Cher's transgender son Chaz Bono has spoken out to troubled youngsters struggling with their sexuality, assuring them "life gets better" with age and self-acceptance.
Troubled teenagers have hit headlines across America in recent weeks following a spate of suicides among gay youths who have been tormented by classmates.
But Bono, who has completed gender reassignment surgery to become a man, wants anyone who is considering killing themselves to realise they won't always feel ostracised for their sexuality.
He says, "Growing up is really hard. When you're an LGBT youth, it's even more difficult. You can feel like you're the only person like you in the world, or you can be dealing with bullying in school or judgment from your family. It's really easy to get in a mind frame of, you know, life is never gonna get better, this is what it's gonna be like and I'm always gonna feel like an outsider.
"I just want to let you know that it gets better. When you grow up, you realise that you're not alone and that there are lots and lots of people, communities of people just like you who are willing to embrace you and support you and love you. You need to hang around and wait for that magic to happen because life is really great. Even when you're different, life is really a wonderful thing.
"If I had let any of the fear that I had at different points throughout my life in high school... if I had done something drastic and missed out on that, I would have been missing out on the greatest life and the best times of my life. So don't let anybody tell you there's something wrong with you if you're different. There's not. Hang in there and remember, it does get better."
Bono was born to the pop superstar as baby girl Chastity Sun Bono, but the 41 year old began hormone therapy last year (09) and underwent gender transition six months later.