The world watched last night as Bruce Jenner told a story that was his secret and private torment for nearly 60 years. First of all, that’s what I call good TV. But after settling in to really listening what he had to say, his story became something else altogether. We all witnessed someone BECOMING themselves on national TV, exposing something so private and personal, that it transcended Bruce’s and became a story about what it means to be human and “live your truth.”
I grew up gay, in Texas and experienced all that you might guess that comes along with that story. But honestly, I’ve always had a disconnect with transgendered people who are part of the LGBT community. I know MANY drag queens, I’ve dressed in drag, I get being attracted to both sexes, I’m attracted to men, but when it comes to understanding why someone feels they’ve been given the wrong body, I’ve always been a bit disconnected. I’ve written about the transgender community, I applaud them and support them. I feel for the pain that people go through when struggling with coming to terms with their own gender identity, but Bruce Jenner’s interview really helped me turn a corner in my thinking. I really GOT IT. And I think his hope that he could change the world and really help people, has already started to to come true. (I’m referring to Bruce as him because he didn’t specify a new name or ask to be referred to as “her” and talked about “her” in the third person.)
If you’ve not seen the interview, you really should watch it for yourself. Bruce, Diane Sawyer, ABC (and “her”) all did a spectacular job in all aspects of treating a sensitive story with respect, love and understanding. Bruce’s family seems to have rallied behind him fully and I can’t imagine anyone not being moved by his bravery and the genuine desire to help those who are struggling with gender identity. Bravo, for now. Brava for the future.
But I have to admit, I’m still struggling with one aspect of Bruce’s confession. We ALL, no matter how open-minded, have prejudices. It was info that was probably out there but I missed the tell-tale signs. Certainly people in his family must have known for years. I just somehow can’t get my head around it. Bruce is a Republican!? This is TRULY shocking. Now maybe, he’s going to change hearts and minds within the GOP, but for me, that’s the toughest bit of info that came out of last night’s interview. You might think I’m kidding but I’m pretty serious. But as Bruce said, he’s not sure what this next year will bring. He might even end up supporting a Democratic (female!) Presidential nominee? I know, I know –he’s got enough on his plate right now. One day at a time, as they say. I can just over look it – for a while. But being a transgendered Republican, must be a real cross to bear. As Jack Lemmon confesses to Joe E. Brown as he’s being proposed to in the last scene of Some Like It Hot…
“I can’t marry you – I’m a man!”
To which Joe replies…
“Well –nobody’s perfect.”