“For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,”
April 25, 2015 4:36 PM   Subscribe

Bruce Jenner Says He’s Transitioning to a Woman [New York Times]
Bruce Jenner, the Olympic gold medalist and member of the Kardashian family, ended months of speculation Friday night when he announced during an ABC television special that he identified as a woman and was making the transition from male to female.

Related:
- Bruce Jenner, Transgender American [The Atlantic]
- Bruce Jenner’s remarkable authenticity: What he teaches us about life, laughter & vulnerability. [Salon]
- Trans people need an icon. But Bruce Jenner is the worst possible choice. [Washington Post]
- How To Talk About Bruce Jenner [Think Progress]
- Bruce Jenner's Kids Take To Social Media To Voice Support Ahead Of Diane Sawyer Special. [Huffington Post]
posted by Fizz (86 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
*she
posted by flatluigi at 4:39 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


*she

In the interview, he asked that people continue using male pronouns and the name Bruce for now.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:40 PM on April 25, 2015 [70 favorites]


Bruce has said that for right now he wants to use he/him pronouns.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:40 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Actually, he prefers a male pronoun for the time being
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:41 PM on April 25, 2015


That's slightly confusing, but whatever he wants is what matters.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:42 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


... well that's a weird thing to say. Now it's harder to tell whether someone's being respectful or an asshole.
posted by kafziel at 4:51 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh jesus christ, that WaPo article - aside from using the wrong pronouns - is absolute garbage from start to finish.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:52 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I have a friend who transitioned MTF, and at first she requested that people continue to use male pronouns as well (though she's gone by female pronouns for several years at this point). She was also still presenting as male most of the time. This was for several reasons, I think - she needed time to come to terms with this huge change that was happening in her life, and didn't want too much to change at once; she wasn't out to everyone yet and wanted to avoid confusion or accidental outing; she was on hormones and wanted to wait for them to have more of an effect on her appearance; she wanted to give people she WAS out to time to adjust to this new reality before asking them to alter their speech; and also, you know, even if you're trans it's just WEIRD to suddenly have your pronouns changed all at once. If you've been 'he' your entire life, 'she' may sound alien to your ears even if you're trans.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:52 PM on April 25, 2015 [41 favorites]


Good luck to him. I'm old enough to remember him as "The World's Greatest Athlete," so the transition from that to commercial actor (he was omnipresent for a long time) to reality star to public symbol of being trans makes for quite a life story that I hope he writes.
posted by jonmc at 4:58 PM on April 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


I fear people will use Bruce Jenner's current request for male pronouns as a rhetorical cudgel, or complain that it's all just too confusing for them to understand, and why can't trans people just be consistent?! The answer is, trans people are just people, they're all different and want different things, and frankly this is uncharted territory they have to navigate, so all they can do is what feels right to them personally. I'm happy to use male pronouns for Jenner while still very much respecting him as a trans woman. Yes, it's "confusing," but so what? Life is confusing, gender is confusing, and fuck it, I'm just happy for him to finally be able to come out.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:58 PM on April 25, 2015 [28 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know, I'm not trans, but I think given that a transition consists of a lot of different individual steps that each individual trans person may (or may not) take (e.g., using pronouns aligned with your gender identity, taking hormones, having readily apparent physical changes resulting from hormones, wearing your gender's clothing more often/full time/etc, having surgical procedures, etc.) and that you would want to do them on your own terms and your own schedule, it doesn't seem super odd that Bruce would want to wait for when it felt right to make the switch to female pronouns.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:58 PM on April 25, 2015 [10 favorites]


I applaud Bruce's courage and wish Bruce nothing but the best, but, like, I don't think Bruce makes a good Rosa Parks.
posted by box at 4:59 PM on April 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think it's really nice that people want to take a positive outlook and hope that more Americans will become can be better students of human decency when it comes to accepting trans folk as a result of Jenner's "coming out." Of course we'd all like to see that.

