This is not an article against trans acceptance.
Caitlyn Jenner is a woman who needs no introduction. Olympic gold medalist, step-father to one of the most famous families in the world, and spokesperson of paramount importance for the trans community.
A woman who’s been through so much, even prior to her transition, and is absolutely deserving of the accolades she has received prior to and after her transition.
On July 15th, 2015, amidst controversy on multiple social media outlets, Ms Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles. The transcript from her speech can be found here. Her speech touched on many topics regarding her transition: how she desires to give other trans people hope in their respective journeys, how trans teenagers face ferocious bullying from their peers and have staggeringly high suicide rates, and lastly, how hard it was for her to come out to her family.
Ms Jenner spoke specifically about how she hoped her story would promulgate trans acceptance, and allow young trans people to feel more comfortable in seeking help and support from their family and friends.
Leelah Alcorn made the headlines of nearly every major news outlet when she killed herself by walking into oncoming traffic on December 28th, 2014. Leelah was a trans girl who was denied transition treatment by her overly conservative parents, and instead sent to a Christian conversion therapy program, where her parents hope she would change.
Had Ms Jenner transitioned and made her transition so visible in the spotlight earlier, would Leelah have been more comfortable in her own skin, and maybe decided not to commit suicide?
I would say no. No fucking way.
Caitlyn Jenner, while she dealt with her own unique set of issues as a trans person beginning in her childhood, is one of the least relatable people in America. She is absolutely breaking barriers in the realm of trans acceptance—a former Olympic gold-medalist, a steadfast Republican, someone whom society wouldn’t “expect” to be a trans person—but if I were a troubled trans teen with overly-conservative parents, I would feel no solace knowing that Caitlyn Jenner was the spokesperson for my current internal struggle. A 65-year-old, multimillionaire, former superstar athlete who married into TV’s most famous family would be trying to give me advice that “it gets better.”
Caitlyn Jenner, if I’m not being cynical for a moment, probably didn’t choose to be in this position as the current spokesperson for trans acceptance, but she seems to have graciously accepted it, like it was her Arthur Ashe Award. Which makes me wonder, what do trans people think of Ms Jenner representing them now? Certainly trans people all each have a different story and come from different backgrounds, as all people do (duh), so some of them can’t be overly ecstatic about this.
Perhaps I’m looking at this wrong. I’ve noticed if I see Ms Jenner’s transition simply as a stepping stone in the direction of trans acceptance, instead of her engulfment all of trans culture by way of the rapid proliferation of media coverage (I mean come on, she has her own show now, and it’s all people can talk about), then it doesn’t bother me so much.
Just a side note, it also bothers me a little that Ms Jenner is making bank off of TV deals and endorsements, while the surgeries and complications pertaining to transitioning can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many trans people couldn’t transition to their desired gender if they wanted to, due to financial constraints.
I personally think Laverne Cox, an actress who is most famous for her role as inmate Sophia Burset in the Netflix original hit “Orange is the New Black,” is more relatable for trans teens. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, she attempted suicide at age 11, but eventually was able to receive sex reassignment and pursue a career as a successful actress. While her being trans is a big part of OITNB, her acting certainly transcends just her gender identity and shows the familial, financial, and social struggles of a woman (not just a trans woman) in prison.
If you disagree with some part (or hell, every word) of this article, present your reasoning civilly so I can see the error in my ways.
Just a kid’s opinion.
Thanks for reading,