Four for You Bruce Jenner, You Go Bruce Jenner
In the new hotly anticipated 20/20 interview, Bruce Jenner has revealed himself as a woman, but preferring to keep his name and him/her pronouns. In his own instantly famous words, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman. I have the soul of a female.” Not only is this very exciting news, it’s also a great opportunity for the rest of the world to understand what it means to be transgender and for people to start taking them more seriously as people, and learn more about gender identity issues.
Now some people might be confused about the former Olympian athlete identifying as a woman, but wishing to continue with the pronouns he was given at birth. Well, gender identity is a very large and complex issue, and yes it is a little confusing when you first begin to learn about it, but that’s what the nation’s doing right now. We’re gradually starting to learn about what it really means to be a man, a woman, or neither. Now that’s not to say that he’ll always be using the he/him pronouns, and he may very well change what he wants to be referred as over time, but being trans is especially tricky because no one ever teaches people about it, so trying to identify those weird identity issues that the trans community goes through is a complicated one, and it could take anywhere from months to years to fully figure out who they are. But as mentioned before, this is an excellent chance to shine a light on a topic that is far too seldom discussed.
GLAAD has also spoken up about the issue in a very generous way, “Every transgender person’s journey is unique, and by choosing to share this story, Bruce Jenner adds another layer to America’s understanding of what it means to be transgender,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Programs, Transgender Media. “We hope that after hearing Jenner’s story, people will want to learn more about the issues and challenges facing their transgender friends, co-workers, and family members. Stories like these will help create a world in which everyone can express their gender identity without fear of discrimination and violence.”
But as great as this all is, it’s definitely been forced upon Jenner since his stepdaughter Kim Kardashian outed him earlier this year and was rude enough to not apologize for it either. She thinks she was “helping” him (whatever that means) and to add insult to injury she also said it was to help boost ratings, which is horrible and exploitative enough as it is. But even when you’re not part of an ultra famous family constantly in the spotlight, many people are crass enough to out someone they know in the LGBTQ community, who like Kim, think it’s a good thing to push someone out of the closet like that. Just to clarify, that’s unacceptable behavior regardless of how good your intentions are. You have to remember that it’s their personal lives and they should have the liberty of coming out on their own terms. I’d be a lot more proud of Bruce Jenner if he came out whenever he felt comfortable enough to do it on his own and not being pushed into doing it (although I’m still proud of him and his bravery).
Coming out is a really tricky ordeal, and it can have really serious consequences whether you realize it or not. I was outed in high school by someone I trusted and I wasn’t ready for something like that yet (and I’m sure Jenner wasn’t either), and the pressure of coming forward with something that personal to a large group of people was intense and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. So please, if a friend tells you they’re gay, lesbian, trans, or any other part of the spectrum, please respect that person, and don’t put them in that situation. And lastly, if you’re not comfortable talking about your gender identity/sexuality with anyone yet, no matter how close you are to someone, there’s absolutely no pressure to come out to anyone. It’s your business and no one else’s, and the best thing you can do is come out on when you’re ready.
UPDATE: Diane Sawyer has said that the interview was the last time the star will do as “Bruce,” and after will emerge as the person Jenner calls “her.” The he/him pronouns were for the sake of the interview, and he will fully identify as a woman hereafter.