But the cynic in me can't help but feel it may be optimistic to hope America can get good grades in Trans Acceptance when half the country still hasn't signed up for Intro to Gay and Lesbian Tolerance and huge swaths of the population continue to fail Remedial Don't Hate and Kill Black People class.

We're never as far along as we'd like to be. But hell with it, let's push decency on all fronts, no matter how many people are lagging behind in their studies.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:00 PM on April 25, 2015 [35 favorites]


box - Trans people shouldn't be expected to be perfect role model angels before they can come out.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:01 PM on April 25, 2015 [50 favorites]


You're right. And coming-out is an individual choice that different people will pursue in different ways, and I celebrate all of their choices. Like I say, I wish Bruce nothing but the best.
posted by box at 5:05 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been intrigued to see the libertariany/ tea partyish reaction to this on twitter. Some of it has been the usual bullshit but there have been some surprising notes of "hell that's his business who cares, people should be allowed to do what they want." Maybe because Jenner is still a republican? Interesting.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:07 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, to me, that WaPo article has a distinct whiff of bullshit "stop doing lgbtq wrong!" respectability politics about it. Like, it's okay for a trans person to be in the public eye, as long as they're not doing something horribly déclassée like appearing on reality TV? The author also seems to blame Bruce Jenner for a tabloid photoshopping make-up on him (?!) which seems pretty misdirected. Like I said, I'm just some cis dude and maybe I'm misreading the author, but that was my initial take.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:09 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am a terrible, terrible SNL fan. They should take my license away. It is just now, after watching the interview, that I learned that the Little Chocolate Donuts parody was specifically poking fun at Jenner (and not just Wheaties commercials in general).

"On Friday night, Bruce Jenner was revealed in all his glory as a heroic Olympic gold-medalist reality-show patriarch Republican Christian transgender woman. God, I love this country."--Ty Burr, the Boston Globe

I remember him appearing on an Very Special episode of "Silver Spoons," where he gave a little speech on the importance of identifying dyslexia in children. Which he has, IIRC.

Best of luck to Jenner and his future endeavors.
posted by Melismata at 5:15 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I wish Bruce all the best in his transition, and hope that he will be able to live his life in a way that he is most comfortable with.


But honestly, I still wish I'd never heard of any of his family.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:16 PM on April 25, 2015 [24 favorites]


Yeah, I feel like Jenner is not really fully getting to choose the time of his announcement and so hardly got the opportunity to make it perfect. Also there's a lot of people who didn't get to come out under their most ideal circumstances either, but it was to an audience of tens, not millions, and it's not that person's responsibility to choose the most perfect moment anyway.

I actually think there's something to be said for having someone who was idolized for their masculinity, and is rich, white and Republican, put it out there pretty much in a rich white sexagenarian Republican way. Like, I can hear the conversation in my head that I'll have with my mother about this, and I can already hear her conceding that it's unlikely to be for attention, money, or to personally come to her house and take away something of hers, so...bless you, Bruce, for all the parents out there forced to stop and think for a second.

I have to admit I've never seen a full episode of the TV show, but I always thought Bruce was the boring one. He never really struck me as being the driving force there, more like the meteorologist clinging to the stop sign in a hurricane.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:18 PM on April 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


My friend who knows more about the show than I do tells me that Bruce is often the, like, voice of reason. And reminds me that the people who know Bruce as an Olympic medalist and the people who know Bruce as a reality-show pater-familias are two completely-separate generational cohorts.
posted by box at 5:21 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


He never really struck me as being the driving force there, more like the meteorologist clinging to the stop sign in a hurricane.

I think he talked about that a little in the interview. Something about how the show ended up being kind of emasculating for lack of a better word. I can't remember how he put it, but basically it made him look really hen-pecked by his family, which he didn't really enjoy.

I feel like it was known he was trans before this interview? But maybe I just heard it recently. Has it been in the rumor mill for a while now?

