Monday, April 27, 2015

Thank you Bruce Jenner

On Friday, April 24, 2015, Bruce Jenner ended long standing conjecture and confirmed that he* is transgender. Jenner is known to some (me) from his remarkable performance in the 1976 Olympic decathlon, and others from his Kardashian connection. In an interview with Diane Sawyer he talked about his life, his knowledge of his true identity, and the pressures of society and family which caused him to keep his true identity a secret.

Awareness of transgender people has grown in recent years – much of the publicity about young people, and all too much of that tragic. Jenner told the world (16.9 million viewers) about the issues and struggles facing those who transitioned later in life.

Many of us in Jenner’s generation (which includes me) lived much of our lives hiding who we really are, sometimes from ourselves, and Jenner’s willingness to share his story with so many is an act of great courage.

Integrity USA has long supported equality for transgender people. In 2012, in preparation for the General Convention, Integrity USA produced and distributed “Voices of Witness: Out of the Box”, a documentary about the lives of a number of transgender persons in the Episcopal Church – both laity and clergy. At General Convention, we supported two resolutions which added gender identity and expression to the non-discrimination canons. We made our support known through conversations with deputies and with testimony at committee hearings. The Rev. Carla Robinson, a deputy, spoke on the convention floor in the House of Deputies. (Both resolutions passed.)

I can speak for the Integrity USA Board of Directors when I say, “Thank you, Bruce Jenner” and may God bless and support you as you continue your journey.

*Jenner used the name Bruce and male pronouns in the interview, so I have done the same for this article.

The Rev. Carolyn Woodall
Chair, Stakeholder Council and Board Member
Integrity USA

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