ENTERTAINMENT
12/06/2020 11:26 AM AEST

Caitlyn Jenner Reflects On Her Emotional Journey 5 Years After Coming Out

The former Olympian, who publicly identified as transgender in 2015, said she now sees herself politically as "economically conservative, socially progressive."

Caitlyn Jenner has a personal reason to celebrate this LGBTQ Pride Month, as 2020 marks five years since she came out as a transgender woman. 

The trans icon and former Olympian, 70, reflected on that milestone in a new interview with People, telling the magazine about the time she received an updated driver’s license after her 2015 transition. 

“It was so emotional,” Jenner said in the interview, published Wednesday. “There I was. Caitlyn Marie Jenner. ... I thought, what a great opportunity to change the world’s thinking; 51 percent of trans people attempt suicide. The murder rate — we’ve been losing one trans woman of color every two weeks.”

As far as coming out later in life, she said, “This is my journey. Yes, it is different than other trans people. I get it. But the bottom line is this: When I wake up in the morning, I’m happy with myself.”

Jenner publicly identified as transgender for the first time in an April 2015 “20/20” interview. That same year, she introduced herself as “Caitlyn” on the cover of the July issue of Vanity Fair along with an Annie Leibovitz photo series. 

“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. You never dealt with yourself,’” she said at the time. “And I don’t want that to happen.”

While advocacy groups applauded Jenner’s decision to live as her authentic self, she became a divisive figure in the LGBTQ community due to her conservative politics

She is a lifelong Republican and attended President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration. In the early months of Trump’s presidency, she said she met with Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, among other GOP lawmakers. 

In the intervening years, however, she has criticized the administration’s policies both in interviews and on social media. In a 2018 Vice profile, she deemed Trump “the worst president we have ever had” with regard to LGBTQ issues and suggested that she may not support his reelection campaign.

Jenner didn’t delve into specifics about politics in her chat with People, but she said that she’d “been wearing rose-colored glasses.”

Identifying herself as “economically conservative, socially progressive,” she added, “We need equality for all, regardless of who’s in the White House.”

The magazine also spoke with her daughter Kendall Jenner, who called her mother “inspiring then and inspiring now.”

“She’s been my role model since before I can even remember, from sports growing up to now with her wisdom,” she said. “She’s so brave and I aspire to be as brave as her one day.”