I found some of the interviewer's questions sort of embarassing, like trying to talk to your mom about modern music or something. I couldn't tell if she just didn't know much about being trans, or was just trying to ask questions in a way that could lead her viewers along towards understanding how it worked.
posted by RustyBrooks at 5:22 PM on April 25, 2015


He seems very brave to me, and he should be welcome to be called by whatever pronoun he wants, when he wants, and it will hopefully one day be weird that is any awkwardness about his wishes in that regard.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 5:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


I fear people will use Bruce Jenner's current request for male pronouns as a rhetorical cudgel, or complain that it's all just too confusing for them to understand, and why can't trans people just be consistent?!

Sure, but if wasn't that it would be something else. Fuck'em.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:26 PM on April 25, 2015 [56 favorites]


Aside from The Actual Interview, it is far too early and insubstantial to really be talking about this much and the entire media obsession with it is extremely gross and freakshowy.
posted by byanyothername at 5:36 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sure, but if wasn't that it would be something else. Fuck'em.

I think I might have jammed my finger favoriting that.

Always some asshole making a 'reasonable' argument for intolerance. Fuck'em indeed.
posted by Mooski at 5:36 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]




From the few conservatives in my Facebook sphere, the reaction seems to be mostly irritated bewilderment. They don't like this whole trans thing one bit, but they respect Jenner the Olympic hero, so they seem to be mostly just wishing it would go away.

The post they all were all liking and agreeing with said just, "I'm tired of hearing about this interview."
posted by Naberius at 5:43 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


My facebook feed (about 90% midwest folks) has been about 75% really positive and about 25% just some of the most hateful shit I've ever seen. (I unfriended people over this - I do not want that kind of hatred in my life.)

I'm very pro-bruce on this. Good for him for being what he's felt he should be. It's a complicated issue (to put it mildly) and I support him, salute him, and cheer him on. Same goes for anyone else going through this.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:45 PM on April 25, 2015 [9 favorites]


Aside from The Actual Interview, it is far too early and insubstantial to really be talking about this much and the entire media obsession with it is extremely gross and freakshowy.
You know, I think that's been true until now, but now that The Actual Interview has happened, I don't think it's true anymore. I think this is going to be a fairly big cultural moment in terms of general acceptance of trans people, and I think that's really significant. My grandmother, who is not the kind of person who watches Orange is the New Black or Transparent or who follows social-justice-oriented media, is going to want to talk about this when I call her tomorrow. It took her a long time to come around to accepting gay people, but she did, and I suspect that if she lives long enough, this will be the first step in her accepting trans people, too. And that's worth talking about.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:46 PM on April 25, 2015 [24 favorites]


I watched the Diane Sawyer interview last night and was struck with how great his kids seemed to be, particularly his older kids from his first two wives, and how much they wished them well. I think it was sweet that his oldest son said he had thought of his Dad as a hero for his athletic accomplishments, but that he thought of him as an even greater hero for what Bruce was doing now. That is one really stand up son.

I have never seen a single episode of the Kardashian show (I have seen a few snippets, though), but I have been a Kanye West fan, and I was really happy that Kanye convinced Kim about supporting Bruce. Kanye said something like,"I can have the most beautiful wife and child, but I can't be happy if I can't be myself." So right.

I don't know what I was expecting from the interview because, like I said, I really haven't seen the show, but I thought Bruce's responses were really affecting. Seemed like a really soulful but lost person who got caught up in other people's expectations and is finally freeing himself. I hope he can get some happiness.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:53 PM on April 25, 2015 [15 favorites]


Uh, no. It's still not very substantial, Jenner's obviously still dealing with it on a personal level and public speculation about others' transition/gender identity is still super gross. It's obvious the attention is not because of "a fairly big cultural moment in terms of general acceptance of trans people" but because a famous person might be (and then confirms that they indeed are) trans and that draws eyeballs because Freakshow.

that WaPo article

And: Zoey Tur. Not a great face for trans visibility herself!
posted by byanyothername at 5:55 PM on April 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm glad no one expects me to be the public face of heterosexuality.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:05 PM on April 25, 2015 [75 favorites]


The post they all were all liking and agreeing with said just, "I'm tired of hearing about this interview."

