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The Kardashians And Bruce Jenner Deserve Nothing But Praise For Their 'About Bruce' Specials

20/05/2015 22:50 BST | Updated 20/05/2016 10:59 BST

'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' first aired in 2009. In the six years since, there have been 10 seasons, over 140 episodes and countless spin-offs. Kendall and Kylie, the youngest of the Kardashian-Jenner brood, have grown up on our screens and we've seen proposals, lavish weddings, relationship breakdowns and more than our fair share of intimate discussions.

However, in the space of just two hours, the 'About Bruce' specials have changed things completely. The Kardashians have learnt a lesson or two during their years in the limelight, but addressing Bruce Jenner's decision to come out as transgender is their biggest yet - and they deserve nothing but praise for the way they're moving forward.

Say what you like about the Kardashian Klan but there are two qualities they definitely have an abundance of - self-awareness and the ability to face difficult questions. In recent months, many critics have attacked the family, accusing them of "selling" Jenner's story, and using it for ratings, but the truth couldn't be any more different.

The Kardashians have spent years styling themselves as America's first family of reality TV. They know that shying away from the cameras when the going gets tough isn't an option and this is something that Jenner has been forced to learn the hard way.

By the time his Diane Sawyer '20:20' special aired in April, Jenner had already been the subject of huge amounts of paparazzi attention, and just days before the interview was shown, police were called when long-lens shots of him relaxing in his private Malibu garden were published.

When a group of people market themselves in the way Kris and her children have, we refuse to allow them to step out of the limelight. Would the public really have accepted a simple 'no', if the Kardashians - who've showcased their every move for the last six years - decided not to address the rumours? No, of course not - and that says more about us than it does about them, by the way.

Jenner is a decathlon champion. A courageous, strong-willed and brave individual, who is taking charge of a struggle he's been dealing with for over 40 years. To state that the Kardashians have seized control of this difficult period in his life, selling it to the highest bidder and using it to raise their own profiles, completely undermines the incredible person at the centre of this story.

The 'KUWTK: About Bruce' shows open with a written declaration from the Olympic champion, explaining that the episodes are designed to help others, and show what happens to a family when a person within it reveals their plans to transition. In actual fact, the end result goes far beyond this, giving many of us - myself included - their biggest insight yet into a community that is rarely featured in the mainstream media.

Jenner is currently facing the most public transition ever. A quick glance elsewhere across popular culture confirms this fact, and the only other immediately obvious examples of current narratives that focus on individuals struggling with gender identity, are Laverne Cox's Sophia, in 'Orange Is The New Black', the upcoming Eddie Redmayne film 'The Danish Girl' and Louis Theroux's recent documentary 'Transgender Kids'.

During the shows' total two hour run-time, Kim, her mother, sisters and Kourtney's partner Scott Disick ask Jenner the questions others can't, and get fuller answers than those Diane Sawyer was presented with. They admit to worrying about how to make sure Jenner isn't offended - which is something I've also felt very conscious of while discussing Jenner's transition - query whether he still wants to be called 'dad', and sensitively pose questions about the future changes Jenner's transition will entail.

The whole family are brutally honest. Through tears, Kris Jenner explains that she feels the need to mourn Bruce, Kim admits her fears over telling Kanye West - who, in an interesting twist, offered thought-provoking advice - and Kourtney and Scott discuss how they'll tell their children.

In 'About Bruce', and the E! series that will follow, Jenner and his family are opening their doors to a situation that is currently unfolding before them. They have no idea how this will end and have already admitted that Jenner's decisions has been difficult to digest, understand and face. Their only true certainty is that this is a chance to help others, and for Jenner to truly make a difference. The least we can do is watch the shows, with the openness that they have afforded him.

NOTE: This blog uses Bruce Jenner's birth name and male pronouns, as he is yet to indicate that he prefers a new name or pronoun.