I had the chance to read People Magazine’s cover article about Bruce Jenner’s transition. As reported earlier today, last night I attended a talk by renowned transgender activist and Navy SEAL, Kristin Beck. Beck’s story was briefly highlighted in Bruce’s 20/20 interview, in which he made the announcement that he’s transitioning to a woman. Beck told an audience of a couple of hundred people that she wished Jenner would just “come out and be a hero” instead of parceling out information about his transition for financial gain. (As far as we know, Jenner was not paid for his 20/20 interview although her point was that he is saving information for his reality show.) To be clear: Beck was asked a direct question about what she hasn’t said to the press about Jenner. She believed she was making these statements to an audience of mostly military personnel and cadets. While I did obtain permission to publish her comments, she did not intend to publicly shame Jenner or call him out and she did call him her “hero”.
The People article attempts to explain why Jenner is somewhat gradually coming out. It must be frustrating for those in the trenches of the transgender movement, but Jenner has personal (as well as monetary) reasons for revealing his transition in stages. According to People, his older kids and two first wives are understanding of his transition, but his most recent ex- wife, Kris, his youngest two daughters and some of the other Kardashians are still coming to terms with everything. (He’s said on 20/20 that Khloe is definitely struggling.) Here are some excerpts from the print article pertaining to Kris, with much more in the print edition. People has more online about the divide between the Kardashians and Jenners.
Sources say the Kardashian matriarch never grasped the implications of what her future husband was saying [about his gender identity]. “She never knew Bruce wanted to be a woman,” insists the Kardashian source. “She thought he had a little quirk, and he asked her to keep it secret all those years, so she did.”
In fact, even before they wed, the Jenner insider says, Kris reached out to Bruce’s two ex-wives… “Kris assured them that she knew about ‘the issue,'” says the source. “She tried to reassure them that this was just a phase and he was over it now. She was aware his body had changed, she knew he [had been] pursuing gender reassignment. But she thought it was just a phase and that she could ‘fix’ him.” It was only after years of marriage that “it started coming to the surface more for Bruce,” says the Kardashian source. “That’s when things started to unravel…”
Although Jenner had taken hormones for years, undergone full body electrolysis and even told her about some of his feelings, Kris “had no idea it was this deep,” says a Kardashian source. “Bruce is a bit of a loner and kept it to himself. It because a ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ sort of thing. When Jenner did reveal the truth, “it shook her,” he revealed to Sawyer.
[From People Magazine, print edition, May 11, 2015]
As Kaiser reported yesterday, Kris was full of lies when she tried to claim that ABC never contacted her for a comment about Bruce. She was contacted, ABC confirmed that, and she decided not to say anything until after the fact, when she was supportive. Maybe she’s too close to the situation, maybe she is still in denial and her feelings are too raw. This is something that’s hard to fault her for on one hand, because it must be an incredibly difficult situation. On the other hand Kris is one of the most media-savvy women in the business and she knew about this for years and chose to ignore it. Even if she was hurt and upset, she knew that this interview was coming and she could have been more supportive. With Kris, you wonder if she’s more upset that she’s not in control of the story, though.
Here’s a photo that Bruce’s second wife, Linda Thompson, Instagrammed of Bruce with her and his first wife, Chrystie Scott. Linda revealed that her Huffington Post essay is an excerpt from her upcoming memoir. Like Linda, Chrystie has had many positive things to say about Bruce.