I feel like 3 kinds of people make that kind of post:
1) People who genuinely don't care about thing (smallest group)
2) People who really want you to know they don't care about thing (e.g., "sportsball")
3) People who will later be claiming they're ok with thing but not how it's being "jammed in their face all the time." (Code for not really ok with thing, but know it's not cool to say that)
posted by ctmf at 6:12 PM on April 25, 2015 [17 favorites]


I cannot wait for transitioning to be a widespread enough phenomenon that we don't gawk. And if I feel that way from my bastion of personal privilege, I can't even imagine the yearning that members of gender minorities feel.
posted by gingerest at 6:21 PM on April 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, looks like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I can't judge him for wishing to use male pronouns, or for marrying into a family I disapprove of, or for not being the ideal face of a movement, then how am I supposed to be critical of him? It's extremely difficult. When I watched the interview, and I saw the fear and vulnerability in his eyes, and the steely determination to push through and speak freely in his voice, to speak courageously and proudly as Bruce for the first time in his life, I felt this strange, alien emotion -- I believe it might be what others call "admiration"? -- and I'm trying to find a way to shake it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:24 PM on April 25, 2015 [21 favorites]


I watched the interview and my main takeaway was that I thought Diane Sawyer was really embarrassingly bad as an interviewer. Her real or faux confusion between sexual orientation and gender identify made me literally cringe. It's an issue to explain to the audience, certainly, but I thought it was far more "OMG R U GAY THEN TOO WHUT I'M SO CONFUSED!!!&" than necessary.
posted by gatorae at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


the entire media obsession with it is extremely gross and freakshowy.

Yeah, it just seems so fitting in a horrifying way that you know the media will be holding him up as An Example To All...after spending over a year publicly fucking ridiculing him. That's the example, all right. Be laughed at and hounded and examined, until you finally break down and give the answer everybody wants to hear. No room for figuring shit out on one's own, no, we've got to have yet another national conversation about coming out.

Can we not? Can we ever just have like a moment of fucking silence--not mourning, but just keeping our opinions to ourselves for five minutes?
posted by mittens at 7:05 PM on April 25, 2015 [7 favorites]


The only thing I find puzzling about this is that a person with so much close-up exposure to the world of hyper-femininity, the media-fueled frenzy over the tits, ass, makeup and fashion of his daughters. As a bystander to the culture ready to tear these women apart from the inside at a moment's notice, he wants a piece of that life. I guess it really does speak to gender identity as essential. I kind of like the Kardashians, but their "girl world" often makes me feel exhausted on their behalf.
posted by amanda at 7:14 PM on April 25, 2015


Oddly, I first heard about this on a national sports program (the GF insists) and was struck that the host was extremely sympathetic. I'd have lost money on that bet.

Also, after skimming most of the linked articles I'm still not sure what the special was actually called.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:17 PM on April 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kudos to Bruce for just talking about this. Especially after spending so long in the public eye feeling hyper-aware that he wasn't talking about it.

Gender is a confusing thing, to me anyway. I don't expect him to have all the answers.

I also think that for people who have no personal experience with what he's going through, and no past references from the media, it might take repeated exposure to get used to the idea. Same as with anything else, really.
posted by mantecol at 7:29 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ah, it was 20/20.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:42 PM on April 25, 2015


Most of my awareness of this up until now has been, I'm sorry to say, thanks to the tabloids and quasi-tabloid magazines at the supermarket checkout, which have pretty much all been horrible. (The exception is People magazine, which (at least on the cover) seems to have left the matter alone.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:43 PM on April 25, 2015


complain that it's all just too confusing for them to understand

In a way that's me -- I'm supportive and know a number of trans people personally, but there's always going to be a deep level of "not getting it at all" for me and I'd never deny that. But so what? People's journeys and identities are going to be whatever they are going to be, and if we can create a society where people have the freedom to live their lives to the fullest, that is only to the better for everyone.

