEO of WellPoint which owns Anthem Blue Cross earned more than $1 million in salary in 2008, along with stock options valued at $8.5 million.

In 2008 United Health Care CEO, Stephen Hemsley, earned $5 million, a fraction of what the CEO at Aetna took home. Ronald Williams was paid $38 million.

ROHACK: That health plan executives still sleeping at home not worried about how that person who doesn't have health insurance is going to get their medical care because it's not their problem.

KAYE: The insurance industry lobby insists salaries are set by the Board of Directors and have nothing to do with premiums charged. They also say they're being unfairly targeted.

IGNAGNI: What people are doing wrong right now is focusing laser-like only on our industry.

KAYE: And to fight back, the insurance companies plan to spend millions of dollars on ads arguing against the proposed health care overhaul.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


COOPER: We should point out that the health insurance lobby has already spent millions to try to shape the health care debate. They said they were on board with health care reform in the beginning making a deal with the White House but are now digging their heels as the battle comes to a head.

Let's "Dig Deeper" now with filmmaker Michael Moore, who's 2007 film "Sicko" took aim at the for-profit U.S. health care industry. His latest film, "Capitalism: A love Story" is out on DVD this week. Thanks for being with us. I appreciate it.


COOPER: What do you -- what's going on in Washington? You have been disillusioned by this whole debate. You said back in September that you would campaign against Democrats who didn't go for a public option. Are you still -- I mean, are you now taking aim at Democrats?

MOORE: If necessary, absolutely.

I mean, listen, President Obama inherited a huge mess. In fact, he's, to his credit, that he was willing to take the job considering what had happened to our economy, the two wars, all of these things. So I give him a lot of credit just for being willing to show up and try to do the job.

COOPER: What do you think of the bill that's being debated now? I mean the Senate version of the bill. Is it better than nothing?

MOORE: Well, that's where we're at now in this country, right? We just have to accept, well, you know, it's better than nothing. Is that who we are as Americans? I thought we were about we want the best. We want to be able to do the best, be the best.

This bill right now is, personally, it's a travesty as far as I'm concerned because it has nothing to do with universal health care. Are there good things in the bill? Of course, pre-existing condition and all these things.

COOPER: Pre-existing conditions --

MOORE: Yes. Everybody agrees on these things. And if they could have just gone ahead and had a bill on that and passed it and a bill on you know what -- let parents keep their kids on their health insurance until they're 25. You know, things that everybody can agree on.

But -- but President Obama and the Congress, they took office with the people, I think they were very clear, the public, during the campaign, that they expected universal health care in this country. They expected everybody to be covered.

That we live in the -- we live in the best country in the world and we're not acting like it. Because we're, what, are we now number 37 in terms of our health care?

All the numbers, in fact, are so low when it comes to how we treat ourselves when we're such a wealthy nation. And I just think we can do better than this. I am personally disappointed.

COOPER: We're going to talk to you more just after the break. We've got to take a quick break. And we'll have more with Michael Moore in a moment.

You can join the live chat right now at You can also tweet with Michael, at his -- what is it?

MOORE: It's @mmFlint, the town.

COOPER: All right, he was tweeting right before we went on the air.

Just ahead, tonight, we'll have a lot more with Michael in a moment.

Just ahead, Chaz Bono's gender transformation. Back in the '70s, of course, Chastity Bono was the little girl on stage with Sonny & Cher. But even as a child she says she felt different.

Tonight Chaz explains what it was like.


C. BONO: Try to imagine if you woke up tomorrow feeling exactly like you do, but your body was female. How would that feel to you? And that's, you know, basically how I felt, you know, from the time of puberty on.


COOPER: One year since he began his transition Chaz Bono speaks about becoming the man he always believed he was.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Randi Kaye touched on before the break health care costs including health insurance premiums are rising fast. Meantime, the biggest health insurers are making money hand over fist.

Last year the three biggest together netted more than $8 billion. They're in business, of course, to make a profit. That's not a surprise. Much of our health care system is for profit.

But for 40 years the amount Americans spend on health care has been rising faster than we're spending on pretty much everything else. There are lot of reasons why costs are rising so fast.

