Transgender issues are at the forefront of the conversation surrounding civil rights and equality lately. The focus used to be on gay and lesbian people and our fight for marriage equality. Now that this is an issue that has all but been decided, with a majority of U.S. states already allowing same-sex marriages, this is pretty much over and done with. However, something that is far from over and done with, is the fight for basic rights and dignity for transgender people.
Within the LGBTQ+ community, it is an uncomfortable but well-acknowledged truth that we have left our transgender brothers and sisters behind in some pretty big ways in our march forward. While we all have a very long way to go towards both social and legal acceptance, certainly trans people have a whole lot further to go than their cisgender LGB counterparts. However, one of the easiest ways for marginalized minorities to move toward acceptance in wider society is for famous and/or influential people to assert that they are one of us. Bravely, in an interview with Diane Sawyer, one such person has done that tonight: Bruce Jenner.
Bruce Jenner is a former Olympic champion, and currently famous for his role as the eccentric step-father on the reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Well, Jenner is now no longer the Kardashians’ stepfather, per an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. She is their stepmother.
(Note: Henceforth, I will be using female pronouns for Bruce Jenner, out of respect for her identity.)
The Kardashians are often not taken seriously, and are more often than not the subject of ridicule. However, there is no denying that they are most definitely influential people, and Bruce’s coming out as a transgender woman is of tremendous importance when it comes to advancing this cause and putting a familiar face on the movement for transgender equality. Jenner is also doing something extraordinary by coming out at age 65: Letting the world know that it is never too late to be who you really are. When speaking with Sawyer, Jenner says of her personal identity:
“I’m me. … I’m a person. I’m not stuck in anybody’s body.”
That is definitely good to know. The first step to self-awareness is often being comfortable in one’s own skin. After that, Jenner pulls her ponytail down, and spoke the words many people have been waiting to hear for months:
“Yes for all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.”
Jenner’s identity has been the subject of much speculation recently, amid her ever-changing and more feminine appearance. However, it is so nice to have her finally come out. A bit later, she says:
“My brain is much more female than it is male,” adding that she has all the ‘male parts.’
I, for one, appreciate Jenner’s candor and honesty, and wish her all the best. Hopefully, people will appreciate what she had to say in the interview, and respect her privacy during what much be a very difficult time to have to go through in such a public fashion.
Thank you, Ms. Jenner, for being so open and forthcoming, when you owed no one any explanations about yourself, your appearance, or your life. All the best to you.
Here are a few snippets of the ABC exclusive with Diane Sawyer:
Note: As of the writing of this article, Bruce Jenner had not requested what pronouns to use, and, per protocol of a transgender person’s coming out, I referred to him as “she” out of respect for his gender identity. However, he has now said that he will use male pronouns, for now.
H/T: ABC | Featured Image via Video Screenshot from ABC