I don't follow the tabloid/celebrity stuff at all, but even I had picked up on the expectation of a major announcement on this from Jenner. I'm glad that the overall response seems to be supportive and I hope that this is part of a broader move towards acceptance (or better, support) for trans and other options.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:50 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a bystander to the culture ready to tear these women apart from the inside at a moment's notice, he wants a piece of that life. I guess it really does speak to gender identity as essential.

That's it; transitioning does not on any level imply approval of the ways men and masculine-supremacist culture treat women and femininity, or a desire to be treated in those ways. It implies that unaddressed dysphoria is unbearable, and increased exposure to misogyny and transmisogyny is a price we're forced to pay.

Jenner is actually kind of a milder example; his need for transition has exposed him, and will expose him further to the evil shit of beauty standards and transmisogyny, yes, and on an enormous stage, but he's financially and socially secure and insulated from the worst in a way the majority of trans girls are absolutely not and will never be. Yet we still transition, knowing our lives would undoubtedly be materially easier if we didn't. I'd hope that fact would be read as evidence of necessity, not desire.
posted by emmtee at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2015 [29 favorites]




Jeebus.
Unfortunately, this media circus makes money off of us.
People will cut their own noses off if they think someone is making a buck off their portrait.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:41 PM on April 25, 2015


That Goodlett/Vasquez interview nails it. To be fair, Jenner is at least aware of the huge injustices faced by trans people of color, and mentioned that in the interview, but yeah, this whole thing has had an uncomfortable exploitative edge to it.
posted by byanyothername at 8:48 PM on April 25, 2015 [2 favorites]


i thought it was pretty awesome that janet mock interviewed laverne cox about bruce jenner.
posted by nadawi at 8:59 PM on April 25, 2015 [12 favorites]


i thought it was pretty awesome that janet mock interviewed laverne cox about bruce jenner.

This is true and, on the other hand, you could interview Laverne Cox on any number of subjects from "why is the sky blue?" to "how do you feel about the Mongol occupation of China?" to "what should I have for dinner?" and it would still be awesome. That woman is amazing.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:10 PM on April 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hey, guys? Ellen DeGeneres went through all of this years ago. After contemplation, the world accepted that, yep, she's a lesbian and, yep, she's actually pretty cool.

It will take celebrities like Jenner standing up and saying, "this is who I am," for the world to realize that, yep, Jenner's in transition, and that is pretty cool.
posted by SPrintF at 9:50 PM on April 25, 2015 [6 favorites]


This is the best, most respectful, overview of the whole bumpy ride I've seen:
It’s kind of sad, to be honest, that we need Jenner’s coming out to become a teachable moment, but the fact is, it’s not like there are tens of millions of trans people in the US and it’s not like there are dozens of celebrities coming out as trans every day, or even every year. So a lot of this is just new and unexplored territory for the media. That’s not an excuse for bad behavior, though, they need to learn and they need to do better, and hopefully that’s what they’ll do. Hopefully they’ll become more educated on trans issues and terminology and they’ll learn you don’t have to use words that rely on a cis-centric view of the world to report on every person or every issue.
posted by byanyothername at 10:57 PM on April 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


I recall Jenner's athletic stardom fairly well and, at the time, he was frequently identified as Mormon. Was he? Did that end with his first divorce? I have limited interest in this but a certain prurient curiosity to see how the Church of LDS is reacting.
(Google sources say that Jenner got a Mormon scholarship to an LDS-affiliated school and that his first wife was Mormon.)
posted by CCBC at 12:04 AM on April 26, 2015


That's slightly confusing, but whatever he wants is what matters.