Tom Foreman has a couple of them.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, our first reason for the explosive rise in medical expenses, one word, boom.

Seventy eight million baby boomers born after World War II are getting older and need more care. Each day 8,000 of them turn 60.

Second reason, high-tech: as a wealthy nation we've developed very sophisticated, very expensive medical tools and we've used them maybe too much. Who pays? You do.

Third reason, lawyers: Republicans talk about how doctors have to buy expensive malpractice insurance to protect themselves. How much this contributes to health care inflation is hotly debated, but, again, you pay.

Fourth reason, insurance, itself. Most of us are facing bigger insurance bills, but many pay less when actually at the doctor's office which industry analysts suggest may be encouraging some consumers to go for every little ache or scrape. Add in the fast- rising cost of prescription drugs despite the spread of generic drugs and it's a costly combination.

And the fifth reason, inefficiency.

The lack of coordination between insurance companies, hospitals and doctors leads to duplicated services, endless paperwork and lots of expensive waste -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, thanks.

Let's bring back in Michael Moore. You disagree with a lot of what Tom is saying.

MOORE: I disagree with practically everything he just said. And I don't know how much time we have to go through it. But we're number one amongst the western industrialized countries in terms of what we spend on health care. I think Canada is number two. And at number two, they spend half of what we spend.

COOPER: So why are costs so high? Why are --

MOORE: Well, number one, because in the other western countries where the government has some sort of say or control over the health care system, private companies are not allowed to jack up these prices and make these huge profits. Do you realize that upwards to 30 percent of every monthly health care premium that you pay is going to the insurance companies profits, to their shareholders, to their overpaid executives, to all their bureaucracy and their red tape?

You know the --

COOPER: And it's interesting. Because we had an insurance guy on here the other night and you say to them, well, look, you guys are making huge profits.


COOPER: Your CEOs are getting paid huge salaries.


COOPER: And they say, well, no, it's simply a matter of our costs are going up. But clearly, I mean, they're more interested in their shareholders than they are --


COOPER: -- in the people who are supposed to be covered.

MOORE: And that's why they are not lying when they say that the costs are going up. Because what they're saying is their shareholders are expecting these huge profits to continue. It's one of the best stocks still to buy continuously as are pharmaceuticals.

So number one, that's -- I think Tom's report is way off base when it comes to that.

Number two it's not that people are going to be the doctor all the time and trying to get high-tech things done to them, put me through the big MRI machine or whatever. The -- first of all, 47 million don't have insurance. Those who do have insurance, a lot of times can't get the insurance company to cover the things that they do need a real test on.

COOPER: Right.

MOORE: And -- and my personal opinion, next to the excessive profits that these companies, because we allow private insurance companies to control our health care situation, the only country that does this, that the number two reason is because we have so many people that can't go to the doctor. They put off going to the doctor because they can't afford to pay for it.

Medical bills right now are the number one cause of bankruptcy --

COOPER: Right.

MOORE: -- in this country, they are the number one cause of foreclosures. So people put off going to the doctor. And then, if you do that, you get more sick. The tumor grows. The worse things happen which then when you finally do end up in the emergency room or in a hospital -- the cost, everything skyrockets.

What if -- what if they had had health insurance where they didn't have to worry about a co-pay or deductible or just go to doctors at the first sign of something going wrong and get help immediately? That costs so much less. And that's why these countries that have every citizen has a card that lets them walk into any doctor's office or any hospital free of charge. They go right away and they get help right away. And that's -- that keeps the costs of the system down.

COOPER: Why -- why do you think things are where they are in terms of Washington? What -- what -- in your opinion what has President Obama done right and what has he done wrong in terms of trying to get health care reform passed?

I mean, you wrote on the "Daily Beast" something you -- basically you want to take over for Rahm Emanuel because you feel like --

MOORE: Well --

COOPER: -- he hasn't -- that every day you would take President Obama down to Congress and be a lot tougher.

MOORE: Yes, I don't know, I mean, they keep saying, you know, one day it's Rahm who got to go, the next day it should be Gibbs, the next day it's Axelrod. I don't care -- I mean, I don't know. I'm not inside the White House.

