Caitlyn Jenner

time 100 2016 Caitlyn Jenner
Sebastian Kim for TIME

The courage to be herself

I was a senior in high school when Caitlyn won her gold medal at the 1976 Olympics. Her victory in the decathlon provided a positive role model for our nation—and created a hero for me. Having the courage to come out at this stage of her life makes her an even bigger hero.

My daughter Nicole is also my hero. As a child, she came out innocently. She didn’t know that people would fear her. Caitlyn did know the consequences of coming out. Because no matter where you come from, how famous you might be or how much money you have, letting America see you in such a vulnerable way is daring and admirable—not self-serving.

I have the greatest respect for her courage and commitment to truth. The courage that she displays is helping challenge society to change. I am so pleased that she has fulfilled her dreams and that she is now helping our children do the same.

Maines is a father and transgender-rights activist in Maine

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