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Here's what you actually need to know about the Bruce Jenner story

The reality star has been at the centre of speculation recently, but what do we actually know?

OVER THE PAST number of months, the internet has been rife with speculation over whether Bruce Jenner is transitioning from male to female.

The speculation comes amid sightings of Bruce sporting longer hair and manicured nails, as well as reports that he underwent surgery to smoothen his Adam’s Apple.

It’s important to note that the 65-year-old former Olympian has neither confirmed nor denied any of these reports, but several media outlets are now reporting that he will soon discuss his transition in a televised interview with journalist Diane Sawyer.

For the time being, here is what is being reported.

His mother has reportedly confirmed that he is transitioning

In an interview with Radar Online, Esther Jenner stated that Bruce Jenner was transitioning.  She told the online publication that she recently learned of the transition and was “proud” of him.

Bruce filled me in, and we had a very long, long, long talk about it. I have never been more proud of Bruce for who he is, himself as a father, as an Olympian, a wonderful public speaker. He instills enthusiasm in people. He’s gifted.

Kim Kardashian also vaguely addressed the speculation

Rihanna's 1st Annual Diamond Ball Source: AP/Press Association Images

In an interview with ET, Kardashian said that her stepfather was the “happiest” she had ever seen him and would tell his story when the time is right.

I think everyone goes through things in life, and I think that story and what Bruce is going through, I think he’ll share whenever the time is right. I feel like that’s his journey to talk about.

Jenner will reportedly discuss his transition with journalist Diane Sawyer

Walter Cronkite Memorial Source: AP/Press Association Images

The reality star and former Olympian has reportedly selected Diane Sawyer to conduct a sit-down interview with him on his transition. People reports that it’s still unclear as to when the interview will take place or air.

A reality series is apparently in the works

2011 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game - Los Angeles Source: AFF/EMPICS Entertainment

People reports that a Jenner has given the go-ahead for a reality series documenting to air on E! later this year. Citing unnamed sources, the magazine reports that the series will air after the current season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians wraps.

Many have come in for criticism for their handling of the story

Several media outlets have been criticised for their insensitive treatment of what is a highly personal story.

First, In Touch Weekly was admonished for this doctored magazine cover, which many deemed offensive.

Then Transparent creator Jill Soloway came in for criticism for sharing this image. (Transparent is an award-winning Amazon series that follows a family coming to grips with their father coming out as transgender.)

She later apologised.

Bruce Jenner has not said he is transitioning; his identity is his to share and no one else’s to determine. … I made a mistake; it was horrible judgment. My complacency is checked and it won’t happen again. Please accept my apology.

In the wake of such lapses, several have cautioned against treating the matter as gossip fodder and urged media to deal with it in a respectful manner.

Why? Because (a) it’s a personal matter and (b) such gossip can have potentially huge ramifications for people coming to terms with their gender identity.

As Parker Marie Molloy writes in Slate:

 Gossiping about someone’s gender identity sends a message to the thousands—or even millions—of people trying to come to terms with their self-conception: You are a freak; you are inherently scandalous.

The lesson?

Be respectful and conscious of the fact that any announcement is Jenner’s to make and Jenner’s only. Everything else is just unconfirmed gossip.

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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