Former Olympic athlete and reality TV star Bruce Jenner, who is transitioning to life as a woman, revealed her new name as Caitlyn Jenner on Monday (1 June) and posed in a white strapless corset on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
Jenner's public transition has social media abuzz and her coming out story now joins what the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community are calling a formative time in the way that transgender people are written about and depicted in the media.
"You know, it feels like a pivotal moment in the way that media portrays trans people," says Drian Juarez, a programme manager at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. "I grew up in the era when the only thing you had was Jerry Springer or Maury Povich and so it was very sensationalised, trivialised portrayals of transgender people. What we saw with the Diane Sawyer interview and what's followed since is a really respectful way of reporting trans people's transition stories or identities. The fact that the Diane Sawyer story clarified pronouns and preferred names, that was something that hadn't been done before so it was really a switch in the way media sees trans people and reports on trans people and it feels like that's continuing," continues Juarez.
Jenner launched a new Twitter account on Monday as @Caitlyn_Jenner, saying "I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn."
It became the fastest account to reach 1m followers, in four hours and three minutes, according to Guinness World Records, besting US President Barack Obama's verified @POTUS account that reached 1m followers in five hours last month. Social media showed strong support for Jenner's transition, but according to Juarez, Jenner does not have any obligation to be the new voice of the trans community, even though her transition is helping to bridge generations.
"For me personally I think that Caitlyn is a good role model and the fact that she has such a long history in the public eye, even before the Kardashians. You know, she had this history of being this all star athlete so her story is unique in that way, in that it's really bridging two different communities. You have parents who grew up with B. Jenner as this all-star athlete and now you have younger people who've grown up with the Kardashians and are now seeing Caitlyn Jenner and so it's really creating dialogue between these two communities that often times don't communicate," said Juarez.
Television is one medium that's playing a big part in the transgender community's growing visibility, with characters and plots in scripted dramas Orange is the New Black and Transparent leading the way.
"Well you know I think that shows like Amazon (the online distributor of Transparent), Orange is the New Black have been really instrumental in just portraying trans people as human. You know, our transition is almost secondary to us just being human and they've really helped change the narrative so it's not so much fixated on surgeries and what we've done to transition but rather accepting us as the people that we are," said Juarez.
American network ABC Family will premiere a 'docuseries' about a family with a trans parent, Becoming Us, while E! Entertainment will feature a documentary of Jenner's transition to life as a woman.
In film, there is Lana Wachowski, who, as Larry Wachowski, co-wrote and directed with her brother Andy most of films in the successful science fiction franchise, The Matrix. Since her male to female transition, she has continued to work with her brother on such big budget films as Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending.
While support for transgender rights may be may be gaining ground in places like Hollywood, mainstream acceptance of transgender people is still in its infancy.