Courage Isn't a Competition - Reflections on Caitlyn Jenner

Here we go again, another Kardashian story.

But this time it's not about scandalous affairs, pedophilia or who is having their next kid. On June 1, 2015 the woman formerly known to the world as Bruce Jenner finally revealed herself to the world as Caitlyn Jenner (insert hallelujah chorus here). Unlike past Kardashian "news," this really broke the internet to say the least.

We've known for a few months about Caitlyn's decision to finally be herself. By decide, I'm simply not saying that she decided to be a woman. I mean, she decided to finally let everyone know who she's always been. However, Caitlyn's not the only celebrity (have you heard of Laverne Cox?), or any human to come out as a transgender woman, so why is she breaking the internet?

For some reason, we allow celebrities to pave the way for what we find acceptable. Because that's their role in society, right? In many ways we see Cailtyn as one of the power figures who will maybe shed light upon the trans* community and even improve cultural attitudes towards the transgender community. It's an unfortunate truth that historically the LGBTQ community have not had it easy. Furthermore violence perpetrated against transgender people, and furthermore transgender women, has been overwhelmingly ignored.

Yet while many congratulated Caitlyn and accepted her, others chose to stay ignorant. Facebook statuses and tweets confirm how upsetting people's attitudes can be. Examples of this ignorances include the use of incorrect gender pronouns and refusal to call Caitlyn by her name (looking at you Drake Bell). However, what I found most conflicting and interesting of all was the outrage regarding Caitlyn winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award over an army veteran, a story that was widely misunderstood.

It's undeniable that what the military does for our nation keeps us indebted to them for all of our lives. They risk their lives, they go to war, they sacrifice themselves for the greater good of the country. It takes courage to do what they do. Which is why many have spoken out about the "unjustness" of recognizing the courage of a "man deciding to become a woman" over an army veteran who lost his limbs in war.

First off, Noah Galloway wasn't confirmed to be in the running for the award. An ignorant twitter user made the comparison joke. After Caitlyn Jenner revealed herself on twitter, Gerry Callahan flocked to twitter to denounce her as a woman and even started the rumor about Galloway being the runner-up for the award. It didn't take long for internet trolls to start spreading the rumor like fire, enough to spark an outcry amongst patriotic conservatives. Posts were made filled with pictures of soldiers who were deemed more courageous for fighting in wars and risking their lives over individuals who came out and revealed who they truly were.

Secondly, it's not just the comments being made, but the attitude behind it all. People criticize Caitlyn's "bravery" for not being bravery at all. Who is anyone to attack a person's character and decide whose courage is worth more than another? This isn't even about who deserves the award anymore. Courage isn't a competition. Courage is not measured by how brave certain individuals are over others.

When I think of courage, I think of individuals such as DW Trantham, a 13-year-old girl who was supported by her school's administration and father when parents felt uncomfortable about her using the same bathroom as their daughters. Or Geena Rocero, a Filipino professional model and founder of Gender Proud who decided to publicly reveal that she was transgender at a TED talk. And how could we forget Sgt. Shane Ortega, a military soldier who was assigned female at birth but underwent transition while serving for the United States Army and is currently fighting for his right to continue to serve?

If the comparison is incorrect then what is this controversy about? This is about how people are blissfully unaware of how they're actually against trans people. Last time I checked, servicemen and women don't get harassed for simply wanting to be themselves.

Yes, it's undeniable that they're brave for going to war and risking their lives for our country and our nation appreciates all that the military does, but bravery comes in different shapes, sizes and forms. There is no need to compare bravery, because it's not to be compared. We all have our own battles, you shouldn't ridicule anyone for fighting them.