Bruce Jenner Is Transgender: Let’s Talk About The Coming Out Interview

According to GLAAD, Bruce Jenner “has not indicated that a new name or pronoun should be used,” therefore GLAAD has indicated that the press should respect his wishes and continue to refer to Jenner by his current name and with male pronouns until otherwise informed. GLAAD writes, “Some transgender people prefer to change their name and/or pronoun quickly. Other transgender people may take more time to decide what name and/or pronoun feels right to them. To be respectful, use the name and/or pronoun requested by the individual.”

Last night on ABC, Diane Sawyer sat down with legendary Olympic decathlon gold medalist and reality TV star Bruce Jenner for an interview about the long-speculated-upon story that Jenner is transgender. In two hours we learned Jenner is indeed a trans woman, and he’s struggled with feeling this way for his entire life, he hopes his story will educate people and maybe even save some lives and Diane Sawyer probably should’ve done some more homework before doing an interview like this. We also learned we still have a long way to go before trans women are treated with full respect by the media.

Before I get into anything else, I want to say congratulations to Jenner. Coming out as trans can be a terrifying thing, and I imagine that when you live in as big of a spotlight as he does, it must be even more terrifying. I wish him nothing but the the best in all of this, I hope he’s able to get some rest from the media assault that’s been launched against him and I hope when people see him coming out and talking about his journey to get here, they recognize and respect his humanity and then transfer that respect for humanity to all other trans women they see.

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I was actually very pleasantly surprised by most of what we saw. As the interview started and Jenner welcomed Sawyer into his house, he honestly did seem really nervous, especially for someone who’s lived the last eight years in front of the camera and most of the last forty in the public eye. His first few sentences were filled with heavy pauses and tears wiped away with tissues. At first he came out more indirectly by saying things like “I’ve always been confused with my gender identity since I was this big,” motioning with his hand, and imagining God saying “let’s give him the soul of a female and see how he deals with that” when he was being created. Finally, Sawyer asked if he’s a woman, receiving the reply “yes, for all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.”

Jenner told the story of a person who lived their life in public, but always felt like they were telling a lie by being the person the public saw. He talked about how at the height of his Olympic glory, he was actually a confused “her.” He didn’t come out because he was afraid that that lie would disappoint people, especially his family. He said he was always “running away from [his] life, running away from who [he] was” and that he was scared for his life. As much as the previous coverage of his transition tried to strip him of his humanity, this interview built it back up. He was able to tell his story, and he was able to answer Sawyer’s questions when he seemed to be completely lost about what Jenner was talking about. Jenner talked about coming out, or at least partially coming out to his wives over the years. He talked about how, for five years in the 80’s, he was actually on HRT and was transitioning, but he lost his nerve and didn’t want to hurt his children, so he stopped.

It’s kind of remarkable to think this might’ve been the biggest “trans moment” in American history — by that I mean it’s likely more people were watching this interview and therefore learning about and talking about trans people, at least at this level and depth of understanding, than at any single moment before. For older generations, Jenner is one of the greatest and most famous athletes that they’ve seen in their lives. He’s a genuine legend and a true American Sports Hero. He was on the cover of the Wheaties box. And he’s a trans woman.

Jenner also talked about some very serious issues with a lot of aplomb. He talked about how he became deeply suicidal after the paparazzi ambushed him when he went to get a tracheal shave. He talked about how many trans people face serious issues, and while he doesn’t see himself as a spokesperson for the trans community, he’d be happy to work with the community to make things better for other trans people. He even pointed out that Black trans women are the most at risk for anti-trans violence. I’m going to say that again, a member of one of the most famous families in the US specifically talked about violence against Black trans women on a prime time interview that was expected to be seen by 20 million people. That’s a start.

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Jenner also talked about how his family is taking the news. He said most of his children are being incredibly supportive, and we actually got to see some of his sons talk about him and to him, saying they’re more proud of him now than they’ve ever been. Jenner said while his daughter Khloe is struggling with his transition, Kim, the first daughter that he told, is taking it really well, partially thanks to her husband, Kanye West. It actually brought a tear to my eye when Jenner described how Kanye helped Kim come around to fully support him. In support of Bruce transitioning, Kanye apparently told her, “I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world, and I am. I can have the most beautiful daughter in the world, I have that. But I’m nothing if I can’t be me. If I can’t be true to myself, they don’t mean anything.”

