I have been immersed in the LGBTQ community ever since I landed in New York, that summer camp that I worked at had a full community living there within the Summer Camp community.  When I moved back to the USA and went to live with the Hubs in Chicago, again I was right in the middle of the LGBTQ community.  The Hubs was studying at Loyola and was majoring in the Theater Department, many of his friends within this department were gay.  So all of that said, it is apart of my normal.  Moving to the suburbs our community became small, but still somewhat diverse.

When F started attending the High School is when I noticed that there was a budding LGBTQ community at the school, which is apart of and an accepted community within the school.  When our daughter came out she was widely accepted within our adult community, and very much so within her school community.  One of the most heart felt conversations I witnessed was from the father of one of F’s track/neighborhood friends.  He approached her and said, “I am so very happy that you are living your true life, and it brings me great happiness.”  This is a man that she looks up to, and was nervous that we as a family would loose that friendship.  It was such a beautiful moment.

So when the gossip and tabloids started to take a bigger interest in the appearance of Bruce Jenner once he split from Kris Jenner my ears perked up just a little.  Please do not judge me, but I am a secret Bravo watcher.  For the most part it is background noise for me as I work from home.  I will throw on that channel and type away, as it really doesn’t need my full attention.  In watching the Kardashian show I noticed very early on that Bruce was an unwilling participant within the show.  Kris is the matriarch, with the girls falling in line right behind her.  As the seasons rolled on, you could tell by the amount of appearances that the marriage was fading.  Finally with Bruce moving to the Malibu residence, and the split being announced.

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Good for him, he was going to live the quiet life that I think he always craved. Being a grounding parent, and flying his helicopters seemed to be what was in his future.  Then the gossip mongers, tabloids, and paparazzi started to invade his space…  News articles and whispers started to circulate of a physical change going on with Bruce Jenner.  All of a sudden instead of the “K” girls being stalked Bruce was being stalked, and the word of the day seemed to be that he painted his nails and he was letting his hair grow out.  At that point who cared, he was free and single, a man in his early sixties having fun.

The late night talk show hosts, picked up on the gossip and with each new picture and perceived new appearance one of them would have a quick jab at him.

This man who in 1976 had been a national hero, was now the fodder for ridicule and gossip.  When in actual fact he should have been left alone.  He had pulled himself out of the limelight, and taken himself to Malibu to live a quieter life.  A Truer Life.

Bruce Jenner after running from the tabloids, paparazzi, late night talk show hosts, and gossip mongers chose to sit down with Diane Sawyer, who I believe to be one of the most well rounded and respected news journalists of this modern time.  I personally think that he could not have made a better choice of journalist to shed light on the journey that he is embarking upon.  Diane Sawyer legitimized his story and did not play into the hype of turning him into a “media creature”.

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I like many of you sat down that night and watched as Diane was invited into Bruce’s home to speak with him about the changes to his physical appearance and what was really happening.  Within one minute her soft demeanor was showing through with raw vulnerability, and as tears welled in her eyes tears welled in mine too.  For the first time she was able to be the true her, and take a deep breath and just BE.  For so many of us we take this for granted.  We wake up and we are who we are, our outside appearance is a reflection of who we feel on the inside.  For Bruce this has not been the case, she has had to hide who she was on the inside and portray an outward appearance of what we all saw on the outside.  Today she would be who she was, and for that I say she is BRAVE.  Today I stand with her and say YES, and hope that now she can be who she is on the inside on the outside as well.  Tweet This

After explaining that she has a female soul, and that she is who she is Bruce reaches back and lets her hair down and states,

“Yes, for all intense and purposes I am a woman.  People look at me differently, they see you as this macho male but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life ummm, it is part of me.  That female side is a part of me, it is who I am.”

