Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Bruce or Caitlyn? What Difference Does It Make?
Oh, man, I don't really want to do this but it almost seems obligatory for one who writes about social issues since it is the "Story of the Week".
Caitlyn Jenner, aka Bruce Jenner, made her big reveal, her transition from a man to a woman, in the splashiest way possible, appearing in a corset on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. At the same time, Caitlyn's Twitter page debuted and garnered over a million followers almost instantly.
I don't really care much about Jenner as an individual but the sad fact is that there are a lot of transgender people out there, miserably trapped in bodies that don't agree with with who they are in their heads. In a time when society is so much more accepting of homosexuality than it used to be, most transgender people are still deeply closeted, knowing the kind of contempt and vituperation they will receive if they announce themselves as what they are - from family, friends and the public, at large.
So, often, it takes a celebrity, someone famous and rich, like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner to take on a controversial issue such as this one. No newspaper or news show would pay much attention if Joe Nobody tried to explain his position or state his case. In fact, the media mostly pays attention to transgender people when they commit suicide, brought to despair by their conflicted lives and lack of compassion from those around them.
In fact, Joe Nobody would never have the opportunity to sync his mind and body as Jenner has done because it is expensive to transition from one sex to another. It is especially costly if you have significant reconstructive surgery in an effort to be attractive in your new role.
Jenner's very public sex change has been carefully orchestrated, of course, from the first interview with Diane Sawyer to the pictures of a semi-transitioned Jenner and then to the heavily advertised article and photos in Vanity Fair. There is also a reality t.v. program looming on the horizon.
It all seems rather crass and commercial but it is probably also the only way it could be done to accomplish what Jenner wants to accomplish which is to draw attention to transgenders and their struggle to be accepted for what they are.
And, really, why should it be anyone else's business? If you are a man living in a woman's body or vice versa and your most heartfelt wish is to integrate the two parts of your self into one coordinated whole, why should anyone care?
I, personally, don't care. Life is all about trying to discover yourself and and doing so with the most integrity and honesty possible. If changing sexes is what it takes for you to do that, more power to you. If you have the wherewithal to help make it easier for others not so fortunate as Caitlyn Jenner is doing, hurray for her.
My life will go on exactly the same with Jenner is Bruce or Caitlyn and so will yours.