I feel like Katie Couric’s second interview with Laverne Cox has kind of given me expectations that are too high. If you remember, Couric first had Cox and Carmen Carrera on her show and proceeded to keep asking them about surgery and their genitals even after being told that neither one would talk about that and that they didn’t consider those questions to be appropriate. She then invited Cox to return to the show and really showed us how an ally should learn and grow after they make mistakes. It seemed like Sawyer, especially early on, made a lot of the same mistakes Couric did. Multiple times she asked Jenner if he was gay or interested in men, even though Jenner pretty clearly explained gender and sexuality are different things. At one point she said, “experts say that crossdressing and being transgender aren’t necessarily the same thing,” which is a huge way to undersell the fact that they’re not the same thing at all. However, it wasn’t a complete disaster, and much of the interview was actually pretty respectful. There were times that it was clear Sawyer had been given some guidelines, probably from GLAAD, like when they acknowledged that most members of the trans community don’t want to talk about surgery but Jenner had indicated he was ready to. Still, I felt like Sawyer and ABC kept on dropping the ball only to be saved by Jenner picking it up and running ten yards with it.

Seeing this story unfold over the past four months has been, to say the least, tiring, trying and very strange. You could easily argue the Jenner-Kardashian family is the least private family in the world, so to have the media speculate on this story without a single comment from Jenner for this long has created what is largely an unprecedented situation, during which time the media has been enormously offensive and disrespectful. A person with this much celebrity and this much in the public eye coming out as transgender hasn’t ever happened before, and it’s rare the media starts reporting on a public figure wanting to come out as trans before they say anything about being trans. Probably the closest story we’ve had is that of Chelsea Manning, who we learned was trans from information that she did not release herself during the investigation into her involvement in leaking classified documents. When writing about her story, journalists had to ask themselves if and how they wanted to use this information and if they should change the way they refer to a trans person who hasn’t themselves said they are trans.

This time, the story is even more complicated. As I said, Jenner’s life has been anything but private, especially over the last decade or so, and that’s largely been because Jenner has wanted it that way. No one forced Jenner to have his life filmed for a reality show, and no one forced him to have a relationship with the press that is defined by leaking stories and photos at the most opportune time. Still, though, that very relationship with the media makes this story stand out. The Jenner-Kardashians are perhaps the most media savvy family on the planet, and so one thinks they would have been in control of this story from day one. This just highlights how difficult coming out as a trans woman is and how even people with the kind of media power the Jenner-Kardashians have don’t know how to “control” a situation like this.

One thing I should make clear, is that no matter what else was done, any coverage of Jenner that treated him as a sideshow freak to be gawked and laughed at was patently offensive, extremely dehumanizing and plainly malicious. Magazines that printed photoshopped pictures of him with words like “Secret Double Life” and “Caught Cross-Dressing!” in giant letters with multiple exclamation points served no purpose other than to try to humiliate Jenner and insult and tear down all trans women, Jenner included. This kind of coverage was vile and has no place in journalism.

Tabloids and media outlets that made fun of the way Jenner looks or has been acting or that tried to make money off the idea that trans women are weird and deserve to be stared and laughed at shouldn’t even be relevant to this discussion. They weren’t even covering the story of a former Olympic champion and popular TV star who was coming out as trans, they were simply making transmisogynistic jokes, and lazy ones at that.

Knowing that that kind of coverage was wrong doesn’t completely solve the problem though. People still couldn’t reach a consensus on how to talk about Jenner once it seemed more and more certain he would be publicly coming out sometime in the coming months. In February, MTV posted a story called “What Are The Rules For Talking About Bruce Jenner? Here’s What MTV Is And Isn’t Saying” where they said they weren’t going to speculate on Jenner’s gender and didn’t use a single pronoun for Jenner at all. Other websites and publications said that they would continue to use “he” until Jenner himself would make a public statement. A few places started using “they” to show they weren’t going to make a judgement on Jenner’s gender, but those places seemed few and far between. Although many of the more “respectable” news and media outlets didn’t sensationalize the story the way gossip magazines and some websites and blogs did, that didn’t stop them from still reporting on the story in their own way.

