Bruce Jenner tells Diane Sawyer he's 'a woman for all intents and purposes'
Interview follows months of speculation that Olympic gold medallist is transitioning to a woman
Former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner says that "for all intents and purposes, I am a woman."
In a long-awaited interview televised Friday with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Jenner said he has always been confused about his gender identity. Early in the interview, Jenner took out his ponytail to let his long hair flow behind him.
"My brain is more female than it is male," said Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion who has been better known in recent years as part of television's omnipresent Kardashian family.
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Jenner said he hopes that speaking publicly about the gender issues would do some good in the world and vigorously denied that the interview was some sort of publicity stunt to promote the Kardashian reality TV show.
"If the Kardashian show gave me a foothold to do some good, I'm all for that," Jenner said.
Jenner said he self-identifies as "her," not a specific name. But he told Sawyer he felt comfortable using the pronouns "he" and "him," a designation that is an important issue for many in the transgender community.
As a young boy, Jenner felt an urge to try on his mother's and sister's dresses.
"I didn't know why I was doing it," he said. "It just made me feel good."
Jenner said he told his first two wives about the gender confusion, and it was a factor in the breakup of his second marriage. During the 1980s, he began taking hormones, had surgery to make his nose smaller and was having hair removed from his face and chest.
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Jenner said he has never been sexually attracted to men, and he wanted to make clear to viewers that gender identity and sexuality were separate things.
"I am not gay," Jenner said. "I am, as far as I know, heterosexual. I've always been with a woman, raising kids."
Jenner said he's gone back to say he was sorry to people in his life hurt by the gender identity issues.
"I've apologized to everybody," Jenner said. "I've apologized my whole life."
He fought back tears and reached for a tissue before the interview even began. Jenner said it was hard to talk about gender issues because of concerns about disappointing people.
'People look at me differently'
"People look at me differently," Jenner said. "They can see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul, and everything that I do in life, it is part of me, that female side is part of me. That's who I am."
Known to younger generations as the patriarch of reality TV's Kardashian clan, Jenner went on ABC's 20/20 to put to rest months of speculation that he was transitioning to life as a woman.
"I was not genetically born that way," Jenner said. "As of now, I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff. In a lot of ways we are different, OK? But we still identify as female. And that's very hard for Bruce Jenner to say. Because why? I don't want to disappoint people."
Neither Jenner nor his representatives have commented on a transition that has been widely rumoured and chronicled in magazine cover stories, including how his famous family was reacting to the transition.
Jenner has six biological children and four step-children in the Kardashian family through his ex-wife Kris Jenner, the manager and mother of the stars in E! Entertainment's Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Jenner won the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal and broke the world record for points in the 10-event competition in which winners are given the unofficial title of "World's Greatest Athlete."
"It's going to be an emotional roller-coaster," Jenner said in an an earlier promo, expressing his trepidation. "But somehow, I'm going get through it."
Interview conducted before crash
Sawyer conducted the interview before Jenner was involved in an auto accident in which another motorist was killed.
Police said video showed him triggering the chain-reaction crash on a Malibu, Calif., highway on Feb. 7, killing a 69-year-old woman.
Jenner passed a field sobriety test and also submitted a blood sample to determine whether he was intoxicated. He hasn't been charged with any offence in relation to the crash.
"This is a family love story," said Sawyer, who conducted several long conversations with Jenner and his family over several days.
With files from Reuters