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Bruce Jenner Clarifies Gender Identity vs. Sexuality in Diane Sawyer Interview: “It’s Apples and Oranges”

Bruce Jenner
Bruce Jenner spoke with Diane Sawyer about the issue of gender identity vs. sexual orientation, saying, "I am, as far as I know, heterosexual"

Bruce Jenner is shining a light on what it means to be transgender — and with that come a lot of questions. As the former Olympian revealed to Diane Sawyer in a history-making 20/20 interview on Friday, April 24, he identifies as female, and has for as long as he can remember. But gender identity is not the same as sexuality. (Note: Per Sawyer, Jenner has said that, at this point in time, we should still use the pronounds "he" and "him.")

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Following his admission that he has "the soul of a female," Sawyer asked him to clarify what that meant for his romantic life. "You understand people are baffled, confounded," she began. "If you're assigned male, and you become female, but you like women, are you a lesbian? Are you a heterosexual?" 

"No, I'm not gay," the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star replied. "I am not gay. I am, as far as I know, heterosexual." He further clarified: "I've never been with a guy — I've always been married, raising kids, doing all that kind of stuff."

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Indeed, Jenner has been wed three times, to Chrystie Crownover, Linda Thompson, and Kris Kardashian. Crownover, in fact, was the first one he told about his true self. "I didn't go heavily into it back then," he explained to Sawyer. "I said, 'These are my issues, this is what I deal with'…I never really hardcore said, 'Look, I don't know if I'm going to make it in this male gender here my entire life.'"

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Now that he's going public with his story, Jenner understands there will be questions. But he stresses that his gender identity and sexual orientation are two separate issues. 

"You're going back to the sex thing, and it's apples and oranges," he told Sawyer. "There's two different things here. Sexuality is who you personally are attracted to — who turns you on. But gender identity has to do with who you are as a person and your soul and who you identify with inside."

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Sawyer cited an oft-repeated idiom to further clarify the issue: "Sexual orientation is whom you go to bed with. Gender identity is whom you go to bed as."

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