In recent years there has been a rise in the visibility of the transgendered community. From Chaz Bono to Laverne Cox and now Caitlyn Jenner.
Formerly known as retired Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn pretty much shattered the internet yesterday in a bigger fashion than when her step-daughter Kim “broke the internet” last year.
However, Compared to Kim’s moment, Caitlyn’s time in the spotlight feels bigger because it incites discussion and thought about a topic that many are still conflicted by.
To those of us in the fight for LGBTQ issues this is a defining moment providing a voice for many who can empathize with Jenner’s struggles.
Still, as internet/groundbreaking as this moment may be, there are many who ask themselves “Why would she wait until she’s damn near 70 to finally transition?”
I’m no expert on transgender issues so I cannot answer that question. I also cannot judge her for the choices she has made either because it’s not my place to do so.
All I can do at this point is respect her wishes to no longer be referred to as Bruce, because clearly that name and existence was a constant source of turmoil in her life.
And honestly, Caitlyn is a wealthy, white reality television star so the chances of me ever meeting her and becoming friends with her are pretty low. Her life has no direct impact on mine so I applaud her for living her truth.
And that’s where it ends for me.
Unfortunately, that’s not where it ends for everyone else.
Comments about Caitlyn’s decision have ranged from supportive to not so supportive, and nobody is right or wrong with their own opinions (ownpinions, if you will). If you don’t agree with her decision it is within your right to have that opinion without being called a bigot or transphobic. If you do support her decision you deserve not having to worry about people questioning your morality or intellect. This very current topic in our history will only have as much life as we breathe into it and how we choose to either incorporate or completely ignore it is all predicated on our own levels of comfort.
I do wonder, though, about the unforeseen impact this will have on Caitlyn’s two youngest daughters Kendall and Kylie. Because they’ve been raised in the spotlight for the better part of their young lives with the ongoing knowledge that their entire family is looked at as a spectacle for a multitude of reasons other than the changes taking place in Caitlyn’s life.
In one aspect I see what this does for the transgendered movement in its entirety because it adds another high profile face to a community that has long been discarded and ignored by mainstream media (even still). But when I think about the flip side to this triumph I wonder what will be the negative aspects of this from the people she’s closest to. Because behind all of the glamorous photos and freeing proclamations there will be awkward moments she’ll share with friends and family that still don’t quite understand her decision.
And that’s the part of the story that we won’t see directly, yet Caitlyn will.
And we all know our society tolerates a lot of things but can be completely unforgiving and judgmental in regards to things that are considered “taboo”.
Bruce’s story may have ended but Caitlyn’s is just beginning. What appears to be a triumph for onlookers is still the daily life of a person.
Not an icon to be fantasized.
Not a role model to be adored.
A person who’s just trying to find their happiness like we all are.
And I pray that she will finally be able to achieve that.