In honor of Pride Month, Caitlyn Jenner, 70, is opening up on her past struggles with gender identity.
In an essay for Women’s Health magazine, Jenner revealed that she “ignored” her gender issues as much as possible while prepping for the 1976 Olympics. She admitted, “It was always present. When you suffer from gender dysphoria, it’s not something you can take two aspirin for, get plenty of sleep, wake up the next morning, and everything’s fine. You’re just kind of stuck with it. I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t know what was going on with me.”
In addition, Jenner was dealing with dyslexia. She noted, “It was also my dyslexia and gender issues that made me an Olympic champion. I channeled my struggles to drive and push me. Now, I see those issues as my gift. I needed sports more to prove to myself that I could be good at something, and I worked a little harder than I think I would have if I hadn’t been struggling.”
Recalling her childhood, when she would sneak into her mother’s and sister’s closets to try on their clothes, Caitlyn said, “It wasn’t until I was 63 years old looking back and realizing I was dealing with the same issues I had when I was 9 that I wondered, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ I finally got the guts to tell my story. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it took a long time.”
Caitlyn came out as transgender in 2015.
“When I was young, I felt I couldn’t do anything about my gender dysphoria. Back then, I could never have envisioned a future for myself as happy as I am now,” Caitlyn added. “I never thought that someday I would be able to live my life authentically. I thought I’d just have to deal with my identity my whole life… But now, I wake up in the morning, and I look in the mirror, and everything finally feels like it’s in the right place. I’m not struggling anymore. I’m happy.”
Jenner is choosing to live life without any regrets. Reflecting on her past as Bruce Jenner, she said, “I was fortunate to have six genetic children and four stepchildren. I also had wonderful women in my life. I spent the majority of my life raising children and working, and I have no regrets about that.”
For more, visit WomensHealthMag.com.