Rant With Randi: The athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner
Unless I say something like “Caitlyn Jenner is a hero,” I’m going to be known as politically incorrect. But I call BS on that. I’m sick of feeling censored for fear that I might say the wrong thing.
After watching the two-part series of KUWTK, which focused on Bruce Jenner’s transition, it made me sad. The episodes were set up as interviews with each member of the family, discussing how they feel about Bruce’s transition. It brought up a lot of really weird stuff that I couldn’t imagine processing if I were his kid. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine processing it if I were his friend. Imagine that one day you are playing golf at the country club with your buddy Bruce, and all of a sudden you can no longer go hang out in the men’s grill and drink a beer together? At the time of the interview, he was still Bruce, but it felt like Bruce was “dying” and that a woman was going to emerge in his place.
And as I write this, Caitlyn shocked all of us recently, with her magazine cover, “Call me Caitlyn.” When I first saw the image, I was in shock. I get it, shock value works, and then when we see her in a dress, it might not seem so radical.
I start to think about the things Bruce said during his interview with Diane Sawyer, and how he knew he was in the wrong body from the time he was very young. Can you imagine Bruce Jenner transitioning in the 1970s? It’s literally unimaginable. I equally can’t imagine going 65 years living with so many lies. The internal conflict would be too much for most people to handle.
But here’s where I get itchy ... Why do a show on E! entertainment instead of using a more trusted network? If the goal is to help others in her position, and to educate the public about the reality of living as a trans, why turn it into a circus? The Vanity Fair cover has already opened her up to a lot of criticism from her own community. There are lots of trans people who fear that they will never look like Caitlyn Jenner, because they don’t have the means to get all the surgeries, the hormones, the clothes, the Annie Leibovitz photo shoot and the Malibu lifestyle. The public format in which she chooses to tell her story, I would think, is critical to maintaining her credibility.
I recently watched a story about a 6-year-old child who believed he/she was a transgender. The mother was in a near-fatal car accident with her child, and thought that if they had died, and she had denied her child the right to be who he/she really was, she would never be able to live with herself. So she let her 6-year-old live her life as a trans. Does anyone know whether 6-year-olds really understand their gender identity? The whole point is that it’s not our place to judge. It’s our job to try and understand.
It’s all getting so complex. I was scrolling through Twitter and saw the new face of MAC cosmetics. This gal was stunning. And then I read that she was a he who transitioned. I just stared at that image and it all became a blur. I would have never known, had the article not stated it. I feel like the more images that I see online, the more confused I’m getting between women and men.
Of course we’re interested in Caitlyn Jenner’s story. She is an icon. She was on the Wheaties box when she was a he. It’s a lot to process. Therefore I don’t like to feel that anyone who questions the life of a trans is demonized. Hopefully, Caitlyn’s story engenders constructive dialogue that will lead to a much greater understanding and acceptance of the transgender community.
What say you? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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