Transgender community hopeful for Bruce Jenner interview

Carolyn Tyler Image
ByCarolyn Tyler KGO logo
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Transgender community hopeful for Bruce Jenner interview
The transgender community tells ABC7 News that they hope Bruce Jenner's upcoming exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer will bring acceptance of the condition known as gender dysphoria.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The transgender community will be watching Diane Sawyer's exclusive interview with Bruce Jenner on Friday with great interest. They tell ABC7 News that they're hoping it brings acceptance of the condition known as gender dysphoria.

Groundbreaking television shows like Amazon's "Transparent," and transgender actress Laverne Cox on the cover of Time magazine have made 2015 the year of the transgender movement.

And now, there's Bruce Jenner.

"When celebrities transition it can be good," said San Francisco resident Rae Raucci. "Because people identify with them and they understand."

Understanding is something Raucci didn't get a lot of when she transitioned from Richard to Rae in 2011.

"There's a lot of negative stereotypes about this type of thing," said Raucci.

READ MORE: SF transgender activist Theresa Sparks talks about upcoming Bruce Jenner interview

The San Franciscan's marriage of 18 years ended and she became estranged from her two adult sons.

Raucci said with a sigh, "There's a lot of difficulty with rejection."

But Raucci still wanted to help others like her, and created the nonprofit Transgender Emergency Fund.

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"When you start to transition is when you get the most crisis," Raucci said.

But for many in the transgender community, violence is still very much a big part of life. And so is the daily struggle for survival.

"We receive over 2,000 calls to our helpline every year," said Chris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center in Oakland.

Despite recent court victories, like preventing discrimination for federal employees, Hayashi says a danger still exists.

"This year alone, since 2015 started, three have been 10 transgender women of color who have been murdered across the country," said Hayshi.

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In fact, we met Raucci in January when she was attacked on a Muni bus. Her friend survived a brutal knife attack. The suspect was arrested.

The crime has given Raucci the drive to finish her first year of law school. She wants to become an advocate for transgender rights.

And for the first time in a while, she's happy about life

"Eight or nine on the happy scale," Raucci said, jokingly adding the disclaimer, "If I didn't have the feeling that law school exams were impossible to pass!"

For full coverage on Bruce Jenner, click here.