‘I JUST CAN’T PULL THE CURTAIN ANYMORE.’
At the beginning of the interview Diane Sawyer made it clear that Bruce was still using the pronoun He, therefore our review of the interview reflects that.
When Bruce Jenner won the Olympic Gold Medal for the Decathlon in 1976 he broke the hold that the Soviets had on that event for years and instantly became an American Hero. For years this strapping handsome 6’4” man was recognised as the World’s Greatest Athlete. Tonight however she is sitting down to give an exclusive interview with ABC TV’s Diane Sawyer to finally confirm the news that he worries may disappoint so many of the fans who have looked up to him for years.
Jenner is visibly extremely nervous as the cameras start to roll but she soon finds confidence as he begins to tell the real story for the very first time. What we discover in the next two hours is an outstandingly honest and open person who is also disarmingly charming. Jenner doesn’t shy away from any of Diane Sawyer’s probing questions and is utterly frank with his answers. Jenner’s words evoke a response from Brandon, his son, who puts it very simply when he tells his Dad that he was proud of his when she won all her medals, but that pales into insignificance with Jenner’s bravery now.
Jenner tells the waiting world “I am a woman now. I have told a lie all my life, and this is who I am. I cannot hide anymore and I just can’t pull the curtains”. He adds “I still have all my male parts but I identify as female.” He believes that what he is doing is going to change the world by talking about it all now.
Jenner explains that this is the very last time he will do an interview as ‘Bruce’ as he is about to undertake more of his transitioning which she reveals she started back in the 1980s when for a few years she took hormones.
A deeply religious and a family person Jenner married Chrystie the first wife in 1972 and they had two children before they divorced nine years later. Wife number two was singer Linda Thompson and they had two children before they separated five years later, and then in 1991 Jenner married Kris Kardashian and as well as fathering two daughters Jenner became the step-father to the infamous Kardashian sisters. Jenner shares that the first person he revealed her gender confusion too was Chrystie, and he is very quick to point out that this was not the cause for the failure of this, or the other marriages.
Jenner makes a point of explaining to an inquisitive and rather bemused Diane Sawyer that he is 100% heterosexual and has never ever even considered having sex with a man. He however has done his homework on this particular topic beforehand and quotes a very simply way of explaining the situation.
“Sexual identity is about who you go to bed with, whereas gender identity is about who you go to bed as.”
Jenner has been an integral part of her family’s infamous hit Reality TV Show for years, so his relationship with all the children has been carried out under the glare of spotlights for some time now. His four eldest asked to be part of the interview so that they could publicly express their support for their father’s transition.
I think even Diane Sawyer was surprised with the answer Jenner gave when she pushed Jenner on how the ubiquitous Kim Kardashian had reacted. Kim had said that her husband Kanye had turned her around to the whole idea. West used his own life as an analogy: “I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am. I could have the most beautiful little daughter in the world, and I do. But I’m nothing if I can’t be me. If I can’t be true to myself, they don’t mean anything.” Kim added her own advice telling her dad “you’ve got to rock it”.
Aside from the sensationalism of having a celebrity having the bravery to come clean to the world with such astounding and highly personal news, both Jenner and Diane Sawyer took time out to acknowledge the ongoing struggle of other people transitioning which is still so greatly misunderstood and still results in suicides and violent crime. Jenner expressed her deepest hope that talking about this topic in this manner on primetime TV may save more lives and give others the strength to become who they really are.
When Jenner explained to Diane Sawyer that next time they meet she would only see Jenner as the woman she now is and she finished the interview with “I am saying goodbye to peoples perception of me, but I am not saying goodbye to me.”
I think when the reviews are in, we will find she is even more of a Hero than ever before. Certainly in our book.
The similarities of Jenner’s story with that of the Award winning TV series TRANSPARENT is remarkable . That featured a retired Professor also in his 60s who finally decides to transition and has to share the news with his adult children. It’s a rather joyous positive journey based on the real life story of the series creator Jill Soloway’s father .