Vanity Fair released its latest cover online Monday introducing the world for the first time to Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic champion, turned reality TV star, turned transgender icon formerly known as Bruce.
The “Keeping Up With the Kardashians: About Bruce” star recently came out as a transgender woman in a wide-ranging interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer. But Jenner had not publicly revealed her full transformation or new name until now.
In an interview for the magazine, which hits newsstands June 9, Jenner told Pulitzer Prize–winning contributing editor and author of “Friday Night Lights” Buzz Bissinger that she would have regretted living her entire life as a man.
“If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life,’” Jenner said.
Jenner on her new Twitter account, @Caitlyn_Jenner, tweeted a tease of the cover image that splashes the headline “Call me Caitlyn.”
“I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me,” Jenner tweeted.
President Obama’s Organizing for Action Twitter account responded to the Tweet on Monday, writing “It takes courage to share your story.”
The article was released on the first day of June, which is LGBT Pride Month, a time intended to honor the gay rights riots of the 1960s.
Last month, stepdaughter Kim Kardashian said Jenner had shared her new look and identity with the family for the first time.
“It was amazing and she looked beautiful, really beautiful,” Kardashian said. “She was dressed up, beautiful makeup, beautiful hair, very, very, very beautiful and very comfortable.”
The Vanity Fair piece, however, focuses mainly on Jenner’s relationship with her four less famous, non-Kardashian children, born during her first two marriages. Though Jenner went through phases where she was completely alienated from her children, to the point where she missed graduations and neglected to check on them after natural disasters, the article presents a shared sense of optimism among the older Jenner kids (Jenner also has two teenage daughters with ex-wife, Kris) that their father’s transition will bring about an equally radical transformation in their relationship with her.
“I have high hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce,” Jenner’s oldest son, Burt, now 36, told Bissinger. “I’m very much looking forward to that.”
Jenner won Olympic gold in the 1976 men’s decathlon at 26 years old – a victory that established her position in America as the epitome of a “manly man.” But, as the article details, Jenner privately struggled with her gender identity for most of her life. As a child, Jenner would sneak into her mother’s closet, sometimes her sister’s, to try on dresses and scarves. When she got older and rose to national prominence, Jenner would sometimes wear a bra and panty hose underneath her suit. She began and then abandoned the process of transitioning in the 1980s before she married Kris Jenner.
“I was terrified of being discovered,” Jenner told Bissinger. “I was not at a point in my life where I was comfortable with myself.”
Neither was society. But the last two-and-a-half decades have brought considerable change, spurred in large part by portrayals of LGBT characters on the small screen. Jenner’s April interview with Sawyer was arguably a watershed moment for transgender visibility, and ultimately, acceptance.
“By sharing her journey with the world, Caitlyn Jenner is accelerating acceptance of transgender people everywhere and reminds us all how important it is to live as your most authentic self,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.
Next month, Jenner will make her first public appearance since transitioning at the 2015 ESPYs, where she will receive the Arther Ashe Courage Award. Michael Sam, who made history by becoming the first openly gay player drafted into the National Football League, was last year’s recipient. According to Vanity Fair, all 10 of Jenner’s children and stepchildren are expected to be onstage with her when she accepts the award.
Jenner’s Twitter account, launched on Monday, became the fastest to reach 1 million followers, according to Adweek. The previous record holder was President Obama.