Bruce Jenner’s long-awaited interview with Diane Sawyer on “20/20” has finally aired, satisfying the public’s curiosity and putting an end to the infinite speculation about Jenner’s gender change.
The interview begins with a rather quiet Bruce, slightly emotional. While it is generally believed that Jenner is undergoing this huge transformation in order to spark ratings for hit reality TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” it is quite the contrary, as we see Jenner emotionally unfold in telling his inspirational tale.
The Olympic athlete who once represented America and its glory was previously the picture of masculinity.
Once a household name and on cereal boxes, it is hard to believe that this man, who embodies all these seemingly masculine characteristics, is transitioning into a woman.
In the 1976 Olympics, Jenner competed in the decathlon and won the gold medal. The physically grueling event involves track and field events that send competitors into physical exhaustion. Jenner dominated the event and proved his worth as the world’s greatest athlete.
While older generations know the athlete Bruce Jenner, younger generations identify him as the stepfather of the famous Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian.
From the perspective of an avid viewer of the reality show, Jenner has largely changed in appearance and attitude. His recent divorce from Kris Jenner sparked the first move away from the life that defined him. From that moment on, Jenner has undergone media scrutiny, and his transformation has exponentially increased.
In his interview, Jenner claims he has been confused about his gender since he was a child. Interestingly, he claims he was given “the soul of a female.” This is an extremely illuminating remark as it touches upon the debate between gay and transgender people choosing to be the way they are, or being born the way they are.
Astonishing amounts of American people believe sexuality to be a choice, and this belief extends to the transgender community. What Jenner makes so clear in his emotional interview is that his gender transformation is in no way a choice, but rather a necessity in finally terminating the battle he has had with his gender.
Amidst the Jenner drama, Laverne Cox, who stars on “Orange Is the New Black,” was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Cox, a widely known transgender figure in Hollywood, is changing the face of the transgender community, like Jenner, and working toward more public awareness.
Cox is coming to speak at Union, further demonstrating the impact that people like Cox and Jenner are having on the public mindset.
In Danielle Paquette’s article in the Washington Post, she notes that in President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he was the first president to say the word “transgender.”
Obama claimed in his speech, “As Americans, we respect human dignity … that’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
Obama’s addition of the transgender community to his speech adds a new face to the American population. Equality and diversity are shaping the American identity … it is becoming the way of the future and we would be ignorant not to acknowledge this growing population.
We as Americans must embrace the diversity among people in order to stay true to the values upon which our nation was founded. Jenner’s public confession was empowering to the transgender community and should be viewed as an inspirational act.
With these new revelations occurring in our culture, and our President accounting for the growing shift in our nation’s population, it is time to abandon biases and accept people for who they are.