Former Olympian Bruce Jenner makes it official

by Staff |

(REUTERS/Steve Marcus)Bruce Jenner arrives at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas April 5, 2009.

LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) — Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner has reportedly told his family, ex-wife Kris Jenner, and close friends that he will be transitioning into a woman, according to People magazine. The Kardashians have pledged their support to him, and in the vein of his TV reality star children, the former track and field athlete will be documenting is being called his "journey."

"Bruce told them everything – where things stood, what his plans were for the future, and what everyone could expect," a source identified by People as a "family insider" told the magazine. "Everyone basically knew what was up, but it was still a shock to hear it outlined so explicitly."

"They all came around pretty quickly, but each of them had to process it in their own way," the alleged insider continued. "All they want is for him to be happy."

However, happiness and peace after the transition may be difficult to come by when scientific studies regarding sexual reassignment are taken into account.

In a long-term study by the prestigious Karolinska Institute in Sweden that followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery, researchers found transgender individuals began to experience increasing mental difficulties about 10 years after having the surgery. Notably, this cohort experienced a suicide mortality rate almost 20 times more than the non-transgender population.

Paul R. McHugh, the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975–2001, said that it is even more difficult for families to confront the issue which is a "mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention."

"The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription," he said.

Nevertheless, Jenner is apparently looking to make his transition a public affair. Buzzfeed reported that he revealed his transgender intentions in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC, and he has teased a "public awareness campaign" on his website.

Kim Kardashian hinted to TV program "Entertainment Tonight" last week that Jenner was "going through" something.

"I feel like that's his journey to talk about," she said.

Jenner has six children from his three marriages: son Burt, 36, and daughter Casey, 34, from his first nuptials with Chrystie Crownover; sons Brandon, 33, and Brody, 31, from his second marriage to actress Linda Thompson; and Kendall, 19, and Kylie, 17, from his most recent vows to Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner, whom he divorced. Bruce also considers himself father to Kris's four children, Kourtney, 35, Kim, 34, Khloé, 30, and Rob, 27.

Reuters contributed to this report.