No. That is not slightly confusing. It is simple.

Yes. Whatever he wants is what matters, it's that simple.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 12:48 AM on April 26, 2015


Yeah, the whole pronouns thing is not that weird to me. Anecdote:

When I came out, I just flat told the people I lived with, and a couple of my closest friends. That was it. I still had a damn beard. I wanted to sort of set the expectations ahead of time to an extent, so I wouldn't get like "whoa dude, why're you wearing THAT" type questions - so my behaviour, and aspects of my transition wouldn't be reacted to as weird (because for some reason I was terrified of that at the time). So for a long time, I just went about my business as normal, completely, just talking about this and trying to puzzle out what it meant to me with the people around me. Eventually I asked for my housemates to use female pronouns, but that was some months down the line (and at the time I still kind of didn't feel like I had the right, somehow). It was months past that before I did anything as small as even getting a pair of jeans or a t-shirt from the women's section of a clothes store, and another year past that before I changed my (clearly male gendered) name.

People absolutely do these things differently. Transition doesn't mean the same thing to every trans person, and it doesn't take the same form or order for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to transition. Maybe Bruce will always be Bruce, and he. That's cool, and doesn't make him any less of a woman. Maybe not. We don't know, maybe Bruce doesn't either, and it's pointless and rude to speculate.
posted by Dysk at 3:51 AM on April 26, 2015 [24 favorites]


Dysk, I don't disagree with you, but I think that explaining that to people who don't even have a trans 101 basis of understanding of transgender people is confusing to them, and I understand the frustration, even if I don't agree with it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:36 AM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have limited interest in this but a certain prurient curiosity to see how the Church of LDS is reacting.

jenner was never mormon and didn't go to an lds affiliated school, they were a member of the reorganized lds church, aka the church of christ. mormons would be more likely to claim catholics as their allies before members of the church of christ.

having said that, even though they don't count bruce as part of their tribe - they are being pretty dang awful in all the ways they are usually awful about trans people, especially women.
posted by nadawi at 7:47 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


As someone who wasted many, many hours as a youth trying to beat Bruce Jenner's (real) records on Olympic Decathlon, I'm happy for him.
posted by chavenet at 8:07 AM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think that explaining that to people who don't even have a trans 101 basis of understanding of transgender people is confusing to them, and I understand the frustration

I sort of feel like "Sometimes someone can come out as trans, but they're not ready to switch pronouns because it feels really intimidating" is a straightforward enough explanation that it would make sense for people who know literally nothing about trans people. I mean, cis people sometimes (well, regularly) think people transition overnight, but it's precisely because the idea is so foreign to them that I would think they would get the "it can take time to get comfortable" idea. (Whereas if you have a non-famous trans person in your life, you might be more likely to assume that people always come out with a name and pronouns ready to go precisely because that's the experience of acquaintances and friends who aren't close enough to be privy to the beginnings of coming out.)
posted by hoyland at 9:29 AM on April 26, 2015 [14 favorites]


I'm really happy for him, and there a lot of awesome about this. But, I have to say, from the officially-unofficial rumors a while ago to the flurry of supportive family tweets after the interview, this has been so well and carefully planned and executed that I have to wonder if they hired Olivia Pope.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:54 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I too remember him being on all the Wheaties boxes back in the day. I thought the interview was very well-done and did a good job of providing context as well as telling his story.

I'm happy for him that he can now start living life as his true self.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but hoyland, they were still perpetuating that whole spiel with the "NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME (NOT TODAY THOUGH LOL) WILL BE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT" thing.

