Bruce Jenner, Olympic gold medalist and Kardashian reality star, finally spoke out about all of the rumors and speculation surrounding his life. In an interview with Diane Sawyer for 20/20, Bruce officially stated that he is in the process of transitioning. I would explain further, but we’ll let Bruce’s words take it from here: “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman. People look at me differently. They see you as this macho 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.”
It’s been nearly impossible to ignore the offensive, cruel, and ridiculously distasteful tabloid magazine covers regarding Bruce Jenner’s sexuality and gender identification process. And although none of us were owed an explanation for what Bruce chooses to do with his life, we were given one last night. Yes, Bruce Jenner feels that he is a woman. Yes, he is in the process of transitioning. And yes, this has been going on for a long time.
Before we go any further, I just want to make it clear that Bruce explicitly stated that he would like to continue to be referred to as Bruce Jenner, using he/his pronouns (for the time being).
Bruce talked about so many things during his interview: his sexuality, how he tried on dresses even as a kid, how his daughters and step-daughters reacted to the news, how Kanye West was supportive, transgender issues in our society as a whole, and more. The entire interview, he managed to be eloquent, informative, positive, and inspiring – even humorous, at certain points. His words were so important for not only the transgender community, but for the LGBTQ community as a whole.
A quick summary: Bruce stated that he has been living a lie, and has felt this way his entire life. He revealed that he considered committing suicide when the rumors started. He made it clear that his gender identification has nothing to do with his sexuality saying he is “not gay.” He seemed to get frustrated and annoyed when Diane asked if he was doing this just for publicity (rightfully so). In the ’80s, he took hormones for five years, but then decided not to transition because of his public image. Kris Jenner knew what was going on for a long time. Oh, and he came out as a Republican.
I can only imagine what Bruce has been going through his entire life. Speaking about this very private and personal process to millions of people cannot be easy, and being yourself in a world where being different can be frowned upon is incredibly difficult. Bruce showed so much bravery and honesty last night, and it was truly inspiring for everyone watching. He doesn’t have to share his journey with us, but he is, and maybe because of that, more people will try to be open-minded and less ignorant.
There are a lot of things to talk about when it comes to the interview, but let’s focus on Bruce’s words. He said so many important things last night that are worth repeating and remembering. Here are 20 of his most inspiring quotes:
1. On the difference between gender identity and sexuality:
“You’re going back to the sex thing and it’s apples and oranges… Sexuality is who you are personally attracted to, who turns you on, male or female. Gender identity has to do with who you are as a person, your soul, and who you identify with inside.”
“I always felt heterosexual. I’m not gay. as far as I know I’m heterosexual.”
“Sexuality is who you’re attracted to… gender is who you are… in your soul.”
2. On how Kim Kardashian has been the most accepting of this:
“Kim told me a story. She goes, ‘You know what really turned me around? On thinking about this?’ And I said, ‘What?’ And she said, ‘Kanye.’ I went ‘Oh, OK.’ They were talking about it and he says to Kim, ‘Look, 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, and I have that. … but if I can’t be true to myself… I’m nothing if I can’t be me.’ And since then, Kimberly has been by far the most accepting, and the easiest to talk to about it.”
3. On why he decided to come out:
“I couldn’t take the walls constantly closing in on me. If I die … I’d be so mad at myself that I didn’t explore that side of me.”
4. On living a lie:
“I look at this way. Bruce: always telling a lie. He’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is. I can’t do that any longer.”
5. On feeling like a woman:
“It’s not that I’m trying to dress up as a woman. It’s that I’ve spent my whole life dressing as a man.”
6. On saying goodbye:
“I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am. I’m not saying goodbye to me, because this has always been me.”
7. On keeping this a secret for so long:
“I had the story. We’d done 435 episodes I think over almost 8 years now and the entire run I kept thinking to myself, ‘oh my god.’ This whole thing, the one real true story in the family was the one I was hiding and nobody knew about it. The one thing that could make a difference in peoples lives was right here in my soul and I could not tell that story.”
8. On dealing with this struggle:
“If this is the only problem I have in life. I’ve got it made. I’m actually really excited about the future, to do some real good in the world.”
9. On telling his story:
“My whole life has been getting me ready for this. My whole life has prepared me for this moment, and I want to take advantage of it, and I want to do the right thing.”
10. On why he had to speak up:
“I just can’t pull the curtain any longer. Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie.” He continued: “If I die, which, I could be diagnosed next week with cancer, and BOOM you’re gone, I’d be so mad at myself that I didn’t explore that side of me.”
11. On whether or not this was just for publicity:
“What I’m doing is going to do some good and we’re gonna change the world. I really firmly believe that.”
12. On his thoughts about committing suicide:
“That night, I thought, it’s, like, over. I was in this hall right here walking up and down, back and forth all night long… heart pounding. And I thought, wouldn’t the easiest thing be right now – and I can see where people get to that – just go in the room, I’ve got a gun, and boom – pain’s over, it’s done, you know, go to a better place. And I thought I can’t do something like that. I mean, I wanna know how this story ends.”
13. On working with the trans community:
“I would like to work with this community to get this message out. They know a lot more than I know. I am not a spokesman for this community. I believe we can save some lives here.”
14. On his Christian faith:
“When I would sit in church, I would always wonder. I had a revelation, maybe this is my cause in life. Maybe God put me on Earth to deal with this issue.”
15. On being stuck in someone else’s body:
“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.”
16. On reality television:
“We’re going to change the world. I really firmly believe that, that we’re going to make a difference in the world with what we’re doing. If the whole Kardashian show and reality television really gave me a foothold into that world, to really go out there and do something good, then I’m all for it. I’ve got no problem with that.
17. On wearing a dress as a child:
“I marked the [spot in the] closet so that when I put it back I would put everything back in the exact same spot so I wouldn’t get caught. At that time, I didn’t know why I was doing it besides it just made me feel good.”
18. On how he’ll be changing:
“You do face, breasts, you know, all that kind of stuff. There are certainly some physical changes to it, but it’s mostly mentally. It just kinda takes the edge off… At this point, SRS-sexual reassignment surgery-will be down the line.
19. On whether he would remarry a man or a woman in the future:
“I’m so far down the road. It’s the last thing in the world…I can’t figure that side of it out. I just want to have a free soul and a lot of great friends. I understand your question. I don’t…let’s go with a-sexual. For now. I’m gonna learn a lot in the next year.”
20. On how he hopes people react:
“Openminded. Have an open mind and an open heart. I’m not this bad person. I’m just doing what I have to do.”
What do you think about the Bruce Jenner interview? Which quote was the most inspiring to you? Tell us in the comments.