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So you may be asking at this point, what does Transgender mean?  In the most simplest of terms a person who identify’s as transgender was given their gender at birth, yet when they were old enough to realize this gender, knew that they identified as the opposite of what their body portrays.  Gender is NOT sexual orientation.  Transgender is WHO you are when you go to bed, NOT WHO you go to bed with.  

As both Diane and Bruce sit on her couch in her Malibu home and discuss her life and all of her amazing accomplishments, you can see the softer more sensitive side to Bruce.  You see the pride of being the 1976 Gold Medal Olympian, and she states then that that person was also a scared confused person back then.  She then tells Diane that she “Identify’s as a woman, and still kicks butt…”  This made me laugh.

The interview goes forward with Diane bringing up the point that maybe Bruce is doing this to boost the ratings of the Kardashian show, at which point Bruce laughs and is stunned that anyone would think that she would go through what she has endured and what she will have to endure for RATINGS!!!  This brought me back to 23 years ago and one of my husbands best friends in college.  Steve Knowles, was a wonderful friend that you knew you had made for life.  He was gay, and I asked him in an interview for a paper I was writing the following question “Is being gay a choice?”  His response to me back in 1992 was the following, “Do you think that I would choose to live a life of fear and hate over being able to live a life of peace and quiet?  No being gay is not a choice, just like waking up and being straight is not a choice.  We are who we are, we don’t wake up one morning and decide that we are gay or straight.”  Bruce wants to take her fame and use that as a stepping stone platform to go out into the world and do good for the community with which she is a part of.  She wants to help, and here is where I stand up and applaud her.  This is where I believe she is being brave.  Bravery is defined by ones actions that you choose, and she is choosing to use her position in life to bring awareness to the transgender community.  She is hoping that her decision to come forward will help those within the community.

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Diane asks her why come forward now at the age of 65, and she replies that she just can’t hold the curtain anymore.  I can so understand this after watching my daughter struggle for several years before coming out to us and the rest of the community/world.  She is 17 and has had the opportunity at such a young age to be true to herself, I can’t comprehend what Bruce has had to bottle up and suppress for so long in order to be the person that we all see on the outside.  Again I am so happy for her to be able to be the person that she really is, so is she 🙂

As I re-watch this interview, I am most grateful that Bruce is giving this interview because young people who may be questioning their own gender identity will not feel ALONE, as Bruce has stated that she did.  I hope that they will understand that they are not alone, and that their feelings are not wrong.

I am also grateful that we have raised our two girls to be loving, accepting young people who know that LGBTQ ~ Lesbian ~ Gay ~ Bi-sexual ~ Transgender ~ Questioning, are all normal.  What makes this world amazing, is our differences 🙂

I went on as most of us did, enthralled with the interview and cried and cheered as she took us on the journey of three marriages, divorce, and children.  Of becoming the husband to Kris and taking on the responsibility of raising three girls and a boy and having another two girls with Kris, while still being the father to another four children.  As the interview moved forward what I found most heart warming was the fact that her sons and daughter from previous marriages were there to support and love her.  Support of family is key, could you image that you are questioning who you are and you go to lean on your family (your support system) and they turn away from you.  As a mother, to be frank I could not image turning my back on my child, but many do.  I have witnessed it in my community, and it really saddens me.  The parents of those children are missing out on so much, they are missing out on being the parents of awesome kids.  I am proud to be the parent of my children, and always will be.

Straight, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, or questioning we are all human, and all looking for acceptance and love.  I think that is a beautiful thing.

At the end of this poignant interview Diane asks Bruce is there any question that she should have asked and Bruce answers….  “Yes, you should ask me; Am I going to be ok?”  Diane then sits back and says, “Are you going to be ok?”

“Yeah, I hope I am going to be ok, I feel like I am going to be ok.  2015 is going to be quite a ride.”

At the end of this interview you see she is so excited to be the whole her.  I am excited for her.  Bravo!!!

As a mother to a straight and gay child I ask how would you think you would handle this situation if it were to present itself in your home?

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