Bruce Jenner’s decision to speak out about his struggle to come to terms with his gender identity has been hailed as brave and courageous by the transgender community. The 65-year-old Olympian sat down with Diane Sawyer for an interview, which aired Friday night on ABC, to publicly announce that he has the "soul of a female."
Jenner’s announcement is being viewed as a key moment for the transgender community, and comes amid increasing visibility of transgender people in American society. Jenner expressed optimism in the interview, saying, "what I'm doing is going to do some good" and spoke out about becoming involved in transgender activism.
Mara Keisling, the executive director of National Center for Transgender Equality, praised the star’s move, saying this would now be a bridge for millions of Americans to understand “the truth behind the struggles of being transgender in 2015 America.”
“In one of the most profound displays of bravery and courage I’ve seen, Bruce Jenner has finally stepped out into the world for real,” Keisling said, according to Variety. “To Jenner, welcome. To Jenner’s family, thank you for your touching and compassionate support. And to America, let’s all push past this trans tipping point together and change the world. We extend our deepest thanks and welcome to him.”
Log Cabin Republicans, an organization that advocates equal rights for gays and lesbians in the U.S., welcomed Jenner to the community, saying, “there is a home for you in Log Cabin Republicans -- as there is for all lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender conservatives and straight allies.”
“As the nation’s only organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies, Log Cabin Republicans congratulates Bruce Jenner in the tremendous courage he demonstrated tonight, being true to himself both in terms of his personal identity as well as his political identity,” Gregory T. Angelo, the organization's executive director, said in a statement.
GLAAD, an LGBT media monitoring and advocacy group, also supported Jenner and said that his story will help others express their gender identity without fear of discrimination.
"Today, millions of people learned that someone they know is transgender," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. "By sharing this story, Bruce Jenner has shined a light on what it means to be transgender and live authentically in the face of unimaginable public scrutiny. Though Jenner's journey is one that is deeply personal, it is also one that will impact and inspire countless people around the world."