On Friday night, the audience sat enraptured as Bruce Jenner revealed he identified as a female during a tell-all interview with Diane Sawyer. As Jenner explained the struggle that he had lived through as a child and into adulthood while struggling to understand and accept his gender identity, the 20/20 interview took the time to talk to his older sister, Pam Mettler. She was one of the first people that Jenner opened up to about what he referred to as "his issues," and her understanding and acceptance came at a time when Jenner needed it most.
According to Mettler, it was a difficult thing for her to deal with — not because of any concern that she had for herself or for their family, but out of concern she had for him and his future. "He told me that he had always felt that he should have been a girl. I said ‘what?’ I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand really what he was saying. And then he told me ‘I used to dress up in your clothes when no one was around.’ And I gathered myself together and ‘okay. We can handle this.’" she stated. "My big, gorgeous brother felt like he was always a girl."
"When I drove home from that dinner that night, I cried the whole way. I could hardly see the road for the tears. I guess the tears were for me, but they were for him, mostly. The pain that he experienced as a child…" It was at this point that Mettler trailed off, gathering herself before she pressed forward. "I never told a soul for 30 plus years... I felt like it was up to him to talk to me about it again. I thought maybe it was just a passing phase. Maybe he’s gotten over it. Maybe he’s gotten some counseling and he’s over it. You don’t get over this."
Her statement, and show of support, is incredibly powerful in the face of everything that Jenner is opening up about and in the face of everything that Jenner has had to deal with to this point. It's clear in her words how close the siblings are, and for her to stand by Jenner during this time — and to have stood by him in the past when he revealed his true gender identity to her in private — is a heartwarming moment for the family. Despite the difficulty that Jenner faced coming to terms with his gender, and despite the derision and inappropriate jokes he dealt with even before he revealed the truth to the world, he received acceptance and love from his sister when he needed it.
Editors 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.