A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post responding to the interview between Diane Sawyer and Bruce Jenner, commenting also on identity and becoming the person who you are. ‘We are all butterflies’ can be read here.
With that in mind, I can’t not now post on Caitlyn Jenner now that she has finally been revealed.
When I first saw the cover of Vanity Fair, it took me a while to twig that it was Bruce. It’s only when I saw the comment about not spelling Caitlyn with a K that I realised… and wow!
There is no doubt that Caitlyn has divided opinion across the world and I wish I could say for the most part it is a positive response; I think ultimately it is but I have read and heard a decent mix of both positive and negative perspectives. For the record, I couldn’t be more positive and supportive of Caitlyn Jenner and it’s through this standing that I got myself wound up a couple of times this past week in a debate/work banter with a few (male) colleagues who just cannot accept that Caitlyn Jenner isn’t one huge PR stunt and won’t just have everything reversed in a year or two. I accept their opinions and reasons for thinking this and to be fair, if it wasn’t something else to bring the Kardashian family into the spotlight, people might pay more attention and not just roll their eyes. But as I tried to explain, medical professionals don’t operate on transgender people without full psychological evaluation, celebrity or not. In fact for all the money in the world, no practitioner would operate on someone who walks into their practise claiming gender issues but are unsure it’s just a whim or a mere phase. The medical aspects aside, just because you’re born male, doesn’t mean you are male. As I wrote previously, gender and sexuality are two different things.
People have also said that Caitlyn isn’t really a woman, well, define being a woman! You are who you identify most with, just because you haven’t got all the body parts, doesn’t mean you are or are not something or someone. Identity is the thing you spend a lot of your life finding and for some, this means realising you’re not the gender you were born as.
There is no doubt that Caitlyn is going to milk this almost to the death (I believe she has got an 8-part TV series due to air in July), that aside, the voice and overall transition of Bruce to Caitlyn can’t just be rewound and passed off as a joke.
Some have also passed off Jenner’s transition as unrealistic arguing that few transgender people have the money to afford the surgery, and also aren’t always surrounded by such a supportive family unit. At the end of the day, this is life. Some have money, some don’t. But not everyone is a celebrity that can access the media like Caitlyn can on this important issue and give the community a voice, and bring the term ‘transgender’ into conversation. I also saw recently on BBC 1’s The One Show a transgender army officer called Hannah who began her career in the army as a man. I found her story incredibly inspiring not to mention brave. Both these cases together highlight and demonstrate that communication is everything. People will have questions and they will stare, but not out of rudeness but out of curiosity. As a race, humans are naturally curious beings and we like to be able to exercise our thoughts and inquisitiveness.
Regardless of opinion, Caitlyn has done something incredible for herself; she has found her wings and become the butterfly she has been waiting to become for 65 years.
Until next time xFollow