I don't think they did anywhere near enough authoritative trans 101 stuff, to the point where this whole thing seemed somewhat irresponsible to me. I know it was never billed as anything other than an interview with this one person, but it would have been so much better if it were framed more competently and confidently. I am also pretty tired of old rich white trans women inundating the country with Their One Trans Narrative in general, though, even though those repetitive stories are the only ones palatable enough for cis people to lap up just for the spectacle.
posted by Corinth at 12:32 PM on April 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


Corinth - that's one of the things i loved about the laverne cox/janet mock interview - how laverne cox made sure to take a beat to say, yes, jenner is exceedingly privileged and that there are a million trans stories out there, most of which don't look like jenner's (or cox's or mock's).
posted by nadawi at 12:49 PM on April 26, 2015




When I get discouraged by the reductive (though increasingly less so) depictions of trans people in the media, I just remember how we went from Queer Eye to over 50% support for gay marriage in nine years.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:12 PM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I try to focus on the fact that there's probably some little trans kid somewhere who doesn't have words for what they're feeling yet who will see this and realize they aren't all alone.
posted by Corinth at 1:17 PM on April 26, 2015 [10 favorites]


I just identify Jenner as one of the stars of the fun campy disco movie, Can't Stop The Music. A terrible flop when it was released and critically reviled, it earned the "inevitable cult following" tag and high rotation at our beatnik hangout in the 90's.
posted by ovvl at 1:50 PM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


this did make me smile:
Bruce Jenner: Kim told me a story. She goes, “you know what really turned me around on thinking about this?” I said, “what?” She goes, “Kanye.” I went, oh, okay. They were talking about it. And he says to Kim, “Look, I can be married to the most beautiful woman in the world. And I am. I can have the most beautiful little daughter in the world. I have that. But I’m nothing if I can’t be me. If I can’t be true to myself. They don’t mean anything.”

Diane Sawyer: From Kanye.

BJ: From Kanye. Yeah, yeah. And since then, Kimberly has Been by far the most accepting. And the easiest to talk to about.
anyway back to your regularly scheduled justice-bending, long-arc-of-progress narrative.
posted by yaymukund at 3:24 PM on April 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


i thought that was a sweet moment...that kanye went and ruined by opening his mouth, saying that his struggle for identity in popular culture, re: fashion&music, is the same as a trans woman's struggle - which, no.
posted by nadawi at 3:32 PM on April 26, 2015


Since I regularly go to the grocery store, I've been 'following' this story for a couple of months, as reported by the covers of several 'magazines'. I didn't realize it was breaking news.
posted by MtDewd at 3:35 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


the magazines have been horrific! they've gone so far as to photoshop makeup on bruce and photoshop their head on a different body.
posted by nadawi at 3:54 PM on April 26, 2015


they've gone so far as to photoshop makeup on bruce

I was thinking about that today in the checkout aisle...In Touch has him on the cover, weirdly pale except for two stripes of pink blush, and I wondered if that had been photoshopped in. But what really (and weirdly) conflicted me was, of all the faces on the magazines and tabloids, his was the only that hadn't been shopped for wrinkles. Alone among all the faces staring out at me, his had lines and puckerings and obvious signs of age. And I was all like, they're doing that on purpose, making him look old! And then I thought, wait, photoshopping the age off of people is really a problem. And then it was my turn to pay so I couldn't finish thinking about it.
posted by mittens at 4:06 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


[A few comments removed, cool it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:13 PM on April 26, 2015


I'll try to keep this short as my writing is shit house. I was in my mid-teens when I watched his performance in the 1976 Olympics. I'd already been struggling mightily with gender dysphoria for most of my life, horribly so with the onset of puberty. When I reached early adulthood I secretly sought out as many references for trans-women coming across the only stories readily available to me at the time of Renee Richards, Jan Morris and of course, Christine Jorgensen. In hindsight, not the best role models.

I remember all the hype and publicity and endorsements by Bruce Jenner through the late 70's and early 80's. His face was everywhere for a while. It was during this time that my hyper-sensitised eyes to feminisation began to notice, to me at least, significant changes to his appearance. I was 100% convinced he'd started electrolysis, his hair style had changed and his face was rounder. I was so excited to see what I hoped was a contemporary, vastly popular public figure come out. It gave me a little shot of confident and hope that I could make it as well.

