Stop gawking over Caitlyn Jenner (preview)

Sam Smith / Opinion Director

sam.smith@fiusm.com


Recently, Caitlyn Jenner revealed her true identity. Although she may not be wearing a cape and tights, she is something of a hero. As a trans woman who has had the bravery, not only to come out, but to transition amidst so much controversy, and relatively late in life, she has given much hope to the LGBTQ+ community. However, there are a few problems with the uproar over her transition.

First, is the fact that her transition was so fast. Changing one’s appearance in order to match their gender identity, for most, is a long and grueling process. Although we don’t know just how long Caitlyn has been transitioning, there is no denying that it feels as though she made it through the process very quickly. Most people, especially those who are transgender, don’t have the financial ability to go so quickly through a transition, and have to save for years in order to have enough money to pay for¬†surgeries they might need, while simultaneously taking synthetic hormones for the rest of their lives.

What the glamour shots of Caitlyn don’t show you are the struggles of trans people as they try to create for themselves a “passing” appearance. Imagine a transition as going through puberty – again. It was awkward enough the first time, and most people are glad to be done with it, but when someone finds that their bodies don’t match their identities, many are willing to go through it all again in a different way so that they can be happy with themselves.

The biggest problem with the media’s treatment of Caitlyn’s transition, however, is not negativity as one might think. It has been pleasantly surprising just how well the issue has been treated, and I think that it would not have been so positive had she come out ten years ago. The problem is the gawking attitude most outlets have had over her.

While I encourage people to appreciate beauty when they see it, and although Caitlyn is a beautiful woman, too much of a spectacle has been made of her. It is estimated that over 700,000 people in the U.S. are transgender, and although that seems low when compared to a population of over 300 million, it’s no small number. Why are we treating this issue as if it’s some kind of circus side-show when it’s so common? We don’t need people fawning over trans people, we need people understanding them as human – and, of course, not murdering them.

To be continued June 11, 2015.


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About the Author

Sam Smith
The Beacon - Editor-in-Chief

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