Even trans women have been disagreeing about the best way to approach this story. Some say speculating if a person, even a celebrity and reality TV star, is trans, is disrespectful and irresponsible and since Jenner didn’t say anything about his  gender until last night, the proper way to talk about him would’ve been to use “he/him” pronouns. Assuming anything else would’ve been going too far. Outing a trans woman is an act of violence that can lead to her facing discrimination, alienation from her friends and family and physical violence, and some people saw this speculation as a version of that. Others said once things got to a certain point where we were constantly seeing “leaks” from “sources close to the family” and even statements from Jenner’s mother, the proper thing to do was to use “they” or even “she” pronouns to refer to Jenner. After all, when a trans person, even a closeted trans person, hears themself referred to with the wrong pronouns, it can hurt a lot. However, Jenner told ABC they could use “he/him” for the interview and he often referred to a post-coming-out and internal version of himself as “she/her.” So things are complicated.

Back in February, Redefining Realness author, MSNBC contributor and trans advocate Janet Mock aired a segment on her Shift by MSNBC program So POPular! on the subject of the media’s reporting on Jenner’s trans status, which was still unconfirmed back then. On her show she said trans people need to be respected, and perhaps the best thing for the media to do would be to use “gender-inclusive language” when talking about Jenner until he “stepped forward to tell their own story.” I think this is a good approach, and normally would use “they” in a case like this if it weren’t for the statement released by GLAAD. In her segment, Mock said publications using “he” pronouns because that’s what the family was using were going about things the wrong way.

Any trans person navigating identity, community and especially family could explain that when it comes to explaining your identity to loved ones, family members will likely be slow, resistant, or even hostile, to making name and pronoun changes. So, a journalist could surmise that family members are not going to be the most reliable sources of information, specifically around pronoun usage. And as seen in the People story, the magazine, by relying on family members’ use of masculine pronouns helps spread harmful misinformation about Jenner and all trans people.

She continued on to say it’s time we learn new ways of using pronouns and talking about gender. She said “the media is making every effort to proclaim that Jenner is living as a woman, yet the media refuses to call Jenner ‘she’ or even ‘they.’ If they’re going to report on Jenner’s identity as a woman, we should be vigilant in ensuring we use gender inclusive language, starting with ‘they,’ until Jenner, the only source that actually matters, tells us otherwise.” About thirty minutes into last night’s interview, after Sawyer had repeatedly called Jenner “he,” even when referring to him sitting in the room after coming out, she said that while it’s important to use the correct pronouns when talking to and about trans people, Jenner had told ABC to use “he” for this interview.

One thing this has taught us is our language needs to evolve, and it needs to evolve quickly. Even when the media was trying to be respectful of Jenner’s situation (which to be honest, didn’t really happen all that often), they were struggling to find ways to tell his story. As the media talked about Jenner’s upcoming interview with Diane Sawyer, they continued to use “he” and “him” to describe him. At this point they seemed to be 100% sure he was a woman, and they wouldn’t use “he” when talking about a trans woman like Andreja Pejic (I use her as an example because I saw one TV entertainment show do segments on both women the same day, using “he” to describe Jenner and “she” to talk about Pejic). So why did they continue to use masculine-coded pronouns to refer to Jenner when there are gender-neutral pronouns available? At the time they didn’t know Jenner’s pronouns, and the safe thing to do might have been to use the singular “they.” When we finally heard from Jenner himself and found out that he isn’t indicating that new pronouns should be used yet, it became fine to use “he/him.”

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All of this raises more questions we need to deal with sooner, rather than later. Why are journalists and TV hosts so reluctant to adopt gender-inclusive language? How can you respect the fact that someone is in the closet but also respect their pronouns and not misgender them? Which is more respectful, to refuse to speculate a closeted trans woman’s trans status, or to refuse to misgender her? Which path lets you keep more of your journalistic integrity?

It’s kind of sad, to be honest, that we need Jenner’s coming out to become a teachable moment, but the fact is, it’s not like there are tens of millions of trans people in the US and it’s not like there are dozens of celebrities coming out as trans every day, or even every year. So a lot of this is just new and unexplored territory for the media. That’s not an excuse for bad behavior, though, they need to learn and they need to do better, and hopefully that’s what they’ll do. Hopefully they’ll become more educated on trans issues and terminology and they’ll learn you don’t have to use words that rely on a cis-centric view of the world to report on every person or every issue.

As being trans becomes more accepted and as more and more people become educated on trans issues and trans people at earlier and earlier ages, the number of public figures who come out as trans is only going to go up. While Jenner’s interview is an unprecedented media experience, I think it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Next time we should be prepared.

