A Christian blogger named Emily is very unhappy with Caitlyn Jenner. She can barely bring herself to use Jenner’s name; when she does, it’s in quotation marks. And she wants you to know that “Bruce Jenner is not a hero.”
Bruce Jenner is not a hero. A hero is someone who has done something brave or noble, who has sacrificed for others. Bruce Jenner has done none of these things. He is a man who has posed in women’s clothing on the cover of a magazine, garnering excessive media attention… Bruce Jenner has risked little and gained much. I am sure there are many people out there who do things to deserve the title of “hero,” but Bruce Jenner is not one of them. He is not a hero and he is not a woman.
Here’s why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero to me: She did something that’s intensely personal — transitioning to her real gender — in front of the cameras, knowing that the world would be watching and probably saying some very nasty things. She didn’t care. If she can take the brunt of the attacks, she figured, maybe that’s a little less hate directed at other trans people who aren’t as famous.
I don’t believe for a second that she did this purely for publicity because she had plenty of it beforehand (and would’ve had it for a long time to come).
I don’t believe she did this for money because she didn’t need that either.
No one just “becomes” trans to get attention. (Unless you’re Mike Huckabee and you think it’s a way to shower with naked girls in high school.)
Jenner, with her high profile, also began a very public conversation about what it means to be trans. People who might want to ignore the subject had no choice because everyone in the media was discussing it. We know that LGBT acceptance has increased partly because everyone these days knows someone who’s gay or lesbian. Republican politicians (not to mention President Obama) have attributed their own “evolution” on the issue to knowing LGBT people. When someone like Jenner transitions so publicly, it makes it a little easier for others to come out the same way. They’re not confused, as Emily may think. They’re closeted because they know people like Emily are going to think less of them. But when they see the mostly-positive reactions in the media and online, that helps them realize there are people out there who will accept them as they are.
Maybe not in certain Christian churches, but a lot of other places.
To quote Emily, “A hero is someone who has done something brave or noble, who has sacrificed for others.”
That’s exactly what Jenner did. She did something brave and noble. She made a sacrifice. It was entirely possible that the world could have rejected her, and all the fame she had acquired from the Olympics and her TV show would have evaporated. But she did it anyway because she wanted to be true to herself. That’s risky as hell, but she couldn’t keep hiding this any longer.
How many people could appear on a Wheaties box — arguably a pinnacle of athletic achievement — and then top that iconic imagery in a completely different way nearly 40 years later?!
The list is ridiculously short. I’m pretty sure the list just includes one person. And it’s a trans woman.
You want to talk about “It Gets Better”? There you go.
As someone who writes a lot about LGBT issues, I can tell you that most of the stories I cover involving transgender people are depressing. Maybe they were just fired from a job. Maybe they weren’t allowed to go into the right bathroom. Maybe they committed suicide because they didn’t see a happy future ahead of them.
Caitlyn Jenner, in her own way, proves there can be a brighter future for trans people. Yes, she has fame and money. That helps. But it’s usually people in high profile positions who have the ability to pave the way for greater societal change.
She has done that and it’s only the beginning.
Is she a hero? You better believe it.
Now, what was Emily saying again?
He is what we all are: lost, sinful, and desperately in need of Jesus. I pray he finds Him.
You know what’s not brave? Blaming Jesus for your bigotry. Emily’s religion is clouding her judgment. She won’t listen to what experts have to say because she prefers remaining blissfully ignorant. It’s the Ken Ham approach to life.
It’s pathetic. But I hope anyone reading that piece knows that opinions like Emily’s are rapidly fading away and a lot of us won’t let it go unchallenged.
(Thanks to Philip for the link)