Understanding Bruce Jenner as a Genderbread Person

This past Friday, Diane Sawyer interviewed Bruce Jenner for 20/20, and she received rave reviews for her respectful approach to the topic of transgenderism. It was a refreshing conversation, especially after so many months of tabloid headlines about what Jenner looks like in a dress, and whether or not Jenner will keep his* penis. In fact, 20/20 announced, via Twitter, that “genitals don’t equal gender.” The 20/20 special also went to great pains to ensure they weren’t equating gender identity with sexual orientation. None of which should come as breaking news to a lot of people, though it probably does.

Of course, one sensitive interview with one reporter taking time to actually listen can’t change transgender stereotypes overnight. We’re sure plenty of people — including, perhaps, your parents — are still rolling their eyes over the whole thing. So it seems as good a time as any to revisit the awesome Genderbread Person illustration, now in a fancy-pants 3.2 version (see above). FYI, the 3.2 version now separates romantic and sexual attraction.

For anyone who still claims not to “get” transgenderism, show them the above illustration, courtesy of ItsPronouncedMetrosexual.com. For suggested talking points, the original Genderbread blog post here and the 3.0 blog post here might help. It’s an amazingly simple, astonishingly effective illustration, in our experience. To break it down: Bruce Jenner’s biological sex (the purple bit) is male. His identity (the brain bit) is female. And, gradually, over the coming months and years, his expression (the dotted line) is likely to become increasingly feminine. All of which is completely unrelated to the red heart — who he is romantically and sexually attracted to. Simple, right? Something even a fifth grader could understand.

And if, after all this, someone still doesn’t “get it”? Eh, we guess not everyone can be smarter than a fifth grader.

* Bruce Jenner has yet to announce a female name, or to request that he be referred to as she. As soon as that happens, we will switch over.


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