Why Bruce Jenner's Transgender Reveal Is Groundbreaking And Iconic
Kardashian fans, long-time Olympic enthusiasts and news junkies around the world were glued to their television sets on Friday night this week for what Diane Sawyer promised to be a shocking announcement from a household name.
That name is Bruce Jenner.
Most of you reading this will loosely associate it with the Kardashian empire, as he is the stepfather to Kourtney, Kim and Khloe.
But if you ask your parents, the name "Bruce Jenner" is bound to resonate with them on a whole other level.
Jenner won an Olympic gold medal in the men's decathlon event for the United States, breaking a world record and catapulting himself into becoming one of the first commercially successful athletes.
Now, good ole Bruce has found himself in the limelight once again, but not for one of his daughters' perfumes, books, apps or clothing lines; Bruce Jenner announced he has long struggled with his gender identity and will slowly be transitioning into becoming a woman.
If you think you can't escape the Kardashian empire's hold on American consumerism, imagine what it must have been like for the older generations witnessing an American defeat his Russian counterpart in the single most important event of the Olympics.
Bruce was just as much of a household name as the family he is most closely associated with on reality TV today.
Whether we all would like to admit it or not, we're all fully aware of who Bruce is.
And the fact that an Olympic gold medalist, father to one of the most famous women in America and public figure just announced he is transitioning into becoming a female has every single person in this country talking.
The Transgender Tipping Point
Bruce's conversation with Diane Sawyer comes at a crucial time for transgender Americans across the nation: Obama has become the first president to publicly acknowledge their existence, and he took that moment as an opportunity to express his full support for the community.
Not only that, but transgendered people have found themselves at the forefront of a healthy conversation about gender identity, sexual orientation and diversity in America.
While it seemed as though their voices were muted in the talks we've all been having about minorities in this nation, a new light has been shed onto a corner of society many would rather ignore.
It's difficult for some people to see the lack of transgender support in America as a prevalent issue.
For one, there just hasn't been the rallying support behind the minority, even though there had been courageous transgendered persons defying obstacles and overcoming incredible odds to become successful in sports, the media and Hollywood.
But also, there just hasn't been that connective piece to the puzzle that bridges the older generations to the new.
Before Bruce, there wasn't a single figure in the movement whom people of our generation could connect with and would similarly resonate with our parents' generation.
In any movement, it's important to first identify the faces of that movement, those who will be the ones first responsible for shaping the direction of the conversation. This responsibility is an important factor in determining who the movement will reach.
The fact that Bruce Jenner has now once again found himself in the front of an unchartered limelight gives him the unparalleled opportunity to reach young children struggling with their identities, as well as our mothers, fathers, grandparents and essentially everyone who would normally remain untouched by a movement created by a young, small minority in America.
Why Bruce Is Actually The Perfect Icon For The Face Of The Transgender Movement
Of course, rumors had been floating for quite some time surrounding Bruce's sex change, his gender identity and the conversation he'd have with Diane Sawyer.
For one, many thought the shady paparazzi pictures of Bruce donning a ponytail and sunglasses indoors were all a media stunt to gain some traction for the new season of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” (as if it needed any more attention as it is).
Others used the photos paparazzi were taking of Jenner, as they taunted and berated him with comments about sex changes and becoming a woman, in order to create memes and viral Internet jokes putting down the father and athlete.
And then, there were some who had caught ear that the Olympic athlete, who was once featured on Wheaties boxes all over the country, was planning on having a sex change, and they were reminded once again of who Bruce Jenner even is.
You may be surprised to know there are actually some people in America who have never seen an episode of “The Kardashians” before and might even recognize Kim's father from an event just as publicized decades ago.
But this is part of what makes Bruce Jenner a perfect face in the transgender movement.
For one, he would like the world to know he is heterosexual and would still like to be called a father by his children.
This alone is far from the stereotypes many people, especially those who come from older generations and have not met or experienced transgendered people, would associate with someone transitioning to womanhood.
But having someone come out and admit he has been trapped for so long, suffering from an identity crisis, and having him be so relatable to anyone else in his older age is pivotal in developing an understanding about being trans in America by our society's older generations.
Second, he bridges the gap between old and young and creates a conversation across those ages of people.
This week alone, I've spoken to my mother, father, aunts and uncles describing A) who the Kardashians even are and B) why Bruce Jenner felt like he needed to hide this whole time, dressing as a man.
From what I've found, they are actually quite receptive to supporting trans people in America; they simply have not been given the proper resources to learn more about who these people are.
This week, Bruce Jenner introduced the trans community to an entire American and international TV audience.
He boldly spoke about all of the struggles he has faced in life dealing with the constant pressure of having to be a woman who couldn't express herself as she pleased.
He fought back tears as he told Sawyer his main hope was to save some lives by starting this conversation.
And, most importantly, Bruce gave the transgendered community a new face in its leadership: one that is kind, emotional and raw. One that is relatable, vulnerable and candid.
His announcement not only pulled the veil away from the woman Bruce has been forced to hide for so long, but also was the catalyst, which has now brought an entire community from out of society's shadows.
If you feel that you are experiencing issues with gender identity, know that you are not alone. Call the Trans LifeLine at 877-565-8860 to get in contact with support right away.