Olympian Bruce Jenner makes transgender history by identifying as a woman
LOS ANGELES – Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner said on Friday that he identifies as a woman, becoming the most high-profile American to come out as transgender.
The 65-year-old Jenner made the declaration in a wide-ranging interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, nearly 40 years after his record-breaking Olympic gold-medal win in the decathlon that gave him the unofficial title of “World’s Greatest Athlete.”
At the outset of the taped interview, Sawyer asked “Are you a woman?” and Jenner responded, “Yes, for all intents and purposes I am a woman.”
“People look at me differently,” Jenner added. “They can see you as this male, but my heart and my soul, and everything that I do in life, it is part of me, that female side is part of me. That’s who I am.”
Jenner’s announcement coincides with a growing visibility of transgender people in American society. Hollywood has played a part, introducing transgender storylines and actors like Laverne Cox from television show “Orange Is the New Black,” who appeared on the cover of Time magazine last year for a story about “America’s next civil rights frontier.”
An emotional Jenner, sporting long hair and a shirt and trousers, said he had waited so many years to come out because he did not “want to disappoint people.”
Although Jenner did not address pronoun preference, Sawyer said that for this interview, Jenner asked that the public use “the familiar ‘him’ or ‘he’.”
Three times married and divorced and parent to six biological children and four stepchildren, Jenner said he is not gay and has never had sex with a man.
His first two wives sent messages of support for Jenner to Sawyer, while his most recent wife, Kris Jenner, the manager and mother of the stars in E! Entertainment’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” had no comment. –Reuters