Then he disappeared from the public eye. At least from my perspective. I felt cheated and once again, pretty much completely alone. It took me another five or six years of turmoil to finally begin my transition and three or so more to feel congruent.

It wasn't until many years later that I was even aware that Bruce Jenner was associated with the Kardashians. All I could think was what kind of life he must have had, having decided not to transition earlier in his life. Those delays were horrible for me and I can imagine they were for him too. I'm glad he's finally moving forward. But selfishly, I'm also angry at the hope he gave and then took away from me back in my youth.
posted by michswiss at 4:31 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


i thought that was a sweet moment...that kanye went and ruined by opening his mouth, saying that his struggle for identity in popular culture, re: fashion&music, is the same as a trans woman's struggle - which, no.

Wow, are we reading the same quote? I don't see this at all. I think it was a very thoughtful and supportive thing for kanye to say in a private discussion with kim.
posted by yaymukund at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2015 [3 favorites]


not that quote, but this.
posted by nadawi at 5:50 PM on April 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


[One comment deleted. bim, this is not the place for this fight, full stop.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:17 PM on April 26, 2015


nadawi, thank you for clarifying.

I feel like that is a controversial spin put on by tmz... I don't really see any new information in your link. I just think that kanye privately relating his own struggle to jenner's to try to make kim empathetic is much different than stating that his experience is the same as jenner's. But I am a diehard kanye fan, I will admit, so it's possible my bias is kicking in, & we can agree to disagree.
posted by yaymukund at 11:11 AM on April 27, 2015


i'm a huge kanye fan - scroll through some past threads and you'll find that i'm usually one of a small few zealously defending him. i will admit that i think in the last year or so he's really lost his way, though - i'm still excited for the art he creates - but more and more as he opens his mouth to explain himself, it's stuff like that or "all lives matter" or talking kinda creepily about the womanly shape his daughter will one day have or being really misogynistic towards his ex. he's wearing thin on me, no lie.

i guess my reaction also comes from following the tabloids somewhat and knowing that tmz might as well be the official mouthpiece of the kardashian family. it's not private if you leak it directly, ya know?
posted by nadawi at 11:46 AM on April 27, 2015 [2 favorites]




Well that was depressing.
posted by mittens at 8:04 AM on April 29, 2015


sometimes i wonder if comedy central knows they can hire people to get them over their hateful transphobic stumbling block. and then i realize they know that and they've likely made the overt decision to keep wallowing in transphobia because it's what a majority of their audience wants. and then i get super depressed.
posted by nadawi at 8:35 AM on April 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


It is saddening yes considering how important those shows are. I would like to point out that the only thing John Oliver's show has said about Bruce Jenner so far has been a still in the opening of their most recent program with his photo and the simple word Veritas, or "truth."
posted by JHarris at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]


Former Republican Senator Norm Coleman: THIS REPUBLICAN LOVES TRANSGENDER FOLKS
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:00 PM on April 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Academic Behind the Media's 'Transgender Tipping Point'
Behind the scenes for the Jenner interview, the show Transparent, and the Time magazine article is Susan Stryker, a professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona, and the author of several books on transgender history, who has been giving interviews about trans issues for twenty years. These days, she asks journalists why they’re approaching trans stories “as some weird thing you’ve never heard of,” when according to one survey, nearly ninety-one percent of people in the United States are familiar with the term “transgender” and three-quarters of them can define it correctly.

The other day, I talked with Stryker about consulting on the Jenner interview, how media attention to trans stories has changed in recent years, and what all this visibility means for the future of trans rights.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:09 PM on May 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed that interview. Thanks for sharing it.
posted by Corinth at 10:27 PM on May 15, 2015


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