Last Friday, like millions of other viewers, I tuned in to Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer. To be honest, I'd expected it to be a fluff piece (he has spent the last few years of his life on the Kardashians' show after all), but I was moved by his bravery and honesty as he revealed, "I'm a woman." *Note -- I'm using the pronouns "He" and "Him" since this is what he requested for his interview.*
I think that Jenner is a flawed individual. On the one hand, I've admired him for his athletic accomplishments... but he was an absentee parent for many of his kids. Still, I applaud him for being so open about his life and hope his journey can help educate others about people who are transgender. I think that *every* person who strives to be his or her best self is brave, but it must have been especially tough for someone who is not only a very public figure, but upheld a very "masculine" image for so many decades.
On a personal level, his interview hit home for me since the male hero in my novel F#@! BOMB is a respected athlete who comes out as gay. My character, Griffin, doesn't have an easy time opening up to his friends, family and teammates, but he's still young when he does so. Jenner is 65 and kept his real life secret for a very long time. I'm glad he's finally found the courage to tell his story.
I happened to spend this weekend with my best friend, who is a gay man, and many of our mutual friends who are also gay. We had a long discussion about Jenner's interview, which ultimately turned into a discussion about how and when each guy came out. I was surprised to learn that one of my friends didn't officially come out until he was in his mid-30s. He mentioned that his teenage niece is already out as a lesbian and noted how times have changed. I hope they continue to do so and that LGBT people can continue to get the rights they deserve.
I don't expect my book to incite much change, but if it can help, inspire or educate a handful of people, I'll be really pleased. On the other hand, I do hope that Jenner can truly play a part in "chang[ing] the world" as he said.