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Manhattanville Students Support Bruce Jenner's Sex Change

Matt Pescanov hopes Bruce Jenner's celebrity will help younger athletes make the decision to undergo transition.
Matt Pescanov hopes Bruce Jenner's celebrity will help younger athletes make the decision to undergo transition. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Heather Batista and Matthew Torres talk about Bruce Jenner's upcoming 20/20 interview at the White Plains bus transit center.
Heather Batista and Matthew Torres talk about Bruce Jenner's upcoming 20/20 interview at the White Plains bus transit center. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – From Olympic gold medalist, to celebrity father to the eye of a media storm surrounding his gender, Mount Kisco native Bruce Jenner’s transformation has everyone talking, from Hollywood all the way to Westchester, where he was a student at Sleepy Hollow High School.

The 65-year-old father of six and stepfather to the Kardashians has reportedly undergone sex reassignment surgery to become a woman, with many more cosmetic surgeries along the way. He will lay rumors to rest and tell his story in a two-hour, ABC News 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer set to air on Friday, April 24, at 9 p.m.

“I think that the reaction will be, people will accept his decision,” said Matt Pescanov, a sophomore at Manhattanville College in Harrison. “In today’s day and age people are more accepting of other people’s decisions and sexuality.”

Pescanov, a trumpet player studying music, said he doesn’t know anybody who identifies as transgender.

“So, I don’t understand the decision,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a reason why he’s doing it.”

Heather Batista’s cousin transitioned from male to female and, she said, was lucky to have the support of her family.

“He, well, I should say she now is a lot happier,” Batista said, while waiting for a bus at the White Plains transit center. “Yea, it’s hard. But, if it’s truly who you are, then why not fight for it?”

The feeling that you were assigned the wrong gender at birth is called gender dysphoria.

Judy Troilo, executive director of The LOFT: LGBT Community Center in White Plains, told Daily Voice it takes, “significant bravery and strength to seek treatment and undergo transition.”

“For most people, the hardest part is making the decision to live as the person they truly are and the second biggest difficulty is in dealing with the reaction of others,” she said.

Manhattanville College freshman Anna Scherer, 18, said she found it noteworthy that Jenner would make this transition so late in life. But, she, along with her classmate Erica Smith, 18, said that she supports the decision.

“I think it sets a good example for people that don’t feel comfortable coming out,” Scherer said.

Troilo said she hopes the interview has a positive effect, dissolves stereotypes and encourages education and open dialog.

"Ultimately i'm happy that he is embracing his true identity and becoming the person he always felt he way," Madelyn Altamirano, of New Rochelle, said.

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