Callum offers a personal view of the story
After many years of speculation and ridicule about his gender identity, Bruce Jenner, an American Olympic hero (he won gold in the decathlon, 1976 Montreal Olympics), and once the epitome of masculinity, has confirmed he is transgender and ready to live the rest of his life as a woman.
In an incredibly honest and heart-warming interview with Diane Sawyer (an American TV journalist), Bruce explained why now, at 65 years old, it was time to embrace the part of his soul he names “her”. An emotional Bruce tells Diane that he has been waiting a lifetime for this moment and releases his ponytail, letting his shoulder-length hair fall in a symbolic gesture of femininity. When asked about his reality TV involvement and the ‘shameless baring of everything’ nature of Keeping up with the Kardashians (the show he and his family star in) he says that if the show has given him a platform to do some good and really change the world then he’s all for that.
In his early years a young Bruce would dress in his mother’s clothes in secret, marking where he had taken each item to replace it so he would never be caught; a secret part of his life that he continued through his adult life and three marriages. He recalls that at that time, around eight-years-old, he didn’t really know why he was doing it – just that it made him feel good. Experts in the area of transgender adolescents say that most children experimentally jump in and out of their anatomically determined genders regularly, cross-dressing or simply pretending to be the opposite sex. It is a rare few in the population, an estimated 700,000 people in the states, who identify as the opposite gender beyond pubescence. This is an area of LGBT society that has only recently been getting true representation in the media, a pivotal moment in history where the population of the western world are being educated for the acceptance of every walk of life. In the words of Bruce, “Have an open mind and an open heart.”
The importance of Bruce’s interview lays with the global audience he has reached (He is the pronoun Bruce is happy to have used when talking about his transformation, until she emerges). From the older generation of sports enthusiasts who idolise him, to his large reality TV following today, when he says he believes he can change the world, so do I.
Bruce’s honesty is endearing and he speaks with such emotional clarity that something magical happens as he tells his story, it’s as if you can see the weight of his lifetime, of hiding in depression and confusion, lift from his shoulders – it felt cathartic for both me as the viewer and for Bruce telling his story - I could feel my own mind opening and that understanding subsequently brought tears to my eyes.
The interview has helped the transgender community hit the mainstream media in the most positive way. The subjective understanding he has of his family, friends and fans is inspiring and I can only hope that everyone who sees it will follow his story and support the trans community.
See highlights from the TV interview here
Callum, We Are Family sales team