America Needs a Transitioning Olympian

Sat, 04/25/2015 - 07:37
Submitted by Carlin Ross

Last night I stayed up way past my new-mom bedtime to watch Diane Sawyer's interview with Bruce Jenner.  I'll admit that I watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians when it first aired and there was something tragic about Bruce.  At first, I thought it was his reservations about doing a reality show.  Now I know that he was struggling with coming out as transgendered. 

His sincerity and pain were unquestionable.  And his strength - he took his struggle and channeled it into Olympic gold.  Amazing.  But being the top athlete in the world, having the perfect chiseled physique didn't change that he was a woman "in his soul".  He's waited 65 years to transition.  I can't imagine what that must feel like, living your whole life denying your true self.  Bruce said exactly what I've heard ever trans person say when explaining their decision to transition: that they couldn't live a lie anymore.  

So maybe reality television, Kardashian mania, and the dumbing down of America will serve some greater purpose.  I think America needs a transitioning Olympian to better understand gender identity issues.  Hopefully, Bruce has initiated the dialogue that needs to happen. I'm looking forward to meeting "her". 

Strict gender roles oppress us all: cisgendered and transgendered.  It's all part of the same slippery slope of prejudice.  If you can deny gay people housing, if you can fire trans people, if you can pay women less for the same work without any legal repercussions it sends a message that it's ok to discriminate and commit violence against members of our community. 

F*ck Olympic gold.  This is going to be Bruce Jenner's greatest moment, his true legacy. 

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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B. Jenner

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 17:04
LaDonna Deere (not verified)

Thanks Carlin for your very educated, enlightened remarks about Bruce
Jenner's transition. I've noticed a lot of negativity and just plain
hate written in responses to this story on other venues on-line. It
takes courage to do what he's doing and my admiration of him went from indifferent
to hero status. The tears ran down my cheeks as I watched him struggle
telling his story and how much he was describing my similar feelings. I
have yet to make the same moves he has made but the lie I live every
day (as a man) is getting more difficult as the months and years go by. I
don't know if I could ever do it but it's a constant desire. If I lived
alone without close family and employees that depend on me, I would
have started transitioning long ago. I find it amazing how most
transgendered men's stories about their lives are so similar to each
other and my life as well. Are we a mistake in genetics or was their a
drug or environment that our mothers were exposed to during our gestation? I
wish I (and I'm sure others as well) knew the answer. My mother took
the drug Stilbesrtol to combat her severe morning sickness and I've
always wondered if this was made me what I am. Thanks to you and Betty for your site and the wisdom you share with us.
I just wish I would have had this resource available to me when I was a
young guy and discovered much earlier that I wasn't alone in the
feelings I have.

Bruce Jenner - TG

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 19:21
Briezy (not verified)

While I admire his courage to come out so spectacularly on national TV, I fear for Bruce. Most transsexuals I know have done this very privately so as not to attract too much danger to themselves or cause more hardship for their families. After all, and even Bruce said this, most just want to "blend" in after transitioning. Transitioning so late in life and doing it so publicly will make it hard for Bruce to blend in. After my MTF surgery, I found the employment discrimination against me to be unbelievable and almost lost my home. I finally sued one of the companies that was already to hire me after vetting me as a very qualified candidate only to be suddenly dropped from contention when they learned I was TS. I'd had enough at that point and decided to sue them. My now disbarred GLAD referred lawyer failed to protect my identity and I was beaten physically and my home was targeted and damaged. There was all sorts of other discrimination as well, including some from law enforcement people. I lost my case due to extremely poor representation by my lawyer and the current bias in our justice system. I would also like to point out that the interview with Diane was incorrect when she said that only 8% of people had ever even met a TS person. Fortunately a lot of post-ops are able to blend successfully so you might have one living right next to you and never know. We are certainly the next wave in the LGBTQ community to try to win acceptance and equality in all areas so role models like Bruce and Laverne certainly help to get the word out there BUT, these people are very well off financially and have the resources to not only spend a lot on their final post op appearance but also to protect themselves as much as possible from any harm that might come their way. That is NOT the case for most TS folks. I wish only the best for Bruce as he goes forward with transition but I would caution many who have read about or have seen the interview with Bruce, that they not be tempted to jump into the limelight when transitioning. Be safe, be smart, be realistic, be confident, and follow the appropriate steps set down in the HBSOC as you move forward. It was clear that Bruce has and will likely continue not to properly follow such steps and this is the wrong message.