I'm just saying if they're going to get rid of somebody, I'm willing to step in for a dollar a year. Just give me a cot in the basement of the White House. And --

COOPER: Are you serious?

MOORE: -- I'm totally -- I'm totally serious. We should all spend some time of our life doing service for our country. To me I would give up a couple of years. And my job every morning would be to get up and get him up and get the fight in him.

Send him up to Capitol Hill and help the Democrats find a spine and to stand up for something. They're going to lose, Anderson, by such huge proportions, as I've been saying and as I said on my Web site, they're in for an ass whooping of biblical proportions in November if they don't start acting like Democrats and stand up for something.

People -- the American people, you know, you know this, you travel the country. Most people don't see themselves as Democrats or Republicans. They see themselves as Americans. And what they like in a leader is somebody who's got the courage of their convictions and stands for something. That's why they liked Reagan. That's why they often like a lot of conservative politicians.

Conservatives, they just show up and go, "Damn it, this is the way we're doing it. Get out of my way." And it's like people kind of like that.

And Democrats show up and they get out the guitar and want to sing "Kumbaya." Nobody likes that. And -- and -- so -- whatever I can do to help President Obama, because I think he has a good heart. I think he cares deeply about this country and about the people that are hurting and suffering, the 47 million that don't have health insurance.

COOPER: Right.

MOORE: And it must just be -- it must just be driving him to a place of despair at this point. You can see it in the fight that he has now when he's out there talking on the road about this.

COOPER: Peter -- Peter Beinart wrote about sort of the President Obama we've seen in the last week.


COOPER: Basically going out on the road. He said that -- that he's gotten his mojo back because, and he said, quote, "He's given up the dream that he could transcend the partisan divide." Do you agree with that?

MOORE: Yes and you know what? It wasn't wrong for him to have that dream. That's kind of what we like about him.

But I think he really did come into Washington thinking, you know what, I can talk to these people on the other side. I'm not going to change my political viewpoints but we can find some common ground. We're all in this together. We're all Americans.

I think he had that attitude. And they just went nope, nope, nope, nope, nope. I mean, at a certain point --

COOPER: Because the Republicans say well, look, he didn't really make an effort to -- for bipartisanship.

MOORE: I think he made quite an effort. I think they made -- they had numerous hearings. They did quite a bit. But -- but -- I mean, their idea of when they say he didn't make an effort, that means he didn't change his mind and he still thinks everybody in America should be covered.

In his heart he still believes in that. And I just wish he would go to that place in his heart, back to his core when he said when he ran for senate that he believed in single payer. That's who Barack Obama is.

And the real Barack Obama needs to come out and behave like that fighter that we need. Believe you me, if he did that he could be the Roosevelt of this century if he has it in him to do it.

And the Democrats hopefully will get behind him. And the American people, I know they'll be getting behind him. I know the people watching this tonight, not just the 47 million that don't have health insurance, but the 10,000 a day that lose their health insurance. Every day now 10,000 lost their health insurance today, 10,000 will lose it tomorrow.

That the one in eight homes that are now in foreclosure or delinquency. I mean, the state of this nation right now is in such --

COOPER: Do you think they're going to get this passed?

MOORE: Well, I think, yes, this passed?


MOORE: This particular -- of course they'll get this passed. Yes, they finally have done the math. And it -- granted, liberals not that good at math, you know. We're usually good at English and social studies.

Conservatives seem to be better in science and math. I don't know why that is. But they finally figured out that actually you only need 51 to have a majority of 100. So yes, this will pass.

But like Paul Krugman said in the "Times" last week about bank -- whatever, you know, measly banking regulations they're trying to pass don't fool yourself into thinking these are real regulations. We're heading toward another crash because they haven't reinstituted a single rule on Wall Street; same thing for health care.

When this passes nobody should think that this is universal health care. Nobody should think that the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies still aren't in charge because they will be. And they will be calling the shots and they will even find ways, I predict, they will find ways around the pre-existing condition rule because all it says is they can't deny people but if they do, well, I forget what the number is, maybe you know.

Last time when they were debating it in the fall it was a $5,000 fine.

