Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner transitioning into a woman. As the patriarch of reality television's most popular family, Jenner had seemingly displayed every aspect of her life to the world since the Keeping Up With The Kardashians premiere in 2007. But beneath her charming personality and lighthearted jokes, she had been concealing a big secret for years. Since Jenner had been a teenager, she repressed feelings of confusion over her gender identity that later came to light in her marriage and ultimately lead to her decision to become female. We can't imagine how difficult and brave it must have been to announce a sex change knowing that millions of people around the world would be watching.
Since her debut as Caitlyn, Jenner has embarked on an impressive media tour highlighting LGBT issues and becoming an outspoken advocate for trans rights and issues. People across the globe have commended her for the honesty, candor and courage she has displayed since making a decision she had battled throughout the 65 years of her life. She has signed with the Creative Artists' Agency's speakers department, is collaborating with the CAA Foundation, currently has a docu-series named I Am Caitlyn airing about her transition and was recently given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 ESPY Awards. Read on for Caitlyn Jenner's 10 steps to becoming a woman.
10 Feeling Discomfort
Growing up in New York and Connecticut, Caitlyn was an avid athlete who enjoyed playing football competitively and did well in sports. In recent interviews, Caitlyn has said that she felt uncomfortable in her own skin growing up as a male and thought that throwing herself into physical activity would help distract her from constantly feeling she was born as the wrong sex. After suffering an injury, she switched over to decathlon training and trained every day to push aside her growing confusion about her gender orientation. Jenner went on to win the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and was celebrated for her masculine capabilities, all while feeling as though she might be meant to be a woman.
9 Juggling Gender Roles
In 1991, Jenner married infamous reality matriarch Kris Kardashian and went on to become step-father to her four children from a previous marriage and have two children of her own with her. On a recent episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians about Jenner's transition called "All About Bruce", his daughters revealed that they had more than once found cosmetics and women's accessories in Jenner's belongings while growing up, leading them to believe she was having an affair. In reality, Jenner had been cross-dressing in private during her marriage to Kris and would practice painting her nails and putting on makeup. These rituals allowed her to experience what it felt like to be a woman and helped her understand the gender confusion she was feeling.
8 Hiding and Experimenting
As her children grew up and her marriage to Kris deteriorated, Jenner moved into a secluded beach house in Malibu sometime in 2013. The gated property offers complete privacy from neighbours and visitors have to drive up a long road before getting to the home. It was here that Jenner delved further into her experimentation with cross dressing and was able to hide her increasingly long hair and manicured nails from the paparazzi. She began hormone therapy and had facial feminization surgery and would retreat into her private hideaway in order to deal with and process the changes she was experiencing.
7 Making Her Decision
Soon after she began her estrogen treatments, Jenner inevitably came to the realization that she would have to be honest with her friends, family and the public and could not hide out in her Malibu beach home forever. After years of feeling uncomfortable with her gender and repressing her true feelings, Jenner decided that being happy in life would be worth all of the shocking press she'd receive. She was going to go public with her decision to transition into a woman. We can't imagine that her decision was easy, given that she belongs to one of the most famous reality television families on the planet.
6 Accepting Her Decision
While Jenner may have accepted her decision herself, she knew that the rest of the world may take time to understand and sympathize with her. She had started hormone therapy prior to meeting Kris Kardashian in 1991, but stopped when their relationship became more serious for Kris' sake. It is not known whether Kris knew about it at the time. She has also said that she wanted to wait for her kids to be grown up before thinking about transitioning, so that they could be prepared to handle the repercussions. All of these factors had to be taken into account by Jenner when deciding to finally go public with her choice and making sure that everybody around her would be ready for it. If she couldn't feel at peace with her own decision, nobody else would.
5 Telling Her Family
In the two-part "All About Bruce" special that was aired on the most recent season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Jenner sits down with her children and tells them of her decision to become a woman. Each of her children reacted differently the news, either lending Jenner their full support, accusing her of not being honest enough about her plans for the future and being saddened by the loss of Bruce. After having lived with Jenner for 20+ years, it was understandable that his children could not get a grasp on losing their paternal figure in favor of that male becoming a woman. Kris was also pictured getting very emotional, wondering if their marriage had been as strong as she had thought and saying it felt like she was experiencing a death.
4 Allowing Her Family To Acclimatize
Jenner understood that her family would not get used to her decision to transition overnight and made sure to spend time with them one on one so that they could ask her questions and become more informed about her history of gender confusion. She allowed her daughters to see the closet where she kept her feminine clothing and even asked them for tips on what they liked and what they didn't like. She also had long talks with each of them and explained that she would always be the same person deep down and that they shouldn't feel like they were losing anything.
3 Preparing For Her Public Debut
Jenner knew that the public would be holding a microscope to her every move when she officially came out, so she hired a stylist and a glamour team ahead of time to ensure that she would always look presentable. She lined up interviews with trusted media personalities who she felt would convey her story properly and let her family know exactly when the news would break so that there wouldn't be any surprises. The public had already been swirling with gossip after spotting Jenner out and about looking increasingly feminine and sporting painted nails. But those closest to her didn't utter a word until they knew she was fully ready to talk about it.
2 Officially Coming Out
In April of 2015, Jenner officially came out to the world in a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, opening up about her gender dysphoria and stating that "for all intents and purposes, I'm a woman." The interview was met with incredible support from the public. She then posed on the cover of Vanity Fair in June, next to the caption "Call me Caitlyn". Dressed in a simple white one piece corset, Jenner stares confidently into the camera and appears happily at ease now that she is at last herself.
1 Continuing On Her Journey
Since coming out, Jenner has been swooped up in a whirlwind of media appearances, guest speaker engagements and award ceremonies. The whole idea of being a woman is still new to her and it's impressive to watch her wardrobe and mannerisms evolve. After wrapping the Vanity Fair cover shoot, Jenner had gender reassignment surgery and is now physically as much of a woman as she has ever felt mentally. But as all of us females know, our journey is never complete. We're always learning about our bodies, emotions and feelings. So to say that Jenner has reached her final step in becoming a woman would be incorrect - because we're always growing.
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