A friend just asked me what I thought of last night’s Diane Sawyer Bruce Jenner interview…
I was moved by Bruce Jenner’s courage and obvious pain. I have great compassion for anyone who feels they have had to pretend to be somebody they are not.
I fear he’s facing hard times ahead, as he is about to live as a woman. I wish the paparazzi, tabloids, and late night comedians would leave him alone…but I can’t imagine they will. I also hope his desire to make a genuine difference for other transgender people is not tainted by his association, past or present, with the publicity crazed Kardashians.
My only negative feelings came soon into the interview when he shared that he’d recently run into Russian Nikolay Avilov, whose record he broke during the 1976 Olympic Decathlon. With a huge smile on his face, Jenner gloats about Avilov’s appearance today, “He was overweight and out of shape. I won that battle, too.”
So, here is Jenner, asking people for understanding and tolerance as he transitions to being the woman he feels he has always been, but he doesn’t give a second thought to judging the now 66 year old Avilov as “a loser” because he doesn’t look like the athlete he was when he was in his 20’s. Jenner “wins” because he is thinner? Really?
People continue to amaze me! Talk about weight bias being the last bastion of judgment and stigma…and from a person who is asking for tolerance and understanding because he was born in a body that did not match how he feels about himself.
He says he wants “to be remembered as true to himself”. Does that include seeing himself as better than fat people and seeing fat people as losers???? In truth, in the middle of his gender identity struggle, I’m sure it never even crossed Bruce Jenner’s mind that his judgmental comment about another person’s body was intolerant, prejudicial, rude…or proof of weight-ism.
As his appearance changes, I hope people will treat him with less superficial judgment, more thoughtfulness and acceptance than he offered his former fellow athlete. I wish Jenner well…
I am Ellen Shuman and I am an anti-weight stigma advocate. I am also a pioneer in the field of binge eating disorder treatment; a Coach who specializes in helping people overcome binge eating, binge eating disorder, emotional eating, compulsive eating, and food addiction, founder of A Weigh Out Life Coaching & Members’ Circle, Acoria Binge Eating Disorder Treatment (1993-present). I am a Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (2011/2012), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org, 513-321-4242.