Bruce Jenner, a former world-renowned track and field athlete better known in recent years from the reality TV shows of his step-daughters, the Kardashian sisters, described a lifelong struggle with gender identity in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer on Friday night.
"For all intents and purposes, I am a woman," Jenner said. "I was not genetically born that way ... as of now I have all the male parts. As of now we're different, but we still identify as female."
Jenner described trying on women's clothes and leaving the house in them in the 1950s, when he was eight or nine years old.
"Very lonely little boy," Jenner said. "I'm still a lonely big boy. I don't socialize a lot. ... When you deal with this issue, you don't fit in."
Jenner took hormones for five years in the 1980s after the breakup of his second marriage, as well as getting facial surgery, and electrolysis to remove his facial hair.
Sawyer asked Jenner why now felt like the right time to make his struggle public.
"I just can't pull the curtain any longer," Jenner said. "Bruce lives a lie; She is not a lie," Jenner said, referring to the female identity he is embracing.
Sawyer said this would be the last interview Jenner would give as Bruce, but that he was still most comfortable with male pronouns.
Jenner also says he always has been and will continue to be attracted to women.
"I'm not gay; as far as I know I'm heterosexual," Jenner said. "I've never been with a guy."
NPR's Frank DeFord wrote earlier this week about his experience covering Jenner's drive at Olympic gold during the 1976 Montreal games, where he saw hints of Jenner's careful management of his public persona.
"As the public awaits his presumed revelations, Jenner is still invariably and glibly identified by his paternal connection to the Kardashian clan. It's presented almost anecdotally that he won the gold medal for the Olympic decathlon — the 10-event classic of track and field athleticism — in 1976. But back then, he was a glorified champion and called 'the world's greatest athlete.'
"Today, few people even know what the decathlon is, but I was with Jenner in Montreal that summer, writing about him when his new life began as the champion.
"Jenner knew that Olympic gold medalists had one brief chance at cashing in. So he carefully plotted his path as if he were to win the gold. That context can help us to understand how savvy he is in approaching what appears to be a second great upheaval in his life: his alleged transition to becoming a woman."