Kit Steinkellner
Updated Apr 24, 2015 @ 11:34 pm

Last night we watched Bruce Jenner’s long-anticipated interview with Diane Sawyer in which Bruce addressed the rumors about his gender identity. In the interview, Jenner revealed that, though assigned the sex of male at birth, Jenner identifies as female.

In Jenner’s own words:

“Yes, for all intents and purposes, I am a woman. People look at me differently. They see me as a macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life — it is part of me, that female side is part of me, that’s who I am. I was genetically born that way.”

Jenner revealed much in the interview, and in doing so we learned some powerful lessons from this thoughtful and resilient public figure.

1.) When it comes to gender identity, we absolutely have to be respectful and let an individual be as public or private as they want to be

After the paparazzi made Jenner’s tracheal shave a front-page tabloid story, and got the rumor mill going about Jenner’s gender identity, Jenner was so traumatized by the incident, he contemplated suicide.

“That night, I thought, ‘It’s over.’ I was in this walking up and down this hall back and forth all night long. Heart pounding,” Jenner told Sawyer. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t the easiest thing to do right now is go in the other room, get a gun. Pain is over. Done. Go to a better place.'”

Of course, Jenner did not choose self-harm that night, and for that we are all so grateful and relieved.

“I thought, ‘I can’t do something like that. I want to know how this story ends.”

2.)When it comes to a gender transition, a person transitioning does not owe the world details

Though Jenner agreed to an interview with Sawyer, Jenner did not tell all. When asked if Jenner has chosen a new name or is considering sex reassignment surgery, Jenner answered in the affirmative, but refused to get into specifics.

“Those are all things that are out there in the future for me to explore,” Jenner explained. “I would do it so quietly, no one in the world would ever know.”

3.)You can take your life experience and use it to educate and help others

“I would like to work with this community to get this message out,” Jenner told Sawyer.”We’re going to make a difference in the world with what we’re doing.

“I had this feeling, kind of a revelation, that maybe this is my cause in life.This is why God put me on this earth … to deal with this issue.”

4.) No matter where you fall on the gender spectrum, you are the one who gets to define yourself

“I’m me,” Jenner said, a little teary. “I’m a person and this is who I am… My brain is much more female than it is male. It’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is.”

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