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The main thing we need to keep in mind is above all else, we need to treat Jenner like the human being that he is. While I do think in some cases it’s fair to report on a person potentially being trans — if the person is in the public eye the way Jenner is, if family members and other sources close to the person keep on leaking information like they did in this case and if they schedule an interview to come out — I don’t think it’s fair at all to do it the way most of the media did it. Once there were quotes from Jenner’s family and team confirming he was trans, I feel it would’ve been most respectful to stop using “he” and “him” to refer to him and adopt “they/them” until we got information from the woman himself. Still, that in no way excuses the gross sensationalism and completely insulting headlines and “scoops” that were printed in magazines and broadcast over the airwaves.

As the interview started to wrap up, Sawyer asked Jenner to put himself in Sawyer’s seat, what would he ask Bruce Jenner if he were in her position? Jenner thought about it for a minute and said he would ask himself “Are you okay?” Again, showing that at the root of all this, he just wants people to see him as a human being. All of the nervousness and apprehension that was so evident at the beginning of the interview seemed to disappear as Jenner showed Sawyer his closet, complete with the dress he was going to wear when the two of them had dinner later. Instead of seeming like he wanted to crawl under the covers and never come out, Jenner now seemed not just happy, but genuinely joyful as he joked about being the tallest girl in the room and hugged Sawyer.

When he was asked what his goal is for what he’ll look like now that he no longer has to pretend to be the “Bruce Jenner” that America has known for so long, he said all he wants is to be able to keep his nail polish on long enough for it to chip off. That’s it. Such a small thing that every woman should be able to take for granted, but before today, he still had to hide it and remove his nail polish before he was ready. He closed out the interview by telling Diane Sawyer that this wasn’t the end for him, saying, “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am, I’m not saying goodbye to me.” While I’m not ready to place Bruce Jenner on the same level as trans advocates like Janet Mock and Laverne Cox, Bruce Jenner bared his humanity and represented trans women well, and he did it in a brighter spotlight than perhaps anyone has done before.

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. Why are people giving Diane shit? like she has to ask the questions her audience is asking. And the audience of 20/20 is different than autostraddle.

    • Like I said in the article, Katie Couric, who also works for ABC, seemed to be able to do a really good job learning how to best interview a trans woman about being trans the second time she interviewed Laverne Cox, and I thought this was a step back for an ABC interview with a trans woman.

      • except America didn’t know laverne cox as male. And way more of America knows Bruce than Laverne. A much older generation knows bruce as an Olympic hero and don’t really know much about the kardashians.

    • I don’t think the rather gentle critique offered by this article is “giving Diane shit”. The media often does a poor job of disucussing transgender people. Even well meaning media personalities stuggle with how to talk about and address trans people appropriately.Explaining what someone could have done better in an interview with a trans women isn’t insulting them, it’s helping them (and the rest of the media) learn to handle this topic with greater respect.

      Also, Diane Saywer doesn’t HAVE to ask anyone anything. She might be pressured to, but it’s still her decision. I would hope that takes into consisteration not just what her viewers want, but what good or harm a potential question might cause.

    • I agree. Since Bruce Jenner is such a huge figure in both the eyes of the older generation who have seen him as the world’s greatest athlete, as well as the younger gener(Jenner?)ation who have seen him on reality TV with the rest of the Kardashians, this special undisputedly has a huge audience. Diane has a huge demographic to project questions for.

      (However, when Diane pettily poked fun at Bruce’s age and how he missed the “good parts” of being a woman, I was pretty disappointed only for him to deftly turn the subject back to her and the hypocrisy of that statement. Still, that was what bothered me most about Diane’s interview. Don’t question the validity of someone’s womanhood especially when he is going through so much shit to assert it.)

  2. While I was pleasantly surprised by the compassion of the program and interview, I was kind of annoyed by the lack of distinction between gender identity and sexual identity. When Diane Sawyer kept asking Jenner “Are you gay?”, I was just like “That’s not what this is about!” Jenner seemed to handle the questions with grace and dignity, and later Sawyer mentioned that trans* people could identify as straight or gay (because we can only talk in binary terms on American television). It was a step in the right the direction, but there is still so far to go.

    I just wish Jenner all the happiness and the best life possible from here on out.

