Why the Bruce Jenner Interview Matters

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It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the televised interview between Diane Sawyer and Bruce Jenner. I watched the interview, and was amazed by the openness of Bruce. In the interview, he says he still wishes to go by the pronouns of “he” and “him” for now, so that’s how I’ll refer to him in this post.

For those who don’t know about this, after months of speculation Bruce officially announced that he is transgender, and his words has “a soul of a women”. In the interview, he says he’s felt like this for as long as he can remember, and it’s always been a part of who he is. I think telling to world about this is incredibly brave of him, as he talks about his goals to help other people feel comfortable in their own skin.

Before watching the interview, I was worried it would seem more like a publicity stunt. However I found myself moved by the authenticity in which he approached his story and the care and compassion with which Sawyer handled the often loaded material.

Last night, social media was filled with support for Bruce.

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The buzz surrounding the interview and its aftermath begs the question of, is our culture experiencing a tipping point regarding transgender rights? Long recognized by advocates as the most persecuted within the LGBT moniker, transgender individuals continue to live in the shadows, with staggering suicide rates, open hostility and discrimination lodged at them even from law enforcement and other institutions that should serve to protect their rights.

While I was watching the interview I felt like I was watching history being made. There are very few high-profile transgendered individuals, the only other person I can think of is Laverne Cox. Hopefully this will lead to more awareness to the issues these people face everyday.

The actual interview was filled with amazing, from the heart quotes. He said at one point, “I’m saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am. But I’m not saying goodbye to me. This has always been me. [When you think of me], please be open-minded. I’m not this bad person. I’m just doing what I have to do.” Another big moment was when Saywer questioned his sexuality and how it relates to his gender identity. “I always felt heterosexual,” Jenner said. “I’m not gay. As far as I know I’m heterosexual.” He explained later that there’s a big difference between gender and sexuality: “Sexuality is who you’re attracted to… gender is who you are… in your soul.” I think that quote is very important for people who are confused by who he is. We need to break stereotypes that because you are one thing, you have to be another as well. Every person is a mixture of different qualities, and everyone is beautiful for being who they are.

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