I usually post stuff like this on Wellness Wednesdays, but I’m a little off this week. I hope to get back on schedule next week.
First off, I want to say that I’m pro human rights. Therefore, I support Caitlyn Jenner and her right to be whoever she feels that she is. It’s none of my business if it’s a choice or a biological imperative; I’ve never seen why that matters to those of us on the outside. Undoubtedly it matters to people who are trans, but I don’t see why anyone should have to explain any of that to me.
That being said, the media coverage on Ms. Jenner, calling her a hero, got me thinking. There have been a lot of posts from people showing military personnel, saying that the folks in uniform are heroes. I have a lot of respect for our military personnel, and it sort of bugged me to compare Caitlyn Jenner to people in the military. But then I realized a few things:
1. It’s not a competition. The people saying that Caitlyn Jenner is a hero weren’t saying she was more of a hero than our military personnel. They were just saying that she was a hero, and a hero can be a lot of different things. Many people in our military are undoubtedly heroes. In my mind, the fact that we can have a hero like Ms. Jenner makes our military personnel even more heroic. It’s because of them that we can have a hero like her.
2. We need heroes like Caitlyn Jenner. People who are trans aren’t widely accepted yet, and Caitlyn Jenner will be a hero for some people, perhaps making it easier for some people to be who they are. Gay people and trans people are still bullied and sometimes assaulted for being who they are. Caitlyn Jenner de-legitimizes that reaction.
3. We need to stop tearing others down. In this social media world, it’s so easy to have an opinion on everything, and those opinions are often negative. There’s a lot to be said for “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Celebrities are people too, with feelings. Maybe they won’t ever see your opinion of them, but does that make it okay to say nasty things? Practice being kinder to others, and you’ll feel kinder toward yourself.
4. And last, it’s okay to have a respectful dissenting opinion. If you think being trans is wrong for any reason, I respect your opinion, as long as it’s brought up in a respectful way. Just being down on Ms. Jenner and saying disparaging things makes me just overlook your opinion. You can disagree with everything I said, you can believe she’s not a hero. As long as you disagree in a respectful manner, I’m on board with your right to that opinion. That being said, it doesn’t bring anything to the table to cloud the issue, to post pictures of military men with missing limbs, talking about how Ms. Jenner is not a hero. There’s no comparison between the two. How do you know that her coming out didn’t save someone’s life? How do you know that someone who was contemplating suicide didn’t get help because she came out? How do you know that someone who may have otherwise completed a hate crime didn’t pause because Bruce Jenner, Olympic Gold Medalist, came out as a woman? You don’t. Neither do I.
It’s just something to think about, that’s all.
“Hero” is a very personal label. If she’s not your hero, that’s fine. But she could be somebody’s hero, and I respect that.