Step-father of the Kardashian sisters, and US Olympic champion turned reality TV star Bruce Jenner has come out as a transgender and disclosed that he no longer wished to be referred to as “Bruce”.
Jenner made this revelation during an interview with ABC News interviewer Diane Sawyer on her programme 20/20.
In a highly anticipated, two-hour TV interview, hailed by transgender rights’ campaigners and his own Kardashian-linked family, the 65-year-old said he had wrestled with his sexual identity since he was a kid.
Screengrab of interview on Diane Sawyer’s 20/20
“Here I am, stuck – and I hate the word – a girl stuck in a guy’s body. As of now I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
But asked point blank if he was a woman, Jenner said, “Yes. For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman.”
Jenner admitted to wearing his mother’s and sister’s clothes when he was about 8 or 9 years old. At the time, he clarified, he had no idea what he was doing and did it for no other reason except that he “felt good” about it. As he grew up, cross-dressing became an increasingly important part of his life, and he would often strut around in women’s clothes during periods of extensive travelling when no one else was around. He also admitted to going out in public in women’s clothing at a later stage when he felt more comfortable about it.
Jenner in makeup for the cover of Intouch magazine
Jenner said that he has finally realized who he really is. “I look at it this way: Bruce always telling a lie. He’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can’t do that any longer.”
He added, “My brain is much more female than it is male. It’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is.”
Jenner sporting long hair with a ponytail
For decades, his ex-wives and sister were the only ones who knew about his struggle with his gender identity. In the ABC interview, Jenner admitted that this struggle was one major reason behind the breakdown of his marriage with Kris Jenner, mother of the Kardashian sisters, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe. “It shook her,” he told Diane Sawyer during the interview. “If she had been really good with it and understanding, we’d probably be still together.”
He admitted to taking female hormones during the last few years of his marriage with Kris, downplaying it when she would confront him about it, because he “did not want to hurt” her. He was forced to come clean once he started to develop breasts as a result of the hormones he was taking. The couple never went to therapy, which could have helped to salvage their marriage, in Jenner’s opinion.
Jenner also disclosed that step-daughter Kim Kardashian had caught him in women’s clothing once, and was reviled. “Kim walked in on me wearing womens’ clothes, she just went for a drive. Then we didn’t speak about it for ages. Kim said she didn’t think she could talk about it.” He was grateful to Kim’s husband, rapper Kanye West, for helping Kim understand and accept her step-father for who he really was.
Bruce Jenner did sometimes feel upset about the struggles he was facing, and had contemplated suicide several times. “I thought, wouldn’t the easiest thing right now be to just go in the room, get a gun, boom. Pain’s over, it’s done, go to a better place, but then I thought I wanted to see how the story ends.”
Bruce Jenner’s entire family, including ex-wife Kris Jenner, came out on Twitter to express their support for his decision.