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11 Responses

  1. Gary says:

    Yes…totally her business and of course I support her in it. But she is choosing to make it very public, at least in part, so the debate can happen. Although I disagree with those who attack and criticize her, I will always support their right to honestly discuss and debate her decision. I believe that is healthy and leads to change.

  2. Ducatihero says:

    What I hear is someone who tells a story about how they had to hide behind all the “good jobs” and achievements and who now says they are free.

    So – gosh, you did hit the nail on the head on the head in that respect about it being about us. Very thought provoking.

    I recall watching your video where as a pastor in church you felt not dissimilarity and then that beautiful dream in which you spoke of there being a waterfall with the metaphor of God being the river above it, Jesus the incarnation being the waterfall and the lake below being the Holy Spirit and you waking with peace, saying to Lisa you are done and she saying “me too”.

    I come from an atheist / agnostic upbringing, so any sense of hiding behind something and then being free hasn’t come from an identity as being religious then being freed from it.

    For me, it has been about being diagnosed dyslexic in the last few years. I was perceived as talented and intelligent at school, and an asset but also lacking in effort, careless and complacent. So I formed this impression of myself, so I worked harder, have a string of achievements and bathed in the recognition that gave me. However I always felt distant, disconnected unless I was doing something extreme. When I was diagnose dyslexic 6 years ago it was as if a weight had been removed for my shoulders.

    I have this amazing sense of belonging in creative environments now. It’s as if in the last 6 years I have been discovering who I am and it’s beautiful to experience that.

  3. Yasmin says:

    As the spouse of a male-to-female transsexual (who is no better at keeping up with all the new terminology than is anyone else), I winced for Caitlyn from the first. She is very public about her transition because the paparazzi have been hounding her for a long time, and SHE wanted to tell HER story herself, not have some horrific mess of misinformation put out there by those vultures. No matter what else one might think of her transition, I don’t think anyone can blame her for that!

    Having lived with this myself for many years now (my spouse transitioned fully about 20 years ago, and, as a psychologist, has counselled many other “transgenders” – a term I loathe but have to get used to), I understand what Caitlyn is going through, what her family is going through, and fully anticipated all the ugly hatefulness. No matter how accustomed to it I already am, it continues to make me sick.

    Yes, she has money. Yes, she has done well for herself as a male. She is not alone in that, she is just much better known than others in her economic stratum. None of that makes her condition the least less painful or difficult to bear. Her money and fame are what she HAS, her gender identity is who she IS. The former has nothing to do with the latter.

    I have learned so very much about gender in all these years. Our culture, all cultures, function on the principle that there are males and there are females, with a huge chasm between the two that contains a small handful of “weirdos”. In fact, gender is a continuum, a huge bell curve, with the vast majority near the ends, but a remarkable number of people on the slopes and in the middle as well. We are all taught that when a child is conceived, two X chromosomes make a girl baby, and and X and a Y make a boy baby. You’d be amazed at the variation on THAT theme alone! There are a small number of girls out there with FIVE X chromosomes, for example.

    My spouse and I are acquainted with a person who was raised as a boy, for the simple reason that she was born with a penis. That makes perfect sense to all of us, given all we know. When puberty hit, this person had to be rushed to the ER because of swelling and extreme pain in her abdomen. It turns out that “he” also had a fully functioning uterus AND ovaries. She was menstruating, but had no vagina, so the blood was accumulating and causing all kinds of trouble. A hysterectomy was performed. This person’s parents continued to raise her as a boy, and (read carefully – the pronouns will make you dizzy. I say “she” because she now lives as a woman.) she went on to marry a woman and to father children. Yes, SHE fathered children, because her testes were fully functional, too. The psychological strain of living as a man but feeling more as a woman caused her to transition into her female role and to find peace there. Being in the very middle of that continuum is rare, but there far more people there than anyone would think! (There are also some people, much more rare, who have absolutely no secondary sexual characteristics of any kind whatsoever. No genitals at all – merely an opening for urine, and no sexual glands. VERY rare, but life is miserable for them, too!)

    The preponderance of people near both ends of that bell curve hide the enormous variety that exists in human, and mammal, gender. Our cultural dichotomy is based on false information, but I hope that Caitlyn and all the others make people more aware of that, and that stories such as Caitlyn’s, and my spouse’s, cease to astonish anyone in the future. We’re so very much more interesting than either/or, and that’s a GOOD thing!

  4. Thanks Yasmin. Profound! I appreciate it. Please say “Hi!” to your spouse from the nakedpastor 😛

    I remember seeing a black-and-white pictorial graph a couple of years ago. At one end was a photo of a “normal” vagina and all the way at the other end a photo of a “normal” penis. Then in between there a lot of pictures of what is in between the “normal”. It was an amazing visual lesson that there really is no normal, that there is no binary biology even, and that the fluidity of gender, etc., is, well, very diverse.

    I’ve never forgotten that.

  5. Cecilia Davidson says:

    What many fail to grasp, especially in the white feminist community, is that Jenner had the resources and opportunity to have the surgeries. She had the ability to safely come out to her family. Many transgender people DO NOT.

    It also is damning that Jenner is herself quite the conservative and has not used her position as a woman in the spotlight to try and help those who are killed or wish to kill themselves because they don’t have Jenner’s ability to just rise above the hatred.

