Sunday, April 26, 2015

RANT | Bruce Jenner

Alright. I like to keep my posts far away from celebrities, but this really got to me and I had to say something. Here goes. I watched the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner because I honestly wasn't sure if all of the gossip, rumours and tabloids were just being their regular asshole selves, or if the speculation was true.

Of course, after the first few moments it becomes very clear that it is true. Bruce Jenner has identified himself as transexual and will be taking steps towards becoming a woman in the near future.

I wasn't compelled to write this yesterday because after watching the interview, I didn't see how anyone could understand this in any other way other than being a positive thing for society, for our generation and most importantly: for the trans community. But of course (and I think you all know me by now), I read an article (that I liked) and saw that every single comment underneath it was negative. Most people were angry because of the way Bruce's story was being compared to historical events in history, and how in the grand scheme of things, these commenters didn't think he was making a difference at all.

People were completely missing the point that this isn't just about Bruce and his journey. This is about him contributing to changing the dialogue around transgender and creating a more positive space for transgender people in this world. So naturally, I got pissed off as usual. And here we are. So for all of you closed-minded people, let me explain to you why this is important and how this does bring good to the world.

In university I started following the work of an amazing woman: Kim Katrin Milan. I heard her speak once at a Women's Summit and I instantly knew I wanted to learn from her. At this summit she talked about her work and mentioned transgender and trans rights - which was something I had never really thought about before. I started following more of her work, basically fell in love and THEN she fell in love (no, unfortunately not with me), with Tiq Milan, and equally amazing activist and someone who I consider a leader in the LGBT community at large. (Yeah I fangirl hard for these two, get over it!)

After following both of their work and activism, I became more and more informed and the issues that the trans community faces and exposed to the ignorance it receives from society. I'm not trying to say I'm an expert in this community at all, I'm just saying I'm interested and I'm learning.

Because of Kim and her husband, I learned astonishing facts about the trans community, and became more aware of the horrible events that occur. From trans men and women being bullied, considered unemployable, being beaten, committing suicide - the list goes on and on. This community is a lot bigger than we think it is, yet still (of course) the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge their stories, their lives and the impact they have on the world.

Recently, the visibility of trans communities is increasing because of wonderful woman like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock. And of course, this is what this community needs. In the words of Tiq Milan: "It's really about giving people the space. We have to creative the space for transgendered people to be their authentic selves. And at the same time create space for people to understand that transition because transitioning isn't just about the person that's transitioning, it's about everybody in their life".

SO in saying of all of this, what I'm trying to get at is: Bruce Jenner is continuing the conversation. He's helping to create space. As a celebrity with his magnitude going through this, sharing his story; he's really helping trans people in this situation to realize that they're not alone, there is a space to talk about it and they shouldn't be ashamed. To be clear, I'm not saying Bruce's story is more important than any other trans person's in the world, but it's simply because of his family's already massive place in our culture that this issue may now be more visible than ever.

Like I always say on this blog, you're entitled to your own opinion, this is mine. I think that as someone who was considered the pinnacle of masculinity, someone who was always under constant scrutiny from the press about his appearance, someone with his amount of fame, coming out and finally deciding to be his true self in a world where doing that alone is hard enough...I commend him. Hearing him talk about how he thought about committing suicide after he went to get surgery on his Adam's Apple and a tabloid decided to cover was heartbreaking. It only reminded me how many stories like that we don't get to hear.

Listen, call Bruce Jenner and his family whatever you want. At the end of the day, he is one of the many helping to create greater awareness and space for a very important community in our society. The fact that people downplay the importance of this, demonstrates that they are completely ignorant of how big of an issue this is. He is not the only one making waves, I know. But he has a reach so wide, being a part of arguably the most famous family in the world - that makes this extremely important because he is helping to make this more visible than it ever has been. And that's really significant to a lot of people.

I think he's showing a lot of courage and his docuseries will help give a lot of people courage as well. Before you question whether or not Bruce Jenner and his journey are important, let me be the one to tell you: they are important to our culture, they are newsworthy, and whether you choose to believe that or not, you will be hearing about it so if you don't want to, prepare yourself. Before I end this I'd also like to point out that the support of his family is also quite significant, especially his reveal that all three of his wives knew to some degree what he was going through and never revealed his private information to anyone is noteworthy in my opinion, even if that sort of respect should be expected.

His family support is really important because, despite the fact that they're probably the most famous family in the world - their reaction and acceptance will help other families too. It will show that this is something a family goes through together, and how essential that support system is.

Anyways, that's all I really had to say. It just really bugged me that people were acting like this wasn't significant at all with a "and why should I care?" attitude. That kind of attitude completely downplays the importance of this movement as a whole and the rights of this community. The trans community has a massive role in society and deserves that space in our culture. This isn't just about Bruce Jenner it's about so many more human beings. I think people really need to widen their horizons and realize that all communities matter, not just their own.

Twitter: @liveshiv
Instagram: liveshiv

No comments:

Post a Comment