COOPER: Right.

MOORE: I think they're going to say, you know what, we can afford a number of those $5,000 fines because we don't want to take on certain people that are so sick that it's just -- it's going to drain the profits from our shareholders.

COOPER: Michael, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you very much.

MOORE: Well and thank you for having me here.

First time that we've done this in person and you know, you're not such a bad guy.

COOPER: Well, you know.

Spend a little more time with me and you'll change your opinion. DVD comes out, "Capitalism: Love Story" this week.

MOORE: Yes, yes. Thank you very much.

And you know, the staff loves you here. So that's always a good sign when the crew likes you.

COOPER: Yes, well, they have to. They're stuck with me. So --


MOORE: They can strike any time.

COOPER: That's true. Ok. You got to go. Michael thanks.

MOORE: Sorry.

COOPER: No, I'm just kidding.

Still ahead, an amazing transformation: tonight in a rare interview, Chaz Bono. He was born of course, Chastity Bono, talks about life as a man and the journey he's still undergoing.


C. BONO: It's just a feeling of rightness. I mean, my breasts from the time that they grew never felt like they were supposed to be on my body. So it's just a matter of looking in the mirror now and seeing a body reflected back at me that matches how I've always felt inside.


COOPER: Complete interview ahead.

Also tonight, "Homicide in Hollenbeck": one man's determination to leave the bloodshed behind after spending years in a gang and what does it actually take to leave that life and move on?

We'll talk to him ahead.


COOPER: We're following a number of other stories tonight. Stephanie Elam joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. A settlement announced tonight could pay more than $650 million to rescue workers sickened by dust from the destroyed World Trade Center attack -- after the 9/11 attacks. Most of the money would come out of a $1 billion grant from FEMA. But the deal still must be approved by a judge and the workers.

The wife of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in serious condition after the car she and her daughter were riding in was rear ended by a tractor trailer. The crash broke Landra Reid's neck, back and nose. Reid's daughter, Lana, has less serious injuries. The trucker was charged with reckless driving.

And it's movie night at the White House. The President and First Lady are getting a first look at the new HBO miniseries "The Pacific." Executive producer Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks attended the screening along with Members of Congress and the military.

It must be nice when new movies just come to you, just come right to your home and you check them out there.

COOPER: Exactly. All right, Stephanie, we'll see you later on in the program.

Still ahead, the "Big 360 Interview": tonight, Sonny & Cher's only child speaks out about his transformation from Chastity to Chaz. What it felt like to live in a body that he didn't feel was really his own.


C. BONO: I lived a lot of my life in my head and wasn't very connected to my body. I didn't take great care of my body and I was never happy when I looked in the mirror.

COOPER: You were never happy when you looked in the mirror?

C. BONO: No. Never.


COOPER: And later, a former gang member, working to change his life for the better. Our series "Homicide in Hollenbeck" continues.


COOPER: This weekend, CNN is taking a look at the issue of gender identity with a documentary named "Her Name was Steven." It's about a person born a man biologically who transitioned into a woman, the gender she always felt she truly was. You haven't heard her story, but there is one transgendered person you probably have heard of, Sonny & Cher's only child.

As a little girl she appeared with her mom and dad on stage, her name then was Chastity. About a year ago Chaz began to live his life as a man. I spoke to Chaz Bono earlier tonight. We're going to have that interview in a moment. But first, Gary Tuchman takes an "Up Close" look at how Chastity became Chaz.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today his name is Chaz Bono, but back then she was Chastity Bono. Not just her parent's sweetheart but an American sweetheart.

TUCHMAN: Sonny & Cher's show was a hit for years. Their daughter's appearances weren't just cute, they were often funny.

SONNY BONO, SINGER: Now you can be a good little angel or you can be a naughty little devil now.

C. BONO: I want to be a naughty.

MIKE FLEEMAN, WEST COAST EDITOR, PEOPLE.COM: When you saw Chastity on the "Sonny & Cher Show", she was the model of cuteness. Here's this tow-headed little blond, chubby cheek girl brought on stage. Mom and dad are singing. You know, the model of sort of the happy showbiz family.

