After having the privilege of watching Jenner’s extensive sit-down with Diane Sawyer and later reading a moving exposé from his second wife, Linda Thompson, it’s suddenly become clear. Jenner revealed that he began transitioning in the eighties after a life-long struggle with his gender identity. He took hormone medication, removed his body and facial hair, and started to develop breasts. Both Jenner and Thompson agree that this led to the demise of their marriage, and Jenner also revealed that it largely contributed to the demise of his third marriage to Kris Jenner. As for his sexuality, he insists the comparison is “apples and oranges,” given that a gender struggle does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with sexual preference.
Sawyer’s soft-ball style fit well in this interview, especially since Jenner was more than willing to share his very private journey. She got out of the way, suspended all judgment, and provided the public with informational details about transgender struggles, which was beautifully woven throughout the exchange. My lone critique is that there should also be support for parents, friends, and spouses who are often judged for their lack of acceptance. Loved ones will also suffer great loss in this process, as Linda Thompson so elegantly explained, and they too are in need of help. We are all capable of unconditional love and acceptance, but sometimes our tool-kit is missing bolts. Perhaps Jenner’s brave revelations will complete that kit for many.
Bruce Jenner’s story is both sad and inspirational. Had he struggled during a time when society was more supportive and knowledgeable, perhaps he would have felt free to live his truth much sooner. But what better way to make up for past pain than to ease the road for others that suffer?