Disclaimer: Jenner has previously stated that she didn't have a preferred name or pronouns. I'm referring to her now with the name she's announced and the pronouns she used in her first tweet.
Today, Monday, June 1, 2015, is a momentous day, one that will undoubtedly go down in history. I woke up at noon, as college students on summer break do, to the news that Vanity Fair's newest cover girl had made her first public appearance. Caitlyn Jenner graced the front page of the magazine and showed everyone who she has always been: a beautiful woman.
To be clear, I believe Caitlyn was beautiful before she made her debut and now as she struts her stuff just two months after the televised revelation. Even before any of the surgeries, the makeup and the longer hair, Caitlyn Jenner was a beautiful woman inside and out. And now, as it seems by her content and relaxed look in the new pictures, she believes it as well.
I'm saying this for two reasons: one, because it's true. And two, there is a common perception that a trans person can't be their true self, their most beautiful self, unless they undergo surgery or take hormones. Of course, that isn't true. We need to debunk the myth that a trans person can't be pretty/handsome/attractive without medically transitioning, but also appreciate, understand and respect that some folks don't feel confident or comfortable in their skin unless they do.
When I was younger, I loved to flip through the pages of InStyle or OK! magazine, purely for the fun of it. I didn't really have a strong enough grasp of how terribly exploitative they could be. But I also didn't totally believe them, which I'm still proud of. I used to dismiss the exaggerated headlines and PhotoShopped pictures because, I mean, come on.
That being said, when I first heard the rumors about Jenner's possible transition, I was angry and I wasn't the only one. I couldn't dismiss them as easily as I had once been able to. Logically, I knew that the tabloids were just doing what tabloids do, but this hit too close to home. If it were true, which there was no proof of at the time, then Jenner deserved the utmost privacy and respect. Unlike the usual "fashion faux pas" or "blockbusters that really busted," this wasn't something to be laughed at or mocked. This was a person's identity, regardless of whether they were transitioning or not. It is not something to make into a spectacle for sake of money.
I will be the first to admit that I still don't truly understand why the Kardashians are so famous, and that I'm not their number one fan. But I will also readily confess that since Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer in April, I have seen a few episodes of their reality show -- specifically the About Bruce specials. And I have to admit, I respect and appreciate the possible results of their openness, for once. What this family has done -- what Caitlyn Jenner has done -- is open the world up to a discussion that has been going on for decades. The transgender movement, as many call it, is nothing new. But it is only recently that people are finally acknowledging and talking about it.
This is not to erase or ignore the good and bad things that any of them have done, including Jenner. People say things, as with any "controversy" or anything that takes people out of their comfort zones. They claim is is a publicity stunt, something to boost ratings. As someone who understands some of the things Jenner has said, some of the things she's described, I get it. I can empathize.
I'm not affiliated with a major network or outlet; this is not an endorsement of the Kardashians or a plug for their empire. This is an endorsement of Caitlyn Jenner. This is a message of support, respect and pride in the woman she can finally tell the world that she is. This is a shout-out to all of the gorgeous trans people who have or have not undergone any surgery or hormones. Above all, this is a message of hope. Caitlyn has joined the ranks of inspiring women like Laverne Cox. They have proven that they are people first who happen to also be transgender, and that transgender folks can live fulfilling lives.
I support Caitlyn. I respect her journey and her story. And I am so, so proud stand behind her and watch her find her happiness. Welcome to the world, Caitlyn Jenner.
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