Thursday, June 4, 2015

On Caitlyn Jenner

On Caitlyn Jenner

“Does it take bravery and courage for a person with polio to want to walk? It’s very hard to speculate on, but if I hadn’t done what I did, I may not have survived. I may not have wanted to live. Life simply wasn’t worth much. Some people may find it easy to live a lie, I can’t. And that’s what it would have been –telling the world I’m something I’m not.”

If you are one of the estimated .00003 percent of the population of Americans who is transgendered you get the above sentiment immediately. If you are not, the unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner to the world may have you scratching your head a bit and asking a lot of questions.

Over the last few months, Caitlyn’s (Do we really need to say formerly Bruce?) visage has dominated the news cycle. With the release of the Vanity Fair piece she has exploded it and sent shards of her life into every conversation worldwide. She has been praised and vilified, called courageous by many and a “science experiment” by that great American intellectual, Snoop Dogg.

There has been a brouhaha about how she is cashing in on her very public transition, about how this is just more Kardashian Krap, and how no matter what she does or how she looks, she will never ever ever ever be a woman. She’s too old, too photo shopped, too made up, too rich, to this or that or any of a hundred other things. To all of her critics, I say this; Look at her. She’s happy. Isn’t that all that matters? 

But to be honest, I think there’s something more sinister afoot here.

In 1999, when I began my coming out process, the people in my life fell into two camps. On the one hand, there were supporters, who were overwhelming female. But it was my male friends who took it the hardest and did the most bashing. And the one phrase that kept coming up in their vitriolic tirades was I feel betrayed.

Betrayed is a very strong word in my vocabulary. It means that I broke some solemn bond or shared some deep dark secret which I swore an oath to keep to myself. How, I wondered, could a chance for happiness and peace at last be construed as a betrayal to the males in my life? And it wasn’t until one of them said this to me that it hit me.

“Why would you want to become one of them (women)?

He said it in such a way as to imply that being male was tantamount to getting the winning lottery ticket in life and that claiming my womanhood would  automatically relegated me to second class citizenry. He simply couldn’t understand why I would want to give up my male privilege and in his mind, my superiority. What he and just about everyone else in the world who isn’t transgender didn’t understand was that I was never a male in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that after having lived with both tribes, I can tell you that women are considered inferior by men. I see it in politics, in show business and in places like the Middle East where women are little more than property.

And so I believe that the dirty little reason that Caitlyn is getting so much crap from idiots like Matt Walsh at The Blaze and the rest of his crew over there is that she scares them a little. After all if this can happen to an Olympian like Bruce Jenner, then all men are at risk aren’t they? Isn’t this just one more step on the road to pussifying the American male?

In a few weeks Caitlyn will be bumped down in the news cycle priority. In a few more months, she won’t be there at all. And when all the hoopla has ended, when she is out of the public eye completely, you know what she’ll be?


Because that is the thing which drives all Trans people to make these changes. You who are blessed to feel the comfort of mind matching body can’t know what it’s like to be us. You will never know the joy of looking into the mirror for the first time and seeing the ‘you’ that was locked away inside for most of your life.

Caitlyn’s surgical changes should be no more disturbing to people like Matt Walsh, et al, than the countless people who spend billions each year to have a surgeon create their ideal bodies. Walsh claims that Jenner will never bear children, and that factor alone eliminates her from womanhood. Using that logic, cis- women who cannot get pregnant should be eliminated from the club as well.

 We’ve been around since the beginning of humankind, but we’re just getting to the point where medical technology allows us the freedom we’ve yearned for. Caitlyn is now celebrating that freedom by standing proudly and showing her ‘self’. She is happy, mentally healthy (hopefully), and beautiful. She doesn’t affect anyone’s life but her own and her children's. She isn’t hurting anyone and womanhood will be none the worse for having her in their ranks.

Maybe her very public outing will make some teenage trans kid feel a little better about his or her self. Maybe Matt Walsh can get irate about a real trans issue such as the 41% suicide attempt rate, which is the result of people like him and his ilk shunning, humiliating, shaming and bullying people like Caitlyn Jenner. Maybe he can just keep his big mouth shut.

One last thing. The quote with which I opened this essay was not from Caitlyn Jenner. It was spoken by Christine Jorgensen in 1952. She was the first trans person to undergo this kind of media hysteria, and she went on to thrive just fine. Womanhood, God, the United States, and the world survived just fine with her in it too. So, let Caitlyn be herself. If you don’t like her, ignore her. She’s happy. How many of us can say that?


  1. So Julia I totally don't feel betrayed, but I have to say that I remember in the 8th grade that Sister Miriam Anthony had this boy/girl score keeping thing going on and I was charged with watching the boy point count and forget who had the girl thing. I don't remember the stakes. I think it might have been that the winning gender didn't get weekend homework.

    I'm totally supportive of your transition but I draw the line at giving up the points you scored when you were on our team.

    1. lol Peter. I think the points had an expiration date.

  2. Love you and so glad you, and your wisdom and eloquence, are a part of our tribe. xoxo