    • I believe she said trans people are gay, straight, or bisexual just like anyone else. And then there was a blurb before a commercial about gender identities and sexual orientations and it put all of these words on the screen like “agender” “fluid” “pansexual.” It wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the interview, but that wasn’t relevant here, since Bruce a) said he has always been attracted to women and b) did not seem to want to discuss his sexual orientation in regards to future relationships, going as far as to say for now he is “asexual.”

      • Also I think it was brought up twice in case people missed the beginning of the interview. I feel like a lot of Americans are ignorant asshats and probably think that trans = he likes dudes, so I feel like they made an effort to address it in both the first hour and the second hour, in case people were just tuning in. Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, though. :/

        • Fair enough. I saw the screen with all the words and thought that a bunch of people must be wondering what all of these words have to do with the interview.

          Clearly this interview is one story in the long history of trans* people and cannot be all things to all people. I mentioned “binary” not only in relation to sexuality (I’d forgotten if she said bisexual) but also in relation to gender (which, in re-reading my comment, I totally didn’t make clear). “Asexual” must have blown some minds. Imagine if the word “agender” was spoken aloud on American television.

          I just wish the world could be Autostraddle and we could just get to know each other beyond labels! That’s all! :-)

    • Sorry, but it made perfect sense to me to ask that. After all, the majority of MTF’s go on to date men, and that’s not the case with Jenner, not even close. And since he was falling all over himself to volunteer that he’s conservative and not gay most of his life,…the next question arises, now that you’re changing gender, if all things remain equal, and life goes forth as it did before for him, that would by default make him gay.

      Discussing the T in LGBT, and deliberately avoiding the “other letters” is foolish, to me.

      Of course sexual orientation and gender are related. There is no cause-effect directly, and I think most adults understand that. But of course it’s a factor.

      In terms of Jenner’s life, if he had transitioned in the 80’s instead of abruptly putting on the brakes….he would have had to face, given his attraction to women, the reality of being a lesbian. Furthermore, if his attraction was to straight women and not gay women, then that makes the dating pool smaller. NO ONE in the LGBT community thinks about themselves in a vacuum, without thinking of a life partner, without imagining themselves with someone and what the ramifications of coming out of their particular closet, are.

      Some years ago I had a conversation with a lesbian friend of mine, and she’s a wonderful person, living a full life. She’s been well traveled, held interesting jobs, had great relationships, and now she currently has a couple of beautiful kids. I consider her very well adjusted. When I fretted with her over the phone about lost years pre-coming out, she reminded me that while I did live a different life, it didn’t automatically mean that it was an inauthentic life, void of real experiences. It was part of who I am. And she was right. In Jenner’s case, it’s MORE so. Because he was marrying the person he deeply desired, he became a parent, and saw his athletic dreams fufilled. Now…his life is in a different stage. He’s choosing to change. That’s probably the right move for him at the right time.

    • It was mentioned that there are people in the trans community that think (s)he’s going to “derail” their recent gains. I was wondering why until I watched h(er)im start trying to go through all those winger changes at the slightest mention of Obama.Lucky for hirm hirs handlers cut hirm off or arranged for that to be edited out. An old rich white man with a female “soul”, how about them apples. Old rich white man to the core if you ask me, cuz that’s the only thing the republican party is about no matter how many racial/sexual minorities they want to hide behind/use as pawns. Jenner is living in confusion. (S)he couldn’t even address future relationship prospects even though (s)he’s always been attracted to females. No, (s)he’s “heterosexual”, and white-bejesus forbid (s)he identify as a trans/lesbian compassionate conservative “tomboy”. What in blazes. Is THIS the result of years of pre-transition therapy? I mean sure you can be Christian (I am) but if you must be trans AND !conservative?– be a friggin Blue Dog! Give peace a chance.

      • A person’s politics do not invalidate their gender, even if they strike you as incompatible. A person’s self-referencing comments do not invalidate their gender, even if they strike you as inconsistent or inaccurate. If a trans person is confused, that does not invalidate their gender. Another person’s gender is not yours to define.

  3. I am a cisgender woman and I apologize in advance if anything offends. I have been seeing a vast amount of anger and hurt feelings over microagressions towards the trans community on online forums and I don’t want to do anything like that, but I also simply don’t know what is going to come off that way because I have been surprised by things that have offended elsewhere.

