The same integrity that made him an Olympic hero makes him a champion of new kind today!
With over 17 million viewers anxiously watching Jenner share this news, he once again brought home the gold for America, only this time, instead of an Olympic gold medal, we cheered him on for exemplifying the gold standard of courage, truth and personal integrity.
Like so many of us hailing from the LGBT world, Jenner prepared for this moment for a lifetime. Mental anguish, confusion, anxiety, constant internal questioning, and covering his tracks was his daily workout regime for the last 65 years. But for all of that hardship, he once again stood (or in this case, sat) before us like a true champion and a role model of human excellence.
Of course, naysayers and opponents, confused and unable wrap their own heads around the world of transgenderism, quickly jumped to slurring Jenner's reputation, calling this another Kardashian-incited publicity stunt. To that I say, "Summon some courage and integrity yourself and look deeper (really listen!) to what this brave transwoman said!"
Jenner finally becoming "her" was no performance; it was truth-telling from the heart, which simply happened to play out in front of the cameras for the world to see.
And what did we see when we really set aside our judgments? We saw Bruce Jenner making all the right moves to finally step into the .01-ness of his DNA, which makes him uniquely him to the fullest.
For years, Bruce honored the 99.99% of his DNA that is identical to the rest of humans. He was a father, a husband three times over, a son, an athlete, a boy, a brother, and for all intents and purposes he was a pretty normal human being. OK, he was an extraordinary human, even stepping into the "World's Greatest Athlete" title.
But through all the glory of celebrity, that critical sliver of his .01-ness was hidden. A piece of himself, which is the herself that only Jenner was able to see, reflected deep in the crevices of his/her soul. Jenner walked this earth having a human experience that enabled him/her to do things right for everyone else ... until it became too painful, leading him/her to do what was right himself/herself.
Many have criticized Jenner as being a confused, deceitful celebrity just trying to make a buck. I have to agree with Jenner and ask, "Do you really think he would go through gender reassignment just to make a buck?" I think not.
In fact, I think Jenner did everything incredibly RIGHT on his journey to embracing (and now embodying) his transgender truth. Here are 5 ways he's shown incredible thoughtfulness, care and class while approaching this transition:
1. He respectfully towed the line.
Out of honor and respect for his parents, family, and adoring public, he lived his life in a way that made others comfortable with his identity—as a son, father, husband, sibling, star athlete. Despite the pain it caused him personally, for nearly his entire life, he didn't rock the boat of other people's perceptions or expectations. But make no mistake, this act alone is the epitome of "let me make you feel comfortable with me, even if that means I'm miserable in who I am." He shunned himself for others. That's a weight of obligation no soul should ever feel compelled to carry.
2. He used forthright honesty with his spouses.
Some might argue that he lied and was deceitful to Chrystie, Linda, and Kris. This is perhaps true from the onset of their relationships, as he admitted, but ultimately, Jenner came around and shared his truth with each of them so that he (and they) could face life with honesty—allowing each of them (Jenner and his spouses) their own journey, freeing each of them to live their lives as they want and as their hearts intend!
3. He parented with love and integrity.
Nothing is more loving than a parent who tries to protect their children from harm, hurt and pain. Jenner hid his truth from his children for a long time, but he did so out of love, compassion and caring for their well-being. Even in his hidden truth, he made room for his inevitable genuineness to come forth in a time and manner that would allow each of his children and step-children to grasp the truth with him by their side. He freely answers any and all questions they have to help them adjust to Dad is no longer Dad as we knew him.
4. He's refusing to let external form override his internal truth.
Biological sex dictated the path of Jenner's human form, while a female gender identity remained resolute in his heart, mind, and soul. For him, the two were mutually exclusive. For most of us, biological sex and gender identity are not mutually exclusive.
For most people, what you see in the mirror is a direct reflection of what you hear, see, and know in your head and your heart. Penis equals man, vagina equals woman. In Jenner's case, as in every transgender's case, the two do not match, and therefore, the external form needs some re-engineering to match the internal truth. Though life felt painful and challenging as Jenner grappled for a lifetime with the inconsistency of his external form not aligning with his inner gender identity, he never once lost sight of the soul of his inner "her."
5. He came out when he was ready.
Ideally, anyone who comes out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender does it exactly at the same time ... when they're ready. There is no magic potion or pill we take in order to declare, "Let's do it!" It's an internal nudging from the comfy couch of conformity that finally compels each one of us to say, "Enough is enough. It's time for me to live my truth!" For Jenner, his time was now—April 2015 on national TV.
What do you need to understand about Bruce Jenner and transgender people?
Gender identity—like skin color, intelligence, skill sets, etc.—exists on a SPECTRUM. If you strip away the confusion associated with trying to understand the specifics of sexuality, sex acts, and gender identity associated with your fellow humans, and simply take a shot at embracing others as humans for human sakes, what's the issue? None whatsoever!
When it becomes a "we're all just human" issue devoid of sexual orientation, biological sex, gender identity, or gender expression, the bottom line is that we're just, simply, people with different perspectives and different desires for a happy, fulfilling life.
In fact, if you take sex out of the equation and replace it with love—love for all mankind to remain who and what they are, in their own human form, in their own way—there's suddenly no need for coming out, or massive media coverage of an Olympic athlete who says, "I've always seen myself more as a woman, than a man."
What transpires is simply the truth—the truth of who you are, which is so much more powerful than pretending you're someone else. Thank you, Bruce Jenner for being a beacon of light and a true hero for all who will receive the light. You've reminded us how important it is "just being you."
Looking for more truth talks about coming out and being who you truly are in your life? Join Coming Out Coach Rick weekly on his insightful and thought-provoking podcast, The Coming Out Lounge where you'll hear inspiring stories and gain practical advice for stepping out, stepping up, and stepping into to living your authentic truth!