Bruce Jenner: “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”
After months of fevered speculation, Bruce Jenner has confirmed that she identifies as a woman.
The 65-year-old former Olympic athlete and reality TV star made the announcement in an emotional television interview with journalist Diane Sawyer, broadcast on Friday in the US.
“I’m me. I’m a person. This is who I am. I’m not stuck in anybody’s body,” a teary-eyed Jenner said, revealing that she had grappled with her gender identity since childhood.
“It’s just who I am as a human being. My brain is much more female than male. For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”
She also revealed that the strain of hiding her true identity had led her to contemplate suicide. “Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie,” said Jenner.
“I was not genetically born that way, and so now I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff so in a lot of ways we’re different but we still identify as female. And that’s very hard for Bruce Jenner to say,” she explained.
Jenner chose not to reveal her female name at this stage but confirmed that she has chosen one.
The show drew huge ratings in the US and was watched by almost 17 million people. It was the highest rated episode of the 20/20 news magazine programme in 15 years and became the number one trending topic on Twitter.
While the hype and public spectacle of Jenner’s coming out as transgender has been criticised by some, many see her actions as ultimately opening up awareness and discussion on gender issues.
Jenner’s family members, who reportedly watched the interview together, were overwhelming supportive on social media. Wife Kris Jenner, from whom she is separated, tweeted: “Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero.”
Stepdaughter Kim Kardashian West slammed rumours that Jenner’s coming out had split the family as “ridiculous”, and tweeted: “Love is the courage to live the truest, best version of yourself. Bruce is love. I love you Bruce. #ProudDaughter… Your honesty has opened the doors for others to be courageous and live an authentic life!”
Khloe Kardashian commented, “I’m soooo proud of you! Dads really are heros,” with Kourtney Kardashian adding, “Couldn’t be a more proud daughter. With courage and bravery, let’s change the world. I am honored to stand by Bruce’s side and support him.”
Kim Kardashian West tweeted this image after the interview, expressing her love for Jenner
Daughter Kendall Jenner said, “So very proud of you, my hero”, while Kylie Jenner admitted that “this has been very hard for me.” She nevertheless exclaimed, “I’m so proud of you, Dad. You are so brave. My beautiful Hero.”
Jenner’s male children, Burt, Casey, Brandon, Brody, offered their support and appeared in the 20/20 programme. Stepson Rob Kardashian said that, “You have always been a role model to me and now more than ever, I look up to you.”
A host of celebrities, from Lady Gaga to Oprah Winfrey to Sam Smith, also praised Jenner’s bravery in choosing to live an authentic life.
Kim Kardashian West’s ex husband Kris Humphries, however, was blasted after he tweeted after the interview, “Man, I’m glad I got out when I did.” He later apologised for the “vague” tweet, saying that he “always will support Bruce.”
Actress Kirstie Alley was also forced to explain a tweet in which she wrote, “Trying to find a place for myself midst a world that has mistaken bravery for insanity…Mandela was brave…the rest of this shit is absurd.” Alley responded to outraged followers by insisting that the tweet had nothing to do with Jenner and that she hadn’t even seen the interview.
Jenner’s journey of settling into life as a woman will be further documented in an eight-part reality series starting in July. It will “explore what Bruce’s transition means for the people in his life and how those relationships are affected, while offering a better understanding of many of life’s challenges.”
ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos