Bruce Jenner's ABC Interview Is About So Much More Than Bruce Jenner
Bruce Jenner will sit down for a revealing two-hour interview with Diane Sawyer on April 24 at 9 pm on ABC's “20/20.”
This interview comes highly anticipated, following all the rumors surrounding the Olympian and his* upcoming gender transition.
It's been reported Jenner “breaks down” during several emotional points of the interview. He'll — allegedly — share information about his gender transition, including stories about his rumored breast implants and name change.
Jenner is no stranger to the Hollywood spotlight. After winning the the Gold Medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, he went on to become a “Wheaties Champion,” pictured on the face of the famous cereal brand box.
Since 2007, he's starred on the E! reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” a show that's garnered millions of viewers during the span of its 10 seasons and over 130 episodes. (Yes, it's been on for that long.)
As a 65-year-old man, Jenner has been married three times and fathered six children (not including his stepchildren).
His most recent divorce ended his 23-year marriage to Kris Jenner. Since news of Jenner's transition first hit the airwaves, it's difficult to imagine just how much emotional weight this transition must have on him and his entire family.
But despite the cultural resistance, criticism and stigmas surrounding sex changes, Bruce has decided to be fully transparent about his identity in the upcoming “20/20” episode.
Jenner will emerge as an important voice for a larger community.
What makes this interview especially important is Jenner is using his celebrity status for all the right reasons.
While “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” is often criticized for being mindless reality television lacking depth, Jenner is now casting himself in a whole new light.
It's far too often we find reality television stars exploiting stereotypes and shapeshifting their personalities to generate attention from viewers.
Yet Jenner has always been much more consistent and tame than the expected outrageousness found on reality TV.
On “Kardashians,“ he played the supportive, loving, and level-headed father amidst a chaotic family of dynamic women.
As someone who occasionally tuned in, I never once saw Jenner as a man who vied for the spotlight. His humility as a celebrity is something that shouldn't go unrecognized.
Now, he's using his fame exactly as fame should be used. Rather than let Hollywood morph him into someone he's not, he's developed the courage and strength to step into the person he truly is. His decision to participate in this interview is evidence of his level of integrity, bravery and vulnerability.
Jenner's revelations could inspire others to bravely come forward.
Jenner has a platform he's now using to inspire others who may be struggling with what he's currently going through.
Transgender people lack the roles models and mentors most other communities take for granted. And while Jenner may not be declaring himself the face of the transgender community, his story will certainly be one that sheds inspiration and hope to those who need it most.
In 2011, the Williams Institute reported approximately nine million Americans, or 0.3 percent, identify as transgender.
This statistic may actually be much higher considering the likelihood many individuals may choose not to disclose their sexual identity or orientation.
Nevertheless, transgender people are a considerable minority in the world, even within the LGBT community.
Public awareness, understanding and acceptance of the journey transgender individuals experience is still a slow-moving trek for LGBTQ activists and supporters.
The ABC sit-down is about much more than lip injections, long hair and implants.
Before a society can accept any cultural phenomenon, it must first become aware. Awareness is what starts dialogue, debate and, eventually, understanding.
Jenner's story and possible spin-off series (which has yet to be confirmed though reports suggest the series is still in the works) is going to bring such awareness to a community otherwise brushed over in Hollywood.
As he'll be transforming into his authentic self, we'll be transforming into a society that better honors and values the transgender story.
This is about more than watching someone get lip injections, long hair and breast implants. We're watching someone grow into who he truly is, and it's the most beautiful gift anyone can give to themselves and others.
Bravo to Jenner for having the courage to share his story and experience with the world. This is the type of television we should really be “keeping up” with.
*Editor's Note: Until Bruce Jenner confirms his transition, Elite Daily will continue to use male pronouns to describe the father, Olympian and television star.
Elite Daily completely respects Jenner's right to lead the narrative on his body and his choices, and will continue to use male pronouns to describe the star until he requests otherwise.
Citations: Athletics at the 1976 Montru00e9al Summer Games Mens Decathlon (Sports Reference), Age and Sex Composition 2010 (Williams Institute), Bruce Jenner Overcome By Tears In Diane Sawyer Interview (Hollywood Reporter)
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