Jenner’s courage deserves applause


Infographic by John Davidson | The Chart

LGBT Population in the United States

The name Bruce Jenner has meant many things to many different people throughout the past 40 years. My grandparents and parents generations remember Jenner as the 1976 gold-medal-winning Olympic decathlete. His success at those Montreal games brought him worldwide fame and fortune. He was on the cover of magazines, newspapers, and Wheaties boxes. He appeared in countless TV shows and even married actress Linda Thompson. Women around the world wanted to be with him while men wanted to be him.

Younger generations have come to know Jenner as the husband and father on the hit reality TV series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Alongside ex-wife, Kris Jenner, stepchildren Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob (from Kris’ marriage to attorney Robert Kardashian), and daughters Kylie and Kendall, Jenner again rose to the height of American pop culture. Despite his seemingly wonderful life, Jenner was suffering on the inside.

During last week’s 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner shared that he is a Trans woman and has dealt with gender dysphoria since he was young. He admitted to experimenting with cross-dressing dating back to his childhood. In the aftermath of his Olympic success, he began a physical transition with hormone replacement therapy but stopped after meeting Kris Kardashian in the early 1990s.

Jenner’s announcement came as a shock to some but wasn’t as big of a surprise to others, media reports have been surfacing about his transition as far back as the late 80’s. While Jenner has undergone some cosmetic surgery as part of his transition, he has not ruled out gender reassignment surgery but currently has no plans. He feels life as a woman is primarily a matter of mental state and lifestyle.

“I hate the term girl stuck in a guy’s body, I’m me, I’m a person, and this is who I am as a human being,” said Jenner. “My brain is much more female than it is male; it’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is. I look at it this way, Bruce, always telling a lie, he’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is, and I can’t do that any longer.”

We should all stand-up and applaud Jenner’s decision to be who he is. His identity has long been the butt of many jokes from late night comedians who fail to recognize his bravery. After quietly suffering in agony for most of his life, Jenner has finally made a decision to live her life being true to who she is.

Tran’s women and men have long suffered torment, shame, ridicule, and homelessness. They have been the target of violent attacks and discrimination. A staggering 41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide. An estimated 700,000 Trans Americans are currently living among us, and if even one of them draws inspiration or hope from Jenner’s announcement, she has made a difference. Let’s hope that number is a lot higher. I hope that her statement will open up the eyes of all Americans. Transgender people are people just like you and me, and it’s time we recognize that.