Bruce Jenner was once known as the greatest athlete of all time. But now he is routinely skewered in the press, thanks to his ever changing looks and the famous family to which he will forever be attached.. He sits across from Diane Sawyer herself, to discuss one of the most private and life changing things a human could go through: transitioning from male to female.
He has grown out his hair, and freeingly pulls it from his now infamous ponytail. He speaks about “her,” the female he hopes to emerge as. He coyly avoids giving out his new name, to protect himself from the hellhounds from the media. He sits, in front of millions and millions of people, and he comes out as transgender.
“I am a women” he tells viewers. “It’s who I am, it is my soul”.
He came out and everything is different now, for transgender people, for gay people --or straight people. A face they have been looking at for 10 years, a face they welcomed into their homes for 425 episodes of THAT reality show. The Olympic Gold medalist is changing gender in front of America.
The struggle of transgender people is a real, raw and every changing. 1 in 12 transgender people in America become murder victims, and thousands more displaced from their homes by parents who just don't understand. With 49 percent of transgendered individuals attempting suicide, it’s clear that the status quo is not working. Nothing about being transgender in America is easy.
We see children talking about their misassigned gender, and blame their hippy parents for introducing wild ideas to their young. We assume to know the struggle. We savagely beat trans people caught in the ‘wrong’ bathroom. We have no idea what it’s like to not know, want or love your own body. Being a stranger to yourself cannot be easy.
There is great confusion to many Americans about what Transgender even is. It’s not merely dressing up in women's clothing. Its not being in drag. It’s a genuine belief that a person was born the wrong gender -- the yearning to be female, or male, when you were born a certain gender.
700,000 American people identify as trans. It’s definitely time for a change, and although Laverne Cox and