Caitlyn Jenner is arguably the world’s most prominent person to have transitioned from one gender to another, but the former Olympic gold medallist admits that the journey from Bruce to Caitlyn has been the most difficult thing she’s undertaken in her life.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s “Don’t Tell Me the Score” podcast, the 70-year-old athlete-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-trans-activist opened up about her 2015 transition.
“I trained 12 years for the Games. I trained 65 years to transition in 2015,” said the father of six. “It was harder to do, it was less accepted.”
Jenner’s popularity after the 1976 Olympics cannot be overstated, catapulting the athlete to a new level of celebrity that transcended having his face on a Wheaties box (which he did) but also saw him become a regular on talk shows and even embark on an acting career that had him in serious contention to star in “Superman” before the role ultimately went to Christopher Reeve.
“Everyone loved the Games, a lot of people when they see you transition hate your guts,” she declared. “Look at the quotes on Instagram. By far that was a lot more difficult.”
In hindsight, she sees that “a lot of the training was really running away from the issues I had. I remember getting up the next morning, didn’t have a stitch of clothes on, walking to the bathroom, medal sitting there on the table, put the medal around my neck, looking in the mirror and I go: What have you just done? Am I stuck with this person the rest of my life? Did you build up this person so big, that you’re stuck with him the rest of your life? It was scary.”
And while Jenner is finally living the life she’d always dreamed of, she admits it’s still no walk in the park.
“Has it been easy? Not even close,” she said. “I’ve raised about $2.6 million, given it away to trans organizations. A lot of them are extraordinarily appreciative of it. On the other hand, they’re having their big fundraiser and say, ‘Oh, please don’t show up, you’re too controversial.'”
However, Jenner has maintained her sense of humour throughout.
“I have the great double,” she quipped. “Olympic decathlon champion and Glamour’s Woman of the Year.”
You can hear the interview in its entirety right here.