    That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with the interview last night and I thought that for the most part, it was very respectful and handled very well. As was said in the article, this was viewed by millions of people and generations of Americans. As was alluded the comment above, not everyone has the knowledge and understanding of what is means to be trans and how gender identity and sexual orientation are separate issues. In fact, I would think that a vast majority of the audience did NOT know that. I agree that Diane Sawyer asked the questions the audience would want to know and I feel like she genuinely knew the answer herself, but had to bring it up and question him that way. As the interviewer, her job is to ask the questions that make the subject want to open up and answer and explain and I feel that she did that. She could have just came out with the information herself, but that doesn’t get the subject of the interview to explain things in their own words and take control of their own truth.

    As for the pronoun usage, he asked to be called he/him/his/Bruce at this time. It was even mentioned that this was his final interview and public appearance as Bruce. It seemed to me that while he acknowledged he’s always had both the external gender expression that the public saw and the internal gender identity that he knew of, he also kind of separated them out into different pieces of his identity, like a He now and a She soon, and even spoke of it kind of in a third person tense. Like “This is my last interview as Bruce. Call me He. In a little while, I will be Her and She is different than Bruce right here.” It seemed like he was doing the interview as He, Bruce, America’s Greatest Athlete and Patriarch to the Kardashian/Jenner clan, like one last effort to be the person that the public knows and recognizes, looks up to and hero-worshipped. I would imagine this is why he did not reveal his name or show up for the interview in that sexy LBD he should Diane later.

    I would think that if I were trans, I would want to have control over my story, my identity, and the pronouns that are used for me, and until I came out and said differently, I would want people to respectfully use the name and pronouns they had always used for me and not make assumptions before I was ready to share. Regardless of rumors, regardless of reports from other people, I would think that I would want to have control over this. It would be my story, my truth, my identity. And I feel like last night, we heard Bruce’s story and his truth about his identity. It has been the worse-kept “secret” for months and the way other media outlets have handled it has been horribly, but it seems like Bruce finally took control and shared with the world on his terms. I thought it was beautiful and well-done and respectful. I look forward to seeing what the future brings and hope that one-year follow-up interview is a real thing that happens.

    (Apologies for using “he” and “his” and “Bruce” if they are no longer correct. Since I am discussing what I saw last night, when he seemed to want to be called he, this is what I used. Going forward, I will of course use she/her and the new name given.)

  4. One thing I should make clear, is that no matter what else was done, any coverage of Jenner that treated her as a sideshow freak to be gawked and laughed at was patently offensive, extremely dehumanizing and plainly malicious. Magazines that printed photoshopped pictures of her with words like “Secret Double Life” and “Caught Cross-Dressing!” in giant letters with multiple exclamation points served no purpose other than to try to humiliate Jenner and insult and tear down all trans women, Jenner included.

    Noticed a couple places where you use “her” when referring to Jenner.

  5. Hmmm, thoughts on this interpretation of the pronoun issue? (from tumblr…

    “Jenner said that he/him pronouns are okay for the context of that *one* interview and that was the last time Jenner will be using those pronouns or the name ‘Bruce’.”

    “Sawyer says this is the *last* interview that the star will do as ‘Bruce,’ and after will emerge as the person Jenner calls ‘her.’”

    “For the purposes of the interview, Jenner told Sawyer to use the familiar “he” and “him” pronouns.”

  6. I thought Bruce came across as very down-to-earth & likeable… relatable. I don’t watch the Kardashians or know anything about him so this is my first impression.

    I could really relate to this quote:

    “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am, I’m not saying goodbye to me.”

  7. “he said all he wants is to be able to keep his nail polish on long enough for it to chip off.”

    That’s such a great line…. That hit’s so close to home, it’s something I’ve wished for too, just without using those words.

    • As a (high?) femme trans lesbian, I totally relate to that line having been there and done that.

      Those were 9 of the hardest months. I just didn’t know it until they were over.

  8. I find today that I’m a tiny bit irked at the number of friends who have approached me with the assumptions that (a) I must have watched the interview (I haven’t, yet) and (b) I must already have a well-formed, nuanced opinion about it (I don’t).

    To the extent that I have any opinion (yet), I still hold with Jeffrey Tambor’s take: “I think Jenner has a right to do what Jenner wants to do, and the way Jenner wants to do it. I don’t think we should say, ‘Oh, you have to come out this way, or you have to come out this way.’ It’s not fair.…”

  9. ugh mey this was such a great reflection on this interview and thank you for putting it together and sigh all the feels i just have all the feels

  10. Anybody else feel their heartbreak a little bit at the was on HRT for 5 years and was actually transitioning in the 80’s but stopped part?
    I needed a second there.

