Image: ABC News
Last night, in one of the most anticipated interviews of the year, Bruce Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer to confirm what so many suspected: He is transitioning genders. The Olympian and reality TV dad was emotional and tearful from the start, saying that he was always confused with his gender identity. Even as a young boy, even as a decathlete, Jenner knew he had the “soul of a female,” and for years has been struggling to live as a man in the spotlight.
“For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,” he admitted, after taking his ponytail out at the start of the interview. “That female side is part of me, who I am.” Through the interview, Jenner requested that we still use male pronouns and explained that he waited so long to go public with his true identity – 65 years – because he simply couldn’t take holding the secret in anymore. “I can’t pull the curtain any longer. I built a nice life. Bruce lives a lie, she is not a lie. I can’t do it anymore.” He said he didn’t want to pass away without having at least tried to explore the female side of him.
A lot about Bruce’s secret life was revealed. Through his three marriages, each of his wives knew he struggled with this issue, and Jenner had actually begun transitioning for five years, as far back as the 80s. He took hormones and went through procedures to get rid of his beard and his hairy chest. His changing appearance was not just vain plastic surgery – he was actually trying to feminize his face. But he stopped transitioning because he didn’t want it to negatively affect his children.
Jenner had been open about his issues with his wives. His secret started to come to light, he said when Kim Kardashian caught him in a dress. Jenner tried to hide his true self while on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but the irony of the situation – he, on this reality show of a family famous for simply being famous – was not lost on him. “We’ve done 425 episodes over almost eight years, and the entire run, I kept thinking to myself, oh my God, the one real true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about,” he said. “The one thing that could make a difference to people’s lives was right here in my soul and I could not tell that story.”
Jenner says that through this whole thing, it was actually Kim who has been the most supportive. Surprisingly, it was the sage words of her husband Kanye West made her turn a corner with the issue. He told her, “I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am. I can have the most beautiful little daughter in the world, and I have that. But I’m nothing if I can’t be me. If I can’t be true to myself, they don’t mean anything.”
Ironically, Khloe, the most outgoing and outspoken of the clan, has had the hardest time dealing with the news about Jenner, but Bruce says it’s because she has had so much loss in her life, with the death of her father and the end of her marriage to Lamar Odom.
While Jenner did confirm he is transitioning to a woman, he did not tell us what his new name would be when he officially becomes her. He discussed the possibility of sexual reassignment surgery, which he said would be “down the line.”
Jenner received words of support from members of his family, tweeting that his bravery has made him more than ever a hero in their eyes.
Bruce Jenner hopes that his going public will help opens minds and get people to understand more about transpeople. This isn’t the last we will hear of his story. Bruce has signed on with E! for a docu-series that “gives viewers an inside look at the Olympic athlete embracing life as a transgender woman.” The series consists of 8 one-hour episodes and is expected to air starting July 26.
This interview was a farewell of sorts to the Bruce Jenner we all knew. But he says though he might emerge as a woman, he is still deep down the same person. “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am. I’m not saying goodbye to me.”
If you missed the interview (in which case, you should see the entire thing), you can watch it in the video below.
[via ABC News]