BY Jeremy Kinser
May 11 2011 12:00 PM ET
With so much media attention focused on him, Bono has been forced to reflect on not just the physical changes but the emotional and temperamental changes as well, both of which are due to the surge of testosterone now coursing through him. “I had to look at the kind of man I wanted to be,” Bono says. “I had to learn how to behave as a man, what kind of behavior was cool, and what kind of behavior was me being a jerk.”
This trial-and-error aspect of Bono’s transformation is vividly depicted as the documentary cameras capture a trivial argument between Bono and Elia while they prepare food for a party. Bono’s hormonal changes have made him edgy and short-tempered, and he snaps at his girlfriend. “The arguments in the film were a combination of a lot of stuff going on in our lives that was all happening at once,” he says. “I’m not going to say that Jenny and I never fight, but you see the kookiness of the woman I share my life with.”
That woman is Jennifer Elia, a 35-year-old private tutor. She’s an attractive, free-spirited brunet, whom Bono describes as “a modern-day Lucille Ball.” Elia says that if forced to label her sexual orientation, she’s bisexual. Elia met Bono on a blind date in 2005, and though both say it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, she remembers being instantly drawn to Bono’s toothy smile. “We hit it off on more of a spiritual level,” Elia recalls. “We just got each other pretty quickly.”
Elia never suspected that Bono was transgender. “I just thought he was a very masculine woman,” she recalls. “Butch.” It was an ill-meaning ex-girlfriend of Bono’s who informed Elia that her lover was planning to transition. When Elia asked if it was true, Bono confessed. “He told me he wanted me to kill him before letting him grow old as a woman,” Elia remembers. “I knew in the back of my mind that he’d have to transition or he wouldn’t be able to live happily.”
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