  6. Cecilia Davidson says:

    The struggle is real, but she hasn’t made it easier for anyone else. Only for Caitlyn Jenner.

  7. Yasmin says:

    How very unfair you are, Cecilia! She hasn’t had all that much surgery yet, in the very first place, regardless of her money. She must live full time as a woman for at least 18 months, perhaps two years, based on the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, followed by all ethical physicians and psychiatrists. She’s just beginning that part of her treatment. Her very coming out is an effort to help others do so, to be accepted, and that, too, is still in its infancy. She said in her interview with Diane Sawyer that she would have no problem approaching conservative legislators to encourage them to write and pass legislation to make life easier for trans folk. We both know what kind of reception she’ll get with THAT, but perhaps, if enough of us show our support for her, even the GOP will get the message and perhaps be at least less hostile.

    Yes, her family was supportive when she came out, at least in part. You are very right, tragically, that very many trans folk are not met with support when coming out to families. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but you said that right behind pointing out all her money, and I’ll just point out that you and I both know that money has nothing to do with the mindset of family and friends to this sort of revelation. Remember, too, that being such a public figure, she’ll get infinitely more hate and even threats aimed at her than would a private individual.

    As to not making it easier for anyone, the poor woman only came out a few DAYS ago. For mere mortals, miracles take a bit longer. Give her a chance to do something. In my opinion, making public the steps of her transition gives the public SOME knowledge of what all this really means. I was speaking to a friend the other night and told him that telling people about my spouse used to be a lot more dramatic, for lack of a better word. There was a time when people had absolutely NO idea what “transsexualism” even meant, what was involved, and mostly, what was expected of them. I told this friend that it was often difficult to find the right time to tell someone, because I felt it was necessary to give that someone enough time and privacy to come to terms with what my announcement even meant, and to ask questions. I never told anyone when they were in hurry, or about to leave, or having to do something else at the same time. No emails to work, for example, or a last-minute announcement before they headed out the door. Because of other trans folk, and now especially because of Caitlyn, it’s much easier to tell people, because so many of their questions are already answered. The words have a definition, and that makes things MUCH easier, trust me!

    I don’t know what you expected Caitlyn to do to help other trans folk, but in my opinion and experience, she’s doing a great deal to help. Remember that there will ALWAYS be people who reject trans folk, no matter how much they know about it. There is only so much any person can do. Some hate will never go away, not under any circumstances.

  8. Yasmin says:

    Let me just point out, too, that going public has not at all made things any easier for Caitlyn Jenner, quite the contrary in fact! She did so only because she wanted to tell the world herself, not leave it for the ignorant, sensation-seeking paparazzi to distort instead. She’s a public figure, it was not going to be easy in any case, but I admire her courage in putting it all in the public eye to be watched. That takes way more courage than I will ever have, and the only way it is helping her is by telling the story first, before the tabloids vandalize her life. It is NOT easy.

  9. Caryn LeMur says:

    I enjoy that Caitlyn controlled her story. I also appreciate the exposure she gave to the transsexual community.

    We are no longer a secret, thanks to ‘The Color Orange’ (Time magazine cover, as I recall)… and now, Vanity Fair.

    I wish her peace upon her journey.

  10. Cecilia Davidson says:

    “Unfair,” you call me, when Jenner’s political stances and her prior appearances did little to actually help people or address the oppression. Even with her trying to get the GOP to be more trans-inclusive (good ****** luck), she still espouses quite a lot of problematic views that CONTRIBUTE to the oppression transgender individuals face.

    Call me what you like, but I’m going to call out the Jenners and Kardashians for being a UNIQUE case that doesn’t make it better for the rest of us.

    Not to mention many of the “she’s pretty” comments reinforce this idea that trans individuals have to pass as one gender or another.

  11. Yasmin says:

    I apologize for the misunderstanding, Cecilia, it wasn’t your comments about Caitlyn’s politics that I called “unfair.” I happen to agree with you about that, but her comment that she’d have no trouble speaking to conservative legislators about this makes it sound like she has no idea what the right stands for in this issue. I agree with you completely about that, it was NOT unfair.

    I called “unfair” your comment about her not helping anyone with her public coming out. I think she is helping the trans community enormously by defining what transsexualism is, and what it means for her and others. Again, she’s only been out a few weeks now, so we can’t expect any massive change in attitude yet. The haters are still out there, yelling as they always do, but the supportive voices are more plentiful, and louder. That is a really, REALLY good thing! I have learned the hard way that assuming others will somehow know that you support them even if you never say so is false. They will fear your rejection unless you state categorically that you support them (for whatever cause or reason). It broke my heart to learn that a very dear friend was afraid to come out to me, because she had no idea how I felt about lesbianism. When I told her about my spouse, she told me this, and said she now knows that I’m supportive. Sadly, LGBT folk must assume they will be rejected by all those who remain silent, out of sheer survival instinct. Caitlyn’s coming out, and the massive support she is getting, is letting LGBT folk know that they are NOT alone, that there just might be support for them even in their own circles. If not, they now know that others just outside their circles will support them, and that MUST be helpful.

    Whether she intended to or not, Caitlyn Jenner most certainly DID help LGBT folk by coming out. They now know they are not alone, and that vast numbers of people all around them support them, albeit silently.