After Friday night’s Diane Sawyer interview with former Olympian Bruce Jenner, the fact that he is transgender and identifies as a woman was for all intents and purposes the anti-climax of the interview. Those who have been following Bruce over the last year or so were not at all surprised when he said, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman…I was not genetically born that way and as of now I have all the male parts… But I still identify as female.” Just days before the interview, photos of Bruce Jenner in a dress were published, but that did not take anything away from the interview. His plans to undergo gender reassignment, although some cast as a “publicity stunt” for the show Keeping Up With The Kardashians is not the topic of conversation following the interview either.
What was the big bombshell announcement of the interview? What revelation is all the post-interview buzz about? Well, it seems that being transgender, a former Olympian, a reality TV show star and transitioning from male to female are not near as noteworthy as being a Conservative Republican and Christian in Malibu. Celebrities and social media were launched on an emotional roller coaster trying to be supportive of his gender identity while simultaneously being confused, stunned or even outraged by his conservative politics and self-proclaimed Christianity. The dreaded “R-word” seemed to be the focal point of much of the turmoil. It would seem that “coming out” as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender is something to be celebrated in the name of tolerance and acceptance. “Coming out” as a Christian Republican however does not seem to be so well tolerated in the entertainment world.
Although Bruce said “I’ve just never been a big fan” of President Obama, Jenner did said: “He actually was the first one to say the actual word transgender, I will certainly give him credit for that.” Before the end of the interview, the Log Cabin Republicans (the LGBT wing of the Republican Party) tweeted that it “Welcomes Bruce Jenner as Out, Transgender Republican.” The group’s national executive director Gregory T. Angelo said later in a statement, “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.”
Nielsen estimates that 16.9 million viewers watch the interview.