Olympic gold medalist and Keeping Up With the Kardashians personality Bruce Jenner came out as transgender in an interview Friday. It was the culmination of a years’-long tabloid narrative about Jenner’s gender identity, but there were certain aspects that even the most avid followers of celebrity news couldn’t have anticipated.
Jenner is, for now, still using masculine pronouns
It was characterized as “familiar” in the interview, and Bruce declined to use or even mention a potential future name, referring only to a later female self as “her.” As for what Jenner will look like in the future? That was left for another day, though the Olympian has been on hormones for one-and-a-half years (after an interrupted stint taking hormones in the 1980s).
Kanye West was a major influence
Many of Jenner’s family members expressed support on the record, though Jenner’s most recent ex-wife Kris Jenner did not comment on the record for ABC. (On Twitter, she claimed never to have been asked.) Asked as to which of the Kardashian family had been most accepting of the transition, Jenner named Kim (or, more accurately, “Kimberly”), saying that Kim Kardashian’s husband Kanye West turned Kim’s opinion around. As Jenner characterized West’s opinion:
Jenner, indeed, said that Kim asked him, given his extreme-sports predilections, if he were “a tomboy.” (The answer to this good-natured question was “yes.”)
Jenner is on a mission
Though some Twitter commentators were set ablaze by Jenner’s admission of political conservatism, the core of the message remains undeniable: Jenner is now America’s most famous transgender person. “What I’m doing is going to do some good,” Jenner said, “and we’re going to change the world.” That means raising visibility and awareness for transgender people. But, with a major interview completed, one should not necessarily expect Jenner acting as an activist tomorrow (though the E! network quickly sent out a news release about Jenner’s forthcoming reality series). The star’s personal goals? “I just want to have a free soul,” Jenner said, “and have a lot of great friends.”
Visibility, and acceptance, may just arise from that.