TUCHMAN: But as the years went by Chastity Bono went through personal turmoil. At the age of 18 she told her parents she was a lesbian. Her mom, who has always been popular with gay audiences surprisingly to many took the news very poorly. But Cher ultimately appeared on the cover of a gay and lesbian magazine called "The Advocate" declaring she was the proud mother of a lesbian daughter.

The situation with Sonny Bono was complicated. He became a Republican Congressman from California and in 1998 died in a skiing accident. His daughter was at his funeral.

FLEEMAN: At the time that Sonny died in the ski accident Chaz, then Chastity, was estranged from him. Their differences were political, not personal. It was because of Sonny's stance on certain gay issues.

But ironically Sonny seemed to be much more comfortable with Chastity when she came out seemed to, on a personal level, to be able to be much more accepting of it than Cher was.

TUCHMAN: Over the years she sang and wrote music for a rock band called ceremony. She has also written two books. And then in 2009 she began the process of gender transition.

FLEEMAN: Chaz has given very little specific information about the actual procedure. We know that he's had a mastectomy, we know that he'd been taking the proper hormones, know that he had a hysterectomy for unrelated reasons in the past. Know that he's living completely as a man. Know that he started shaving for the first time.

TUCHMAN: Chaz Bono says he now feels happiness and a sense of peace; his life evolving over the years far more dramatically than most. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: I spoke to Chaz Bono earlier today. Here's part one of the "Big 360 Interview."


COOPER: You've just celebrated your one-year anniversary of becoming Chaz. How has the first year been?

C. BONO: Been really, you know, an amazing journey and something I've wanted to do for so long and I don't know, it's just -- it's kind of hard to articulate because it really has been so profound, kind of, you know, going through the process of having your physical body start to match how you felt your whole life.

COOPER: What's the process that you've gone through, you know, psychologically, medically? It's not something you obviously do overnight. What have you done?

C. BONO: Well, I mean, psychologically I don't, you know, I mean, I did do some therapy around this, but --

COOPER: Because oftentimes a therapist will -- there's a whole process of living as a male before you actually start to make any kind of, you know, hormonal or medical transformation.

C. BONO: You know, I mean, I think that that kind of model is a little bit outdated at this point.


C. BONO: You know, I did need a therapist' note before I had my top surgery, but, you know, look, I mean, in a lot of ways other than using the men's bathroom, you know, I did -- I mean, I felt like a male. I, you know, wore almost exclusively male clothing. And it was, you know, it was just a matter of starting the hormones and then eventually, you know, doing the top surgery.

COOPER: What -- how -- so you start taking hormones. Is that an injection?

C. BONO: There are different ways to take it. You can take it topically; you can take it with injections.

COOPER: And what starts to change? How does that feel? What does it feel like?

C. BONO: What starts to change? You know, it's kind of like -- it's like going through puberty as a 14-year-old. Your voice starts to deepen. You start to grow hair. You start to gain muscle mass. And --

COOPER: So your voice is much changed from what it once was? C. BONO: Oh, yes. Definitely. I mean, my voice sounded like a woman's voice before.

COOPER: And you talked about top surgery. What was that process like?

C. BONO: That process was a fairly easy process. You know, it's a fairly easy surgery. It's like a cosmetic surgery.

They, you know, construct a male chest out of your female chest and it was pretty easy, actually, as far as surgeries go. So, you know, really incredibly gratifying, something that has made a really huge difference in my life.

COOPER: That's really I think interesting for a lot of people. What is the feeling once you have had that surgery, beyond the medical pain that might occur in recovery time? And stuff like that? Is it a feeling of, I'm this much closer to what I should be?

C. BONO: No, it's just a feeling of rightness. I mean, my breasts from the time that they grew never felt like they were supposed to be on my body. So it's just a matter of looking in the mirror now and seeing a body reflected back at me that matches how I've always felt inside.

COOPER: That's got to be extraordinarily -- an extraordinarily sense of, I don't know if dislocation is the right word, but to feel like, you know, these breasts are not part of who I am. These should not be here. Or seeing things in a way that is not the way, you know, other girls see things.

