Nobody really knew what to expect from Diane Sawyer’s recent interview with Bruce Jenner. Some tuned in because of their fascination with the former Olympic star’s transformation. Others because they thought — as Sawyer had to ask — his “struggles” may simply be some sort of cheap publicity ploy for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” Ultimately, after all of the speculation, we got a glimpse into a truly heartbreaking story, and the turmoil Bruce Jenner has dealt with his entire life.

 

Throughout the two hour event, Jenner disclosed the dissonance he felt throughout his life; from a young age, he recognized that while he had been biologically born male, his “soul” — the essence of who he is — has always felt more female. Throughout the years, he has undergone several procedures and hormone therapies to start his transition into becoming a biological woman, but only now has he decided to take the steps toward finally become “her.”

 

The 65 year old would go on further to explain:

“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.”

 

Behind the smile, Jenner admittedly always harbored secret anxieties and fears about gender identity (vogue.com)

Behind the smile, Jenner admittedly always harbored secret anxieties and fears about gender identity (vogue.com)

His story is one steeped in pathos — divulging years of pain, support from family and loved ones, as well as the conflict created between his fame and a desire for a private life. Despite contemplation of suicide at some points, Jenner determined to see this transformation all the way through; in his own words: “I want to know how this story ends.”

 

Ultimately, Jenner’s story is not unique; some studies estimate the American transgender population at roughly 700,000 people, but as most census surveys do not account for a non-binary perception of gender, accurate numbers are hard to find. Nationwide, transgender individuals suffer some of the greatest incidents of discrimination — housing, jobs, etc. — as well as suicide attempts; the Youth Suicide Prevention Program estimates that over half of all transgender youths will attempt suicide before their 20th birthday.

 

Laverne Cox became the first transgender individual to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine in 2014 (thewire.com)

Laverne Cox became the first transgender individual to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine in 2014 (thewire.com)

In a time when LGBT rights appear at the forefront of civil rights issues in America, many feel that the transgender movement has become the next major battleground, alongside issues like gay marriage.

 

During the interview, Jenner explained that he does not want to be a spokesperson for Transgenderism. Still, hope remains that this highly-publicized story can draw positive attention to this often overlooked issue.

 

 

 

What did you think of the Bruce Jenner interview? How do you feel about his struggle to become “her”? Comment below or tweet @connerws to keep the conversation going!