Ending months of speculations, Bruce Jenner sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview to reveal a secret that has caused him turmoil for decades. The Olympic gold medallist announced he identified as a woman and was making the transition from a male to female.
During the interview, ABC indicated the preference to using male pronouns, as Jenner referred himself to ‘Bruce’ and ‘her’.
The interview which aired on Friday (April 24) in a special two-hour edition, Jenner told the interviewer: “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.
“People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life — it is part of me. That female side is part of me. That’s who I am.”
Jenner said he has the “soul of a female” telling Sawyer “my brain is much more female than it is male,” even though “as of now I have all the male parts. I’ve been thinking about this day forever.”
Jenner expressed his optimism that “what I’m doing is going to do some good” and spoke about becoming involved in transgender activism.
Speaking of himself in the third person, Jenner told Sawyer: “Bruce Jenner has always been confused with my gender identity. I’m me. … I’m a person. I’m not stuck in anybody’s body.”
Referring to his sexuality, the 65-year-old cleared the topic saying: “I’ve never been with a guy. There’s two different things here. Sexuality is who you are personally attracted to. …. But gender identity is who you are in your soul.”
Jenner said he initially started to transition in the 1980s with the use of female hormones. “I did it almost five years.”
Jenner also contemplated suicide at one point. Telling Sawyer, after being followed by paparazzi to a doctor’s appointment where he was receiving a tracheal shave — a procedure that reduces the size of the Adam’s Apple — he considered killing himself.
“I thought wouldn’t the easiest thing right now … just go in the room, get a gun, boom. Pain’s over, it’s done, go to a better place.” However, he reconsidered, saying he wanted to know how where his story would go.
Jenner spoke of his internal struggle with being transgender, saying he has fought with since childhood.
“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. 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.”
During the Eisenhower era – in the late 1950’s -, Jenner said he was about 8 or 9 years old when he tried something – put on a dress from his mother’s or sisters’ closet.
“I marked the closet so when I put it back I could put it all back, everything back in the exact same spot so I wouldn’t get caught. And, at the time, I didn’t know why I was doing it besides it just made me feel good.”
Cross dressing also became a part of Jenner adult life, describing road trips during his time as a motivational speaker. The ambiguity of a hotel room provided an ideal venue.
“I’d literally go up into the hotel room, change [into women’s] clothes, and walk around,” Jenner said.
For decades, Jenner’s ex-wives and sister have known the secret about his gender identity struggle. Recently Jenner told his mother and his 10 children. Jenner has six biological children: Burt, Cassandra, Brandon, Brody, Kendall and Kylie and four step children: Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Rob Kardashian.
Speaking of their reaction towards his secret, Jenner said: “They all cried. Mainly because they didn’t want anybody to hurt dad. They are very protective of me.” He has told his children they can still call him ‘dad’.
Jenner hasn’t shared the female name he has chosen for himself, but that the only decision he has been made, is that it won’t start with ‘K’. “She’s definitely a Jenner,” he said jokingly.
Jenner also reflected on appearing in more than 400 episodes of Keeping Up With The Kardashians over almost eight years. He said his secret ate away at him all the time.
“The one real true story in the family was the one I was hiding, and nobody knew about it,” he said. “The one thing that could really make a difference in people’s lives was right here in my soul, and I could not tell that story.”
Bruce Jenner joins transgender celebrities like actress Laverne Cox; Lana Wachowski, who directed the “Matrix” films; and Chaz Bono, Sonny and Cher’s son.
Diane Sawyer received high praise for conducting the interview with an educational tone and respect towards the transgender community.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said after the interview aired: “This is what responsible reporting on transgender lives looks like thorough while kind, deep yet patient.” .