Bruce Comes Out As Transgender

by Kate Ward

Anyone who read a tabloid in the past few months anticipated what Keeping Up With the Kardashians star Bruce Jenner would say in a Diane Sawyer interview Friday night. But it didn't make it any less inspiring to see the Olympic athlete sit in front of news cameras and officially come out as transgender. Because when Jenner spoke to Sawyer and told her that "for all intents and purposes, I am a woman," it was a victory for those who have watched transgender individuals be forced into silence, shamed for the way they were born.

Even though Jenner reached for the tissues during the course of the interview, it was difficult for viewers not to do so, watching Jenner embrace their identity. As Jenner began the interview:

I've been thinking about this day forever. And what I should do with my life, how do I tell my story, how I tell people what I've been through. And that day is today. I need the tissues. It's gonna be kinda tough, but today is the day. Be honest with myself. Obviously, I've been honest with my family, everybody involved. It's been really tough. But here I am. I'm still here. That's the good news.

Jenner is still here, despite the fact that he has been the object of ridicule for many late night hosts, comedians, and members of the media. Which makes it even more impressive that Jenner is able to maintain a sense of humor throughout. As Jenner said:

Okay, where do we start? One thing that's so important in this whole process is we have to keep our sense of humor about this, okay? It's honestly, it's really pretty funny. Me, of all people, okay? Bruce Jenner, you know, has to deal with these issues. Really running away from all this stuff.

But what is "this stuff"? Sawyer asked outright:

[Sawyer: So Bruce Jenner is...] Bruce Jenner is... I would say I've always been very confused with my gender identity since I was this big. I tried to explain it, because I've had all my kids sitting in that chair. And I've tried to explain it to them this way. God's looking down, making little Bruce, okay? He's looking down, he says, "Okay, what are we going to do with this one?" Make him a smart kid, very determined, and he gave me all of these wonderful qualities. And at the end, when he's just finishing, he goes, "Wait a second, we gotta to give him something. Everybody has stuff in their life that they have to deal with you know? What are we gonna give him?" God looks down and chuckles a little bit and goes, "Hey, let's give him the soul of a female and let's see how he deals with that." You know? So here I am stuck. And I hate the word, girl stuck in a guy's body, I hate that terminology.

Sawyer inquires, "Why?"

I'm me. I'm a person and this is who I am. I'm not stuck in anybody's body. It's just who I am as a human being. 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.

Indeed — Jenner's soul had been coping with being misgendered for some time.

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. Should I take my ponytail out? Yeah, why not? We're talking about all this stuff. Yeah, let's take the damn ponytail out. [Sawyer: Are you a woman?] Um, yes. For all intents and purposes, I am a woman. People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything I do in life, it is part of me. That female side is part of me. It's who I am. I was not genetically born that way. And as of now, 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. Cuz why? I don't want to disappoint people.

Based on this interview, though, Jenner has hardly disappointed anyone watching — be it Jenner's fanbase, or any casual viewer. It's hard to feel prouder to keep up with Bruce.

Editor's Note: Per Jenner's stated preference, Bustle will continue referring to Jenner using he/his pronouns for the time being. We will follow his lead and make any changes to this policy as needed in the future.