After months of tabloid speculation about his changing appearance, Bruce Jenner finally addressed rumors about his* gender identity Friday, telling ABC’s Diane Sawyer, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman” in a highly anticipated prime time special.
Jenner said he is transitioning from male to female, and the interview would mark his last public appearance as “Bruce,” though he declined to tell Sawyer the name he would use post-transition.
“I always felt heterosexual,” Jenner said, explaining that while he struggled with gender identity and experimented with cross-dressing since childhood, he has always been attracted to women.
Jenner’s interview comes amid heightened attention to the transgender community – both in the news, and in entertainment media. In February, California Rep. Mike Honda tweeted a photo of himself grinning next to his 8-year-old granddaughter Malisa with the caption, “As a proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild, I hope she can feel safe at school without fear of being bullied.” In 2013, Army Private Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) – who is presently serving time in the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks – revealed her gender identity as a transgender female. And in February 2014, Amazon Prime launched its series “Transparent” starring Jeffrey Tambor, who became the first-ever Golden Globe winner for portraying a transgender character in January.
Jenner, 65, rose to fame for winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. He became known to a younger generation as the patriarch of the media-friendly Kardashian clan on E!’s “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” reality television series. The parent of six children – Burt, Casey, Brandon, Brody, Kendall and Kylie – Jenner became stepparent to Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Robert Kardashian upon marrying their mother Kris, from whom Jenner is now divorced.
*Editor’s note: Per GLAAD, “At this time, Bruce Jenner has not indicated that a new name or pronoun should be used, so please respect his wishes and refer to Bruce Jenner by his current name and with male pronouns until such time as he requests something different.”