With last week's interview, Bruce Jenner has brought transgender issues into the spotlight and got the world talking
You’d have to be living under a rock to have missed the big news from Bruce Jenner last week. The Olympian and reality TV star gave an interview on American television and, for the first time, directly addressed the much-discussed rumours that he is transgender. ‘For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,’ he confirmed, taking his long hair out of a ponytail. (A statement from E! informed journalists that ‘at this time, Bruce Jenner is choosing to not live publicly in the media as a woman and will be referred to as Bruce Jenner and with male pronouns.’)
Jenner went on to explain that his brain has always been much more female than male, and that he doesn’t want to live a lie any more. ‘[As an Olympic athlete] they see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life – it is part of me. That female side is part of me. That’s who I am.’
He told interviewer Diane Sawyer that he took oestrogen for five years in the 1980s before marrying Kris Kardashian, and is now taking the female hormones again. ‘I hope I’m going to be OK,’ he concluded. ‘I feel that I’m going to be OK. 2015 is going to be quite a ride.’
The news has been on the horizon for a while, but to hear it confirmed and explained has been an eye-opener for many. This morning, Kim Kardashian appeared on The Today Show to explain the family’s reactions to the news.
‘I think there is still an adjustment, and there is family therapy, and we’re really close,’ she said. ‘Is it a hard adjustment? Yes. It’s an adjustment on how to deal with it, and it’s a daily process. Even just the discussion – we have been talking to people from the GLAAD organisation on “What do we call him? Do we say him or her, and how do we be respectful?” … Everything takes time. Bruce wants us to feel as comfortable as possible and take everything at our own pace, and we love him for that and we respect him for that … He’s done a really good job at walking us through it.’
Last week, Jenner told ABC that Kanye West had helped Kim come to terms with the news. ‘They were talking about it, and [Kanye] says to Kim, “Look. 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.” … And since then, Kimberly has been by far the most accepting and the easiest to talk to about it.’
Jenner’s revelations have triggered an outpouring of support from friends, family and admirers. His daughter Kendall took to Twitter to simply say, ‘So very proud of you, my hero’, while Kris Jenner tweeted:
Laverne Cox, the Orange Is The New Black star who is perhaps the most high-profile transgender woman, said she’d spoken to Jenner before he went public with the news. She told MSNBC, ‘I think a lot of people tuned in expecting to see a spectacle, and they saw a profoundly nuanced, complicated, beautiful human being… I had spoken to Bruce several months back, and the same person who I spoke to on the phone, who really just loves their children so much and wants their family to be happy, was the person I saw on television last night.’
Further afield, celebrities also pledged their support to Jenner online.