Before I start this column, I’d like to make one thing abundantly clear: I’m not the best person to talk to about this issue. I am not a transgender person and I don’t really know anyone who is. There are a plethora of people who have more knowledge and experience regarding this topic, and who are, therefore, far better equipped to write a column on it.
However, I am a vocal supporter of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community and feel like I need to speak up.
After speaking with the MSU LBGT Resource Center, I was informed of things I didn’t previously know, and now I feel I can adequately defend my opinion.
For the past week, my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with opinions on Caitlyn Jenner. I’ve seen people both support and criticize her decision to transition from Bruce Jenner, a male, to Caitlyn Jenner, a female. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve unfriended the majority of my Facebook friends who’ve criticized her or made her transition a joke.
Why? Because it’s not their place to tell Caitlyn how to live her life.
I’ve noticed a lot of the people shaming Caitlyn typically do so in the name of their religion. They insist God made “him” the way “he” was meant to be.
Well, I hate to break it to you people, but not everyone believes in God.
And even if you do believe in God, what about all of those Bible verses that go on and on about loving your neighbor and not judging them?
To quote Matthew 7:2-3, “In the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
I could list a multitude of other verses that preach the same thing, but I think you get the point.
I’ve also noticed a lot of people comparing Caitlyn to American troops, saying she isn’t a hero because, “being yourself isn’t brave.”
Let’s get one thing straight — bravery isn’t a contest. It comes in a multitude of forms, all of which are valid.
Caitlyn Jenner is brave and the troops are brave, one doesn’t discredit the other, and to think otherwise is rather silly, in all honesty.
Furthermore, coming out as a transgender person, especially when you’re in the public eye, is in fact a pretty damn brave thing to do, considering how unwelcoming our society is overall toward transitioning.
There’s a disproportionate number of transgender people murdered; one expert estimating a 1 in 12 chance a transgender woman living in the U.S. will be murdered.
In addition, transgender people face a much higher risk of being discriminated against in terms of housing and healthcare.
With all of this in mind, it’s honestly pretty damn stupid to say coming out as a transgender person isn’t brave.
The funny thing is, critics who are saying Caitlyn isn’t brave are just demonstrating how unaccepting most of society is toward the transgender community, and the furious backlash shows exactly how brave she is to transition, despite such blatant hate.
I know people are going to be offended by this column. However, I’m not going to sit here and play nice while people are going out of their way to needlessly shame and belittle others.
This is a pretty controversial issue right now, but it shouldn’t be. It all boils down to live and let live. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. No one has the right to dictate what other people do with their bodies or with their lives.
To shame someone for being a transgender person is no different than shaming someone for their interests or hobbies. It’s bullying, it’s hurtful and there is no excuse for it.
I fully support Caitlyn Jenner and the transgender community as a whole. There are a lot of issues and fights still needing to be won, but I do believe our society is slowly, but surely, starting to make some progress.
And to those who continue to bash Caitlyn Jenner, I’ll leave you with this: worry about your own life.