Bruce Jenner, Olympic gold medal winner, celebrity and TV star recently came out as a transgender woman, and according to CNN the overwhelming reaction has been love. If a true man’s man like Bruce Jenner can announce he is transitioning with such positive reaction, have we reached the tipping point for transgender acceptance?
At first blush it would seem that Bruce Jenner has helped shift the public perception another tick in the direction of acceptance. The reactions from his [Ed: Bruce has asked that we use male pronouns until transitions fully, so we are honoring his wishes] family members was love, and support.
Khloe, his stepdaughter says she is ‘soooo proud of you! Dads really are heros’, his ex-wife says ‘Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero’. Kourtney, his step daughter says ‘Couldn’t be a more proud daughter. With courage and bravery, let’s change the world. I am honored to stand by Bruce’s sideand support him’.
Before I pontificate more, a few words are in order:
Welcome to the Community
Bruce, welcome to our community! It is a wonderful, diverse, loving and supportive group of people from around the world. We welcome you with open arms, and are grateful for the positive light in which you’ve shown the transgender community. We all know intimately how long and how hard your struggle has been. You have displayed great courage to take your first steps in the public limelight.
I am sure that any in the transgender community will be here for you if you ever need support in your journey!
Does this change the transgender experience?
Stepping back to view the past and future by decades and generations we will doubtless see Bruce’s revelation as a strong step forward in transgender rights. However, as @TheTaskForce notes on Twitter – “Beyond Bruce Jenner, Transgender people are twice as likely to be unemployed, 1 in 5 experience homelessness and 29% have been denied medical care.”
Those in the transgender community are more likely than any other group to be in crisis mode. Transgender people attempt suicide at a rate 10x that of the overall population, and twice that of lesbian, gay or bisexual people. Loss of income, loss of family, loss of friends, even loss of life – transgender people have a difficult road to travel. For every success story there are hundreds, maybe even thousands more who aren’t so lucky.
We need to keep working to help those in our community – share your gifts with those who need it most. Whether it’s a helping hand, a kind word or a smile when you see someone stepping out for the first time. We are strong when we stand together. When we stand together the world will stand with us.
Hope peaks over the horizon
Of all the quotes about Bruce Jenner, I think this one from Jimmy Fallon so fittingly captures the zeitgeist of the moment, and the historical impact his coming out will have on future generations of transgender women (and men):
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) April 25, 2015
Bruce said it best himself, “I would like to think that we can save some lives here,” said Jenner, who admitted he once considered suicide at a low point when seen by paparazzi heading to a surgery to have his Adam’s apple shaved back. “I have a feeling this is my cause in life. This is why God put me on this Earth, to deal with this issue.”
May we all grow stronger from your courage. Thank you Bruce!
Image from ABC News.
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