Chaz Bono was honored with two prizes at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 21, but his biggest surprise apparently came from his mother Cher. The 65-year-old singer gave a touching speech about her transgender son when she took the stage after congresswoman Mary Bono Mack to present him with Stephen F. Kolzak Award.
In a statement he released afterward to PEOPLE, 43-year-old Chaz said, "It was an amazing night to have my mother and stepmother present me with the award." He added, "From a group I worked for 15 years ago; for 'Becoming Chaz' to be honored as best documentary; and to be so enthusiastically received by my community. I was truly touched on so many levels."
Cher herself gushed about Chaz's reaction on her Twitter. On Sunday, April 22, the former wife of Sonny Bono tweeted, "So much fun at Glaad awards!I I really surprised Chaz!" She dished on in the same tweet, "HE was adorable,Said wow mom i was so surprised i forgot what i was going 2say! FRO."
At the awards event, Cher took the stage inside the ballroom at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles and admitted, "I don't have anything prepared - I'm so nervous because my pronouns for my child jump all over the f**king place." On a more serious note, she praised Chaz as saying that he "has the most courage of almost anyone I know."
"The other day I was having a big meltdown and Chaz said, 'Are you going to come to the [GLAAD Media Awards],' " she recalled, "and I went 'Chaz, you know, I'm not doing well right now' and... he texted me and said 'I turned into a very understanding, smart man and you can call on me.' And it made me feel so good, like I could lean on someone. It touched my heart."
Before Cher delivered her speech, Chaz's stepmother Mary also talked about the former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant. She said that Chaz "meant the world" to his dad, Sonny, before gushing that the transgender advocate, who was born as Chastity Sun Bono, "had the courage to follow his heart and his convictions and that's what true leaders do."