I mean, can you kind of walk us through what is that -- what is that like?

C. BONO: You know, I think it takes a lot of imagination and, you know, what I would say is try to imagine if you woke up tomorrow feeling exactly like you do, but your body was female. How would that feel to you? And that's, you know, basically how I felt, you know, from the time of puberty on.

I lived a lot of my life in my head. I wasn't very connected to my body. I didn't take great care of my body, and I was never happy when I looked in the mirror.

COOPER: You were never happy when you looked in the mirror?

C. BONO: No, never.

COOPER: For, I mean, as long as you can remember?

C. BONO: Yes. I mean, again, I don't remember as a little child, but, yes, from definitely the time that I started to mature and look -- and really look female on, yes.


COOPER: Imagine that. Never being happy with what you see when you look in the mirror.

We're going to have more with Chaz Bono ahead, including some fascinating stories about how he felt as a child and why, at a very young age on "The Sonny & Cher Show," Chastity refused to wear dresses any longer.

We'll also talk about how he's dealing with a new grooming routine.


COOPER: As of last fall I read you were shaving once week. Are you doing it more now?

C. BONO: I'm about up to twice a week now.


COOPER: And later, meet a man struggling to make a different kind of transformation: from hard-core gang member into a new crime- free life. Our series, "Homicide in Hollenbeck," continues after the break.


COOPER: Before the break, we were talking about Chaz Bono. A lot of people probably remember him as a little girl appearing on stage with his famous parents. The child in this video looks like any little girl in the '70s, I guess. But Chaz says even then he felt different.

In part two of our interview, we talk about his childhood and how he felt as an adult before his transformation.


COOPER: When you see -- we're showing some photos of you, I guess, from the last -- last couple of years from your adult life -- when you see those photos, what do you think?

C. BONO: You know, I mean, I don't -- it's not -- it's not like a traumatic or a difficult thing. I mean, this was my journey. And this is, you know, what I had to go through.

But I know that I am, you know, so much happier, more confident. I don't know, you know, I mean, my life just feels right now. And there was always some kind of dis-ease within myself before that just doesn't exist anymore.

COOPER: I just want to play a brief clip back from "The Sonny & Cher Show" which is probably how most, you know, Americans first got to know you. It's certainly how I first, you know, saw you when I was a little kid watching you on TV.


SONNY BONO, SINGER: And here's our own very special guest.

CHER, SINGER/ACTRESS: Tonight and every night.

S. BONO: Our little girl, Chastity. Say good night. Now's the time.

C. BONO: Good night, everybody. God bless you.


COOPER: For -- for a lot of Americans, no doubt, the first time they saw you was back on "The Sonny & Cher Show." I mean, I remember when I was a little kid watching you on that.

When you see those -- that image of yourself and when you see a video of yourself as a child, as you see pictures of yourself as a child, what -- what do you see? I mean, what was -- was it that early on that you already felt a sense of being different?

C. BONO: You know, I don't like -- I mean, I'm watching what you guys have on right now. That young I don't really have a lot of memory of but as I got older and my parents -- my parents, I think, did a season of their show after they divorced. And I was older by then and I realized that.

And I know that there was definitely a time when I requested, you know, no more dresses. I kind of, you know, put a stop to that. And I think I asked them -- see, you can see there. Now this is -- I'm a little older. I'm in overalls. And --

COOPER: That was part of your request? You didn't want to be in dresses?

C. BONO: That was my request. Absolutely. Yes.


C. BONO: So, you know, that I definitely remember.

And, you know, I'm struck probably by the same irony that, you know, it's not missed on me that this kid who, you know, my parents brought on stage is kind of the all-American, you know, family of the '70s, grew up to be a middle-aged man.

COOPER: Obviously, a lot of people, one of the major issues they have is how to deal with their family, how to tell their family. Are you happy -- or how supportive has your family been?

C. BONO: You know, my family's been pretty supportive and, you know, everybody kind of comes to this or comes to different points of understanding at different times.

