Caitlyn Jenner Chose Her New Name By Polling Pals, Making Lists

Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair writer Buzz Bissinger said that Caitlyn Jenner chose her new name by making lists and polling her friends. Annie Leibovitz

Call her Caitlyn — yes, with a "C"! When Bruce Jenner made the brave decision to transition to Caitlyn Jenner, her new name was buzzed-about almost as much as her transition itself. On Monday, June 1, the world learned that Jenner had chosen Caitlyn to personify the woman known previously only as "her."

As Vanity Fair writer Buzz Bissinger told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on June 2, Jenner took great care when selecting her new name. "She made a list of names, had a close friend make a list of names. Caitlyn was on both, and folks, it's Caitlyn with a C," Bissinger said.

Working with Jenner, 65, since February on the VF cover story and Annie Leibovitz photo shoot, Bissinger explains that even he, a veteran journalist who's won a Pulitzer and penned Friday Night Lights, felt the gravity of this cultural moment in time. "When I started this story in February it was Bruce. It was the Bruce Jenner I remember, 1976 winning the decathlon … and literally on March 15 he went in for 10 hours of plastic surgery and that was the end of Bruce as we know him and now it's Caitlyn. It's bizarre," the journalist admitted. "You're seeing a man and then you're seeing a woman."

In Vanity Fair's cover story, Bissinger writes that Jenner experienced a massive panic attack following her facial-feminization surgery in spring 2015. "What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?" Jenner told VF of her first thoughts post-surgery. Later, Jenner invited a counselor from L.A.'s Gender Center to her home to reassure her that her reactions were likely induced by pain medication.

Caitlyn wasn't the only member of the Jenner family harboring doubts. As Bissinger told GMA, the Olympian's sons worried her coming out would attract too much negative attention. There was concern expressed, 'Are you making this into a spectacle? Are you going to draw bad attention to yourself?'" the journalist confirmed. "They were asked to participate in his reality series, docu-series, and the kids said 'No.' They said, ‘No, Dad, we want you to have a legacy that is equal to that of Muhammad Ali, of an athlete who made cultural change. Don't destroy that.'"

Jenner's children — including Brody, Brandon, and Cassandra, and Burt from previous marriages — have since embraced her and her new life. "We were given this life because you were strong enough to live it! I couldn't be prouder!" Khloe Kardashian, whom Jenner raised with ex Kris Jenner, Instagrammed Monday in one of the family's many messages of support.

When Jenner accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on June 15 at the ESPYs, Bissinger said as many of Jenner's 10 children as can be will be there to support her. "I don’t think all 10 kids have been together in 20 years, so I hope it’s not like the Hatfield and the McCoys," Bissinger said. "Caitlyn was insistent basically, 'I want all 10 of my children there if they can be there. I want them to share in this moment.'"

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