  11. Jenner spoke from the heart and mind……and showed that being transgender comes from inner knowledge of one’s self conveyed by the realization of one’s true emotions about how we are supposed to live to find happiness in our life.

    Jenner spoke for thousands of other transgender females in stating that being transgender is a private truth that needs to be fulfilled.

  12. While I appreciate the media has demanded this be a big story, it doesn’t mean that we have to buy into it. I’m only a little younger than Jenner, a trans woman and, somehow, I managed to not watch this. Again, either we allow media to lead us around by the nose or we decide to determine what our own priorities are of trans stories to tell. I wish Jenner well, hope they find love and fulfillment in their life, and hope they change their very messed-up politics, but I refuse to make this story more important than so many other important threads in our community.

  13. Sorry for the derail of a really good article, but please: not “the least private family in the world”, but – “the least private family in the US”. Thanks.

    • Normally as an international consumer of a lot of US media, I’m all about calling out things that equate the US with the World… but in this case I do wonder if there is another family less private in the world??
      The US does tend to take the whole reality and celebrity thing to another level than the rest of us, and even massive celebrities in other countries/cultures seem to have a bit more privacy… and/or are lone entity famewhores rather than clans of fame seekers.
      Here in Germany there are family based reality shows (in the awesomely named genre ‘Doku-soap’) ‘Die Hartmanns’ (poor, large family in a trailer park) and ‘Die Geissens’, (wealthy jet set family) and while I can’t say I have ever watched a full episode of either show, I don’t have the impression they really take things to a Kardashian level of fame seeking and pimping their lives to cameras…

  14. i like the chick but she’s an idiot. the cartouche isn’t going to break itself and the damnatio memoriae isn’t going to read itself either. this whole manyana is unhealthy for the soul.

  15. I thought Sawyer did a great job, and overall most people thought Jenner came across as a sympathetic figure, and thought the interview went well.

    So I’m not sure why there’s all this attacking on Sawyer. Most women love her, as a gay woman I love her and her style,…but am I to assume transwomen are unmoved and unimpressed by her generally? That seems the case.

    I’m also perplexed as to why there’s all this fuss over pronouns. Jenner wanted to have one last interview as his public self, and told Diane to call him he. I thought that was a great strategy. Jenner also said that he told his kids that he was still their “dad”, which infers maleness. To the audience, this was a storyline they could follow and it made sense. Once Jenner presents more as a woman and changes his name, it will be easier to the public to switch over, because this FIRST STEP is done, and they feel part of the process.

    Secondly, maybe I’m unaware of what’s PC these days, but why on earth would anyone call someone “they?” Are transpeople multiple personalities? This makes absolutely no sense to me, and if I can’t fathom it, no one on main street will either.

    As far as my impressions of Jenner as a person, he seemed full of himself, and a bit arrogant, to me. I thought it was just me feeling that way, maybe he rubbed me the wrong way or something, but I went on the internet and heard folks come away with similar feelings as I did. While I’m glad for him, and everyone should be their authentic self (loved Kanye’s quote), some of what he said came across as homophobic, to me. Just the manner in which he expressed that he wasn’t gay and didn’t like guys when he was younger, as well as some other things, raised my eyebrows. When he finally said that he’s “conservative” and “republican” I was not surprised. He’s also not giving any hint of wanting to be identified as lesbian, instead calling himself asexual.

    • A lot of non-binary identified people have “they” as their pronoun of choice. It is also widely used to refer to someone when you don’t know what pronouns they prefer. They is colloquially used as a gender neutral pronoun even outside the LGBT community, so I think the average person is perfectly capable of understanding it’s use as a singular, neutral, pronoun.

    • I think those of us that spend the majority of the time around other LGBT people and allies lose sight of the average mainstream understanding. The interview did a really good job of gently introducing people to transgender people and issues.

      My partner’s grandmother called to discuss Jenner. I assure you she had never seen anything my Laverne Cox.

      And No she would not have had any understanding of the pronoun they used singularly.