But I talk to, you know, everybody in my family -- most of the people in my family, I mean, I've been talking about this for years, because this has been something I've been struggling with for years. So it wasn't really a surprise. And then, you know, about six, eight months before I started my transition, you know, I talked to everybody again and let them know that, you know, I'm -- this is going to happen. And I'm at a point where I feel comfortable and ready to do this. And everybody's been pretty good -- pretty good.

COOPER: Silly question probably. But I know as of last fall I read you were shaving once a week. Are you doing it more now?

C. BONO: I'm about up to twice a week now.

COOPER: How do you like shaving? I find it one of the more annoying things one has to deal with.

C. BONO: Yes. I mean, it's -- I only have to do it, like, twice a week, so it's not that bad yet. But I know -- I know what you're saying.


COOPER: We're going to have part three our interview with Chaz Bono tomorrow night.

And a reminder, this weekend on CNN, the story of a person who seemed to have the perfect life until their lifelong struggle with gender identity was exposed. CNN follows her transition from male to female in the documentary, "Her Name was Steven", premiering this weekend Saturday and Sunday night at 8 p.m. Eastern. I hope you watch.

Coming up next on 360: leaving the gang life, a young man willing to step away from the violence. His story as we continue our series, "Homicide in Hollenbeck."


COOPER: You may not realize this, but the Justice Department says that there are about one million gang members in the United States, one million. In Los Angeles, alone, there's some 26,000.

Now, five years ago, as you may know, we went to the heart of it, Hollenbeck, where the street violence fueled the killings and a code of silence left many murders unsolved.

Well, we returned to Hollenbeck recently to see what has changed and what's not. Gang homicides are down, but that code of silence and the pressure to join gangs and stay in them remains.

Tonight: a story of one man's determination to try to leave the gang life behind.


COOPER (voice-over): Enrique "Kiki" Frutus (ph) is about to take the biggest step away from the only lifestyle he's known.

When we first met Kiki, he was the hardest of the hardcore.

ENRIQUE FRUTUS, FORMER GANG MEMBER: I walk around with a tattoo on my head.

COOPER: His bragging, his brash certainty about life in a gang.

FRUTUS: Everybody likes to shoot.

COOPER: He was deep in it. Kiki made a powerful impression.

FRUTUS: I'll be the type, like, just beat them up first. And then, like, you know, if he beats me up then shoot him. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) like that.

COOPER: Kiki was 14 when he joined White Fence, one of Hollenbeck's 34 gangs. His initiation, he says, was brutal. He was jumped in, beaten up by fellow White Fence gang members. It's a common test of loyalty and gives new members a taste of what gang life is all about.

FRUTUS: I mean, for me, I like pain so, you know, you hit me, damn. I like it. I get -- it's like a rush, adrenaline rush for me. That should tell you everything.

COOPER: For Kiki, there was always a reason to fight.

FRUTUS: Another gang crosses out slats.

COOPER: Even the smallest slight -- White Fence graffiti crossed out -- could lead to violence.

FRUTUS: This means war.

COOPER: Five years ago police said there were some 700 White Fence gang members and associates. Kiki liked to claim they were guardians of the neighborhood.

FRUTUS: We don't let nobody come in our neighborhood and be messing with the people's cars, breaking in their houses.

The little White Fence, you see it right there?

I mean, we see somebody trying to do that, we're going to get them.

COOPER: The gangs here are not guardians of the neighborhood. They typically live off drug dealing, assaults and robbery.

FRUTUS: Guns, drugs, assault. Attempted murder. Gang banging. Everything.

COOPER (on camera): Some people would say it's wrong to be in a gang. It's wrong to sell drugs, gang bang, whatever.

FRUTUS: Well, selling drug is, like, I mean, if we don't do it, someone else is going to do it. COOPER (voice-over): Kiki had already been shot three times.

FRUTUS: Right there at 10 in the morning, drive-by. You know, when you get shot you're like, damn, people are just screaming. Are you going to be all right? I'm like, "Damn. Damn, I'm in the hospital. I got shot in my arm."

COOPER: Despite being shot, for Kiki the temptations of gang life were all around.

(on camera): What do you think it was that drew you to it in the first place?

(voice-over): Joining White Fence was no big deal for Kiki.

FRUTUS: My family are all from gangs.

