First and foremost, good for you, Caitlyn! Well done and congratulations. To finally live as one’s true, authentic self is a gift so many people are never able to achieve.
I am thrilled, almost beyond words, for her.
I, also, have two random thoughts in my head about some of the responses I’ve heard to Caitlyn’s journey:
1. Since we embrace Caitlyn, society will embrace all transgender women and men. I love this idea. I love this ideal. And many, many people have indeed embraced Caitlyn (and Laverne, and Janet, and Chaz…) but many more have not. Think the LGBTQ community is above it? Think again. I was sitting with a man I know – who happens to be gay – and a friend of his – who happens to be a lesbian – and Caitlyn came up in conversation. He shuddered as he explained that he “doesn’t get it…(he) just doesn’t get it.” She, on the other hand, had this to say: “Oh, I get it. It’s just disgusting.” That’s the hate within our own community, Poppets. Don’t dare judge someone for not coming out, for not transitioning, when we can’t even support them.
2. If we embrace Caitlyn, society will embrace transgender women and men, even those who don’t pass. I love this idea. This ideal. Caitlyn is a naturally attractive person. That was part of the original allure back in the 70s during the Olympics. That was damn fine photogenic athlete. Trust and believe, Wheaties wouldn’t have put an ugly person on their boxes. Plus, Caitlyn has money, which means she can afford surgeries that help this specific aspect of her transition move forward even more smoothly. And let’s be completely honest – she’s gorgeous. The painful truth, though, is that society doesn’t embrace any women who aren’t deemed beautiful. Just as Wheaties wouldn’t have put an unattractive man on their boxes, Vogue would not have put an unattractive woman on their cover, no matter the reason. Do not ~ not, not, not ~ dare to judge someone who doesn’t pass, who considers themselves unattractive as their true gender, who chooses not to transition. Yes, we as a society are mean to all unattractive women. When we’re willing to throw “you look like a man” at cis-gendered women as an insult, we don’t get to then ask our trans-sisters to take the heat.
On the one hand, society is embracing beautiful, articulate, passing transgender men and women. I’m not sure this has ever happened before. On the other hand, there have already been nine transgender women murdered in 2015 alone. We all know Caitlyn’s name (and Laverne, and Janet, and Chaz), but how many of us know theirs*?
It is a better time to be transgendered than ever before. I, of all people, will never refute that. But “better” still doesn’t mean “good” or “safe.”
And those are my random thoughts.
Until next month, Poppets, take care of you – and each other.
*London Kiki Chanel (Philadelphia), Kristina Gomez Reinwald (Miami), Penny Proud (New Orleans), Taja DeJesus (San Francisco), Yazmin Vash Payne (Los Angeles), Ty Underwood (North Tyler, Texas), Lamia Beard (Norfolk, Virginia), and Mercedes Williamson (George County, Mississippi)