What a year! One day after celebrating her 66th birthday, Caitlyn Jenner was announced as one of Glamour’s Women of the Year on Thursday, Oct. 29.
The former Olympian — who had a monumental year after revealing her transgender identity and transitioning from male to female — was joined by a slew of powerful fellow female trailblazers. They include Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, ballerina Misty Copeland, designer Victoria Beckham, entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, health advocate Cecile Richards, the U.S. women’s national soccer team, and the five female “Peacemakers of Charleston” who were affected by the church massacre in South Carolina this past June.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive, told the Associated Press that she anticipated backlash from critics for her decision to include Jenner as a Woman of the Year. It “certainly gives you an appreciation for the hostility to the trans community that still exists out there,” she said. “We’re proud of that and we’re proud of what Caitlyn Jenner has done to illuminate what so many in the trans community go through.”
Jenner, a parent of six and four stepchildren, separately addressed the constant criticism surrounding her. “Where there is hateful chatter on Twitter, there is just as much, if not more, love and support,” Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner) told the AP via her rep. “We prefer to focus on the positive.”
Inside the issue, Jenner opened up about using her celebrity platform to do good. “I started thinking, Maybe this is why God put me on earth,” she told Glamour. “This issue has been swept under the rug for so long. I need to tell this story on the highest level you can possibly do it. Not just for me but for this entire community.”
It’s been quite the year for Jenner, who detailed her lifelong inner struggle to Diane Sawyer in a tell-all, sit-down interview this past April. In June, Caitlyn came out as a woman on the July 2015 cover of Vanity Fair, wearing nothing but a corseted bodysuit in a now-iconic Annie Leibovitz photo.
“If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life,'” she told VF‘s Buzz Bissinger at the time.
Following the big reveal, Cait starred in her own E! docuseries called I Am Cait, and accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs.
On Wednesday, she was overwhelmed with gratitude as she celebrated her first official year as a transgender woman. “Celebrating my 66th birthday with 66 special moments from this incredible year. I love you all!” Jenner wrote. She told Glamour that she was looking ahead.
“I am just excited about the future for the first time in a long, long time,” she revealed. “And that is a nice feeling to have…. To be honest with you, if the worst thing in the world that happens to you is you are trans, you’ve got it made.”
The December 2015 issue of Glamour will hit stands on Nov. 10. Previous Women of the Year include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Serena Williams, Chelsea Clinton, and Malala Yousafzai.