“Today, millions of people learned that someone they know is transgender.” Bruce Jenner has come out as a transgender woman, on national TV. What a story. Rob & I sat, riveted, often in tears, watching the show while social media buzzed about the story and Bruce’s courage.
A friend said that watching Bruce’s story brought back her own story—all the pain and challenges and joys.
Transgender seems to be harder for people to grasp than lesbian or gay. Even many lesbians and gays have told me they don’t really understand it all.
I get that, but I don’t think it has to be so confusing.
You just listen to someone who tells you they are, and you believe them. That’s all. Trust them to know their own story. Be a friend as they work it all out.
No need to rush into any decision, no need to box anyone in. They are responding to what is going on inside their heart. Just listen and let that person, that true person, out.
We can just listen and love.
I want you to be happy and I love you. I was very proud of you when you stood on that (Olympic gold medal) podium in Montreal. I never thought I could be more proud of you, but I am learning that I can be.
– Esther Jenner, Bruce’s conservative, religious, 89-year-old mother
Can we do that? Can we provide understanding and tolerance to people? Even those with whom we disagree?
Nobody wants to live a lie. Whether it’s your gender identity, sexual orientation, marriage, or badly suited career — no one wants to live someone else’s life when it doesn’t fit.
No one wants to, no one should have to, deny their true self.
The real you, the true person, emerges from the inside out – not the outside in.
The issues surrounding this are complex and multi-layered, but when we speak about someone in our family, someone we know who is transgender, this is not rocket science. (Though I’m told some people are actually suited to rocket science, you don’t have to be!)
Just listen to someone’s story — they will tell you who they are. They long to be heard for who they are. They will sort out the details in their own life. You don’t have to.
As a friend, or a family member, you just have to be there. Just listen. Just love as you have been loved. Accept as you have been accepted.
And let people be who they were meant to be — it will all work out.
I am saying goodbye to people’s perception of me and who I am. I am not saying goodbye to me. This has always been me.
– Bruce Jenner