Caitlyn Jenner: Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating Person of 2015

PHOTO: Caitlyn Jenner attends Glamours 25th Anniversary Women Of The Year Awards at Carnegie Hall, Nov. 9, 2015, in New York City.PlayGilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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Caitlyn Jenner, who became a symbol of hope for the transgender community, was chosen as Barbara Walters’ most fascinating person of 2015.

Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, this year Caitlyn announced that she had transitioned from being a man to a woman, first undergoing several surgical procedures, then legally changing her name.

Jenner was once hailed as the greatest athlete in the world after winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon and later became a motivational speaker and a reality TV star with one of television's most famous families, the Kardashians.

Jenner married Kris Kardashian in 1991 and they had two children together, Kendall and Kylie, who grew up alongside Kris's four children from her previous marriage -- Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, and Rob. Jenner had four children from his previous two marriages -- Burt, Cassandra, Brandon and Brody.

PHOTO: Barbara Walters interviews comedian, writer, actress, and producer Amy Schumer, for her Most Fascinating People special airing on the ABC Television Network.
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Then last year, after more than two decades of marriage, the couple divorced. Their separation and the beginning of Jenner's transition played out on the family's E! reality series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and a two-part special, "About Bruce."

On Jenner’s own E! reality series, “I Am Cait,” she showed herself working hard to look glamorous, hanging out with a group of new transgender friends and sharing emotional moments with her mother and ex-wife Kris Jenner.

Caitlyn Jenner also became a target of criticism, first for being selected to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs in July (ESPN is owned by Disney, ABC’s parent company), and then because some said her rapid, glamorous, publicity-drenched transition did not represent the realities of life for most transgender people, who suffer discrimination, bullying, poverty and physical attacks.

But Jenner’s celebrity has helped launch a national discussion about transgender rights. She has become a champion for the transgender community, raising awareness and advocating for acceptance.

Caitlyn Jenner transformed society, Walters said, and that’s why she is joining the ranks of Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana, Hillary Clinton and Amal Clooney as the most fascinating person of the year.