Today marks the start of a new chapter for Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner. Having chosen Vanity Fair magazine to showcase her completed transition, and to open up about why now is absolutely the right time.
The article is accompanied by a stunning photographic set shot by Annie Leibovitz over two days, but aside from the amazing photographs that show Caitlyn looking like a hollywood pin-up, lets not forget that there’s a real story of personal struggle behind those glossy images.
In the feature written by Buzz Bissinger, Caitlyn opens up about the feeling of relief when the secret was finally out. Talking about the last few days of her transition, Caitlyn compares it to winning the gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics as Bruce.
“That was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . . This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”
Jenner opens up about her fears and doubts after undergoing a ten hour facial feminisation procedure, something her counsellor advised her was “entirely normal” for people going through this transition. (Jenner also reveals that she has not had gender reassignment surgery)
Jenner discusses her children and admits that as Bruce, he made mistakes, particularly with Burt, Cassandra, Brandon and Brody, and talks about periods of absence from their lives which he wished that he could change, talking about the future, Jenner says that she hopes that Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce was and seems hopeful.
Jenner says that her children have been amazing and supportive throughout the transition and that she couldn’t have hoped for a better family to go through it with. Behind the scenes, before the story was played out in the media, each of Jenner’s children, including Kendall and Kylie were told of what to expect and how it would unfold in real time so each had time to adjust before the media grabbed the story and ran with it.
She talks about their support and how it drove her on to complete her transition and made her less afraid. Talking about her eldest daughter Cassandra, she tells Bissinger that she first introduced Cassandra to Caitlyn at a scheduled “Girls Night” and how although nervous at first, that melted away almost immediately.
So what’s next for Caitlyn Jenner? Well there’s a docu-series / reality show charting her transition set to air on E! this Summer (Jenner’s children won’t feature as part of the show). The show will see her trying to focus on ways of lowering the rates of suicide and attempted suicide in the transgender community. She’s already prepared for the public backlash and cries of ‘publicity stunt’ saying:
“‘Oh, she’s doing a stupid reality show. She’s doing it for the money. She’s doing this, she’s doing that.’ I’m not doing it for money. I’m doing it to help my soul and help other people. If I can make a dollar, I certainly am not stupid. [I have] house payments and all that kind of stuff. I will never make an excuse for something like that. Yeah, this is a business. You don’t go out and change your gender for a television show. O.K., it ain’t happening. I don’t care who you are.”
Rather heartbreakingly, Jenner tells Bissinger that as Bruce, he was “always telling lies” but that Caitlyn is a clean slate and there’s nothing but truth. Jenner wants to use this as an opportunity to live the life he believes he was meant to lead
“I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live, I’m not doing this so I can hit it off the women’s tee!”
Lets not forget that Bruce Jenner lived with this agonising secret for 65 long years, unable to live the life that he wanted to lead. So before you think about trolling, or posting abuse, or poking fun, just don’t. If this is what it takes for Caitlyn Jenner to be happy then the surgery and everything else has been worth it and looking at the images, it was worth the wait. Caitlyn Jenner, I salute you, you brave, gorgeous woman.
Vanity Fair, the Caitlyn Jenner issue hits news stands June 9th and is available to download via the app store.