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Bruce Jenner: ‘I am a woman’

NEW YORK, NY (WRIIC) – After months of speculation, Bruce Jenner answered the question people everywhere have been wondering: Is the former Olympian turned reality TV star really transitioning to become a woman?

“For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,” Jenner confirmed in an exclusive 1-on-1 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that aired Friday night.

“People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life, it is part of me. That female side is part of me. That’s who I am.”

Throughout the interview, Jenner, who was one considered by many as the best athlete in the world, referred to himself using male pronouns such as ‘he,’ and ‘his,’ but also as “she” and “Bruce.”

“I look at it this way-Bruce always telling a lie. He’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can’t do that any longer,” Jenner said.

Jenner began by saying he had been thinking about this day “forever,” adding that he’s been confused with his gender identity since he was young.

The 65-year-old Jenner recalled a time during the 1950s when he was eight or nine and tried on one of his mother’s dresses when she was out of the home.In Pictures: CLICK HERE to view a slideshow of Bruce Jenner over the years.

“I marked the closet so when I put it back I could put it all back, everything back in the exact same spot so I wouldn’t get caught,” Jenner said. “And, at the time, I didn’t know why I was doing it besides it just made me feel good.”

Jenner also said that cross-dressing continued into his adult years. He talked about a time period where he was serving as a motivational and would use the privacy of hotel rooms to express what he felt within.

“I’d literally go up into the hotel room, change [into women’s] clothes, and walk around,” Jenner said.

Jenner said he hates being referred to as a female stuck in a male’s body.

“I’m me. I’m a person. This is who I am. I’m not stuck in anybody’s body. My brain is much more female than male.

“I was not genetically born that way; as of now I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff, so in a lot of ways we’re different, but we still identify as female. And that’s very hard for Bruce Jenner today. Why? I don’t want to disappoint people.”

Jenner revealed that he has only ever been attracted to women, although each of his three former wives knew aspects of his struggle. Jenner also recently informed his mother and 10 children (six biological and four step children).

Jenner, who has undergone several facial reconstructive surgeries, admitted to previously taking female hormone estrogen and said he has been for the past year-and-a-half.

Jenner would not confirm whether or not he planned on undergoing other operations, such as gender reassignment surgery.

“As of now, I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff, so in a lot of ways we’re different, okay?” Jenner said. “But we still identify as female. And that’s very hard for Bruce Jenner to say. Because why? I don’t want to disappoint people.”

There are an estimated 700,000 transgender people in the U.S., according to the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Jenner says he can no longer live in hiding.

“I just can’t pull the curtain any longer,” Jenner said. “I’ve built a nice little life, I just can’t-again, Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie. I just can’t do it anymore.

“If I die, which, I could be diagnosed next week with cancer – and boom you’re gone,” Jenner said. “I would be so mad at myself that I didn’t explore that side of me. You know? And I don’t want that to happen.”

During the final moments of the interview, Sawyer asks Jenner what he hopes people take away from his confession.

“To have an open mind and an open heart,” Jenner replied.