After nearly two hours on television, telling his story and revealing that he identifies as a woman, Bruce Jenner said that he wants to keep the next part of his journey private. Jenner, who said during the interview that he still prefers to use the familiar "he/him" pronouns for now, said that he would be keeping his "new name" to himself for the time being as he figures out the next part of his transition. "2015 is going to be a hell of a ride," he said. But things for Jenner have changed in light of sharing this story rather publicly, and as the interview came to a close, Jenner sat with his sister Pam, and, per Diane Sawyer's request, said "goodbye" to the Bruce that we, the public, know.
"I'm saying goodbye to people's perception of me and who I am. I'm not saying goodbye to me, because this is who I am ... I'm not this bad person, I'm just doing what I need to do," said Jenner.
It makes sense that while Sawyer asked for a farewell, Jenner is not saying goodbye to Bruce, per se — Jenner is saying goodbye to the public persona that has been presented for years. As Jenner said during the interview, "I’ve been thinking about this day forever." While this is the first that most people are hearing of Jenner's gender identity, Jenner says that he's always been this person. "I’m me. I’m a person. This is who I am. I’m not stuck in anybody’s body … that’s what my soul is," Jenner added.
Of course, this is not the end of the story. Jenner says that he still has a lot of self discovery to go through, but that he's looking forward to it. As he gave Sawyer a tour of his closet in his Malibu home, he spoke with levity and optimism: "In the next house, I am building a glam room," he said, later adding that he looks forward to being able to "have my nail polish on long enough that it actually chips off. I know it's a small one."
Not only is Jenner incredibly brave for sharing such an intimate, personal journey with the entire country and helping to deepen the nation's understanding of transgender men and women, but Jenner's openness and honesty is an inspiring thing to witness any way you slice it. The special also showed his children — Brody, Burt, Brandon Jenner, and daughter Cassandra Marino — in full support of their father, with Brandon saying, "I feel like I’m getting an upgraded version of my dad. Of a parent."
While we once came to know Jenner as a medal-winning Olympian, I think it's safe to say that Jenner is now national hero in more ways than one.
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.