  16. I have avoided discussing Jenner during all this lead-up to the interview because despite the rumors, he still hadn’t confirmed anything. Well, now he has. And as long as he prefers “he”, that’s what he gets from me. Bruce Jenner isn’t the face of a movement, just one face. One of so many. But no less brave. Every voice deserves to be heard, as his was. He has the ability to cut through so many stereotypes by going public with his story. I applaud him. I admire his courage, his strength. I wish him happiness. And I hope someday soon a story like this doesn’t need to be “a story like this”..but I’m also sad because no matter how brave and courageous he is, even in my own community there is a lack of acceptance. Even today, after baring his soul, Bruce Jenner wouldn’t be welcome at Michfest.

  17. Maybe one of the best analyses of the horrible media hub-bub around Bruce was that of Sarah Kate Ellis (co-chair of GLAAD) and Christina Kahrl ( baseball sportswriter and GLAAD board member) this morning on CNN…
    Their excellent point being that, after all the months of trans-bashing “reportage” on BJ in the trashy, celebrity sucking media, it seems to have disappeared!
    Even TMZ and US and People and the Enetwork and most other scandal sites are apparently putting a bit of effort into actually trying to speak somewhat respectfully on the BJ issue. To my mind, that is a bit of a break through, and will, hopefully, lead to better and saner conversation about (and between) us all.
    We shall see.

  18. Everybody has pretty much covered everything I wanted to say but something I found interesting was the talk of the children. I’m actually surprised that Khloe is having the most difficult time with it. Of all the Kardashians, I would have pegged her as the most accepting and Kylie and Kendall the least but I’ll let them speak for themselves when they are ready.

    I have mostly avoided all the media coverage about Jenner because the things I have read I have found extremely offensive so I decided at a certain point to just not read anything anymore. I’m surprised the ratings were so high for this interview. That just goes to show just how big this story has gotten. But it was a good interview, I guess. I hope it helped some people.

  19. “Experts say cross dressing and being transgender are not necessarily the same things.”

    “It’s hard to compute, but transgender people and experts both tell us sexual desire and gender are two different things.”

    Who are these “experts” and where do I meet them? Are they available for hire at parties? I have questions.

  20. now wait a minute.. didn’t bruce make it clear that ‘he/him/his’ pronouns were only okay for that one interview?

    laverne cox after speaking to bruce and used ‘they/them/their’ pronouns.. so i guess we should respect that and go with they/them/their, too..??!!??!!

  21. I think the critique of Jenner’s interview is (rightly) coming more from TWOC and the many trans women who aren’t white, affluent, and famous. I think that is really valid. Jenner’s story is getting a lot more attention than many other stories out there, in no small part because Jenner has a lot more systematic power. People care more about Jenner’s life than the average trans woman’s life. That’s not my opinion. That’s just truth.

    That said, I have to give Jenner props for using the Diane Sawyer interview platform to bring up TWOC. It’s not much, but having the images of TWOC taken by violence flash on the screen for a few moments was significant. Because as Mey said, the audience for the interview was multi-generational and included a lot of older folks who have no idea who Janet Mock and Laverne Cox are. Folks who have probably never taken time to learn about trans people and who have a deep respect for Jenner as a former champion athlete were tuning in. I think this will change some hearts and minds.

    It doesn’t mean that Jenner is the most important voice out there, or the most worthy of lavish attention. It does mean that this is one more chip away at transmisogyny. And I’m really glad for that. I’m glad for anything that humanizes trans people and educates folks about how to support trans people.

    I really wish Jenner the best in life and nail polish that stays on long enough to chip.

    • ‘People care more about Jenner’s life than the average trans woman’s life. That’s not my opinion. That’s just truth.’

      yeah i agree, but why would that anger be directed at bruce?
      i don’t quite understand why brue can’t come out on their own terms and just be given some time to catch a breath befor we start to disect their statement word by word.

      it is so important to have a conversation about TWOC and bruce jenner might just have THE perfect platform, network and attention – but maybe we can just see them as a person for now?
      a person that is being bombarded with hate and anger (not talking about autostraddle, but the comments under basically every article about their transition) and might have the right for some self care?

      that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t bring up TWOC in the (near)future but i definitely feel like they should be able to come out without everybody making this story their own.
      it is not.


      i am using ‘they/them/their’ pronouns because bruce jennder stated, that ‘he/him/his’ pronouns are off the table after the Diane Sawyer interview (and because laverne cox does.. so yeah)

  22. My sister told me if what an amazing coincidence that Bruce Jenner came out as a transgender woman on my birthday. All I could say was “of course she did!”.

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