COOPER: He says many of his relatives ran with a gang from another part of Hollenbeck. In the hard world and twisted logic of Hollenbeck, his gang filled all his needs: friends, families, and fights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got my last name on my back.

COOPER: Older gang member Veterano (ph) schooled Kiki in the odd logic of gang morality and the rules of engagement. Drive-by shootings were OK, as long as they didn't kill innocent kids.

FRUTUS: That's a no-no. I mean, damn, they don't know right from wrong. Us who are holding the gun do.

COOPER: And if a home boy was killed, gang members should take the law into their own hands.

FRUTUS: The cops, they got so many murders on their hand. I mean, I don't know, we'd rather take our own actions.

COOPER (on camera): That was five years ago. Today Kiki is 33, and he just got out of prison. He was doing time on a parole violation. He says that, after 20 years in gang life, he wants out. And he's finding that getting out is harder than it was getting in.

FRUTUS: I feel good, trying to get my life back together. You know? Got to take it a day at a time, I guess, first, making the first step.


COOPER (voice-over): Many of Kiki's friends are still in prison or dead. He's trying to start over, literally trying to erase the stains of years with a gang. The tattoos that once told Kiki's gangster story are slowly fading. The pain of removing them is at times unbearable.

FRUTUS: It's like when you drop hot oil on your skin. That's exactly how it feels. COOPER: Kiki wrote Father Greg Boyle from prison and asked for help. Father Boyle runs Homeboy Industries, the largest intervention and employment agency for gang members in Los Angeles. He's known Kiki for two decades.

(on camera): You think Kiki has woken up to the reality of gang life?

FATHER GREG BOYLE, HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES: I would say in terms of the gang issue, yes. You know, and everybody has that moment where they say, "I'm tired of being tired." And I think that's pretty much where he's been.

COOPER (voice-over): In Hollenbeck, surviving beyond the age of 30 is already a remarkable statistic for hard-core gang members like Kiki.

(on camera): Are you hopeful?

BOYLE: Yes. Yes. I mean, again, I think he's got the right attitude, and maybe sometimes people have to hit bottom. You know, he's struggling still, but I don't think he's struggling with -- with the gang part.

But not everybody who walks through the door is ready, and he hasn't always been ready. But I would say that he is now. That's why I'm going to hire him.

COOPER (voice-over): So Kiki will soon have a job with Homeboy Industries. Father Greg Boyle is giving him a chance, a chance for a new life in Hollenbeck.


COOPER: Let's hope he makes it. Part five of our series continues tomorrow night, "Homicide in Hollenbeck."

Coming up next, a school cancels prom because of one student who -- because of one student and who she wants to bring as her date. The question is, did the school go too far? We'll let you decide, ahead.


COOPER: All right. Let's get the latest on some of the other stories we're following. Stephanie Elam has a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the ACLU is suing a Mississippi school to force them to host a prom it canceled after a lesbian student asked to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo. The suit is on behalf of Constance McMillen (ph) who reluctantly returned to school today. According to the Associated Press, one classmate told her, quote, "Thanks for ruining my senior year."

President Obama is detailing his plan to double U.S. exports over the next five years. The plan includes creating a mini cabinet of officials to focus on exports and seeking more financing to support trade efforts. The president says doubling exports will create two million American jobs.

And a surprise for a Sydney, Australia zoo, the staff thought a baby elephant died during a record nine days of labor.


ELAM: But to their delight, the calf survived, and they nicknamed him Mr. Shuffles.

COOPER: What a Shayna Punim -- what a Shayna Punim. Look at that face.

ELAM: I just think it's kind of interesting, because last night we had a woman who didn't know she was pregnant, gave birth at home, cut the umbilical cord. And then tonight you have nine days of labor. I think --

COOPER: Wait. A woman gave birth to an elephant? What.

ELAM: No. A regular little boy -- he's health. Everything's good.

COOPER: I got confused. All right.

Very cute elephant.

ELAM: Yes.

COOPER: I feel the word Shayna Punim isn't -- the phrase Shayna Punim isn't used enough on newscasts.

Hey that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now. I'll see you tomorrow night.