I’ll admit, once upon a time my wife and I did binge watch some Kardashians on Netflix while we were both sick. I can’t pretend it was not a guilty pleasure. But we haven’t followed much of their lives since (besides the occasional Kanye & Kim news). But suddenly, the whole world was drawn in by the gossip about whether there was something going on in the family. Did a family member have a big secret? The world has since gotten to know Caitlyn Jenner.
As I followed the story on social media yesterday, I couldn’t help but reflect. Anything that Fox News Correspondents link to the decline of the Civilization must be a good thing. And I also saw people on Twitter freaking out that Caitlyn was being called brave, and not the troops (honestly I don’t understand peoples logic about how calling her brave takes away from anyone elses bravery)- but if it was making people flip out on social media for stupid reasons, it also had to be a good thing.
So, everyone acts like some huge accomplishment happened yesterday.
What actually happened?
1) Caitlyn is now able to live her life authentically. Anytime anyone can do that I think it is a positive.
2) A Trans Woman made international news with her journey… It’s my hope that spurring conversation is a good thing.
3) Hopefully some young trans kids see that there is hope for their journey. Transgender people have a 41% attempted suicide rate… if Caitlyn gives any trans kids some glimmer of hope, it is good in my book. I wish I had seen visible trans women growing up.
4) Caitlyn is an example of the daily misgendering that many of us face. I know I am sick and tired of being called he, sir, and my birth name. She is dealing with the same. Hopefully people reflect and see that what they are doing is hurtful both to her, but also to friends and family members in their own life.
What did not happen?
1) Transphobia and our societies unjust treatment of Trans people did not suddenly end. Real work for social change needs to happen.
2) Trans women of color are not suddenly saved from the very high murder rate that they face.
3) Trans people every where are for the most part not extremely wealth, with most either living in poverty or barely making a living wage. We did not all suddenly come upon great wealth which would enable all of us to have our transitions make us fit societies expectation of what a man or woman looks like.
4) Trans youth are still proportionately higher in facing homelessness due to rejecting families. It is nice that Caitlyn has a good family, and it’s great to have them demonstrating to the world what acceptance is- but most trans people do not have that reality.
Overall- Best of luck to her. She has done a fairly okay job at her sudden expectation of being a trans spokesperson. I have seen her say “not everyones journey is like mine” and she has tried to discuss violence towards trans women of color. I hope she grows and uses her fame, and wealth, to help make a difference for the trans community. How do you feel?