Jenner-ation: Bruce’s Interview and Mainstream America

There’s been a lot of really awesome and important conversation happening since Bruce Jenner’s long-awaited interview with Diane Sawyer last Friday. More than 17 million viewers were tuned in as Ms. Jenner announced, “I’m a woman.”

For transgender folks, members of the LGBT community, and our allies, our discussions following this announcement have been passionate, thought-provoking, and oftentimes emotional. An explosion of articles and social media posts have come out in the last few days, each important to the overall conversation of what it means to be a transgender person (and more specifically, a trans woman):

But more importantly – what we’re seeing is the general public is starting to have a much greater awareness about transgender lives and issues, and they’re joining in that conversation, too. And Bruce Jenner is partially to thank.

It’s a Jenner-ation: for many Americans alive today, Bruce was the world’s former greatest athlete. For the Baby Boomers, he was their Olympic star and a household name, an all-American hero after winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon.

People who previously never knew a trans person, especially older adults, now can say they do, however indirectly. Bruce is arguably the highest profile American to come out as trans. And her candid and incredibly open interview was considered by many to be a great success and turning point, which leaves our community with the hope that she has paved the way for greater understanding and support by the general public.

Already we’re seeing effects, however small. After Jaime Foxx after he took a transphobic jab at Bruce Jenner, for example, people voiced their disgust with the joke online.

The interview has humanized the trans experience for many people. Awareness about trans inequality is growing, creating allies in the process.

2015 has become the year of transgender awareness, and Bruce Jenner has played an important and courageous role.

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