Bruce Jenner was the classic American jock. He has won Olympic gold medals, was the hunk on the Wheaties box, a Playgirl cover boy, the author of inspirational sports books and has even been crowned the World’s Greatest Athlete.
Now, he is entering a new chapter of his life, one that might make him an even more historic figure: there is truth to the rumors that Jenner is becoming a woman.
Following his separation from wife Kris back in 2013, Jenner has since been seen sporting long polished nails, flowing locks and shaven legs. He underwent a laryngeal shave to flatten out the Adam’s apple, which is commonly the first step taken when someone decides to start the process of gender reassignment. His breasts appeared larger during recent public appearances, and he’s been seen wearing jewelry as well.
Since then, Bruce has shared more details with his mother Esther, and the 88-year-old woman opened up about her son’s decision to become a woman.
“He said, ‘Mom, I’m still the same person, I want to be honest about my identity and I know this is coming out in the press,'” she has stated. “He said, ‘I’m still going to race cars, I’m still going to fly airplanes and I’m going to get my helicopter license.'”
Ever since the news broke, however, many people have shown complete ignorance to transgender issues and Jenner’s choices. I have often heard that “one is born either a man or a woman, there is no in-between” from several of those who are completely oblivious to much of the pain and misunderstanding that a trans person suffers through.
None of us can control our gender identity or sexual preference. Most of us are neither 100% one way or the other with regard to our traits and desires, but few of us can admit that.
Gender is NOT binary. People can feel they are both genders, neither or some mixture thereof. It might be easier to view gender as a one-dimensional spectrum with male on one end, female on the other and androgyne in the middle—but the reality is that gender is complex.
I believe that Jenner has every right to live a happy life and complete these changes without any hatred or discrimination. It will be extremely difficult to transform under the public eye, but if done gracefully, Jenner could be an important role model for all members of the LGBT community.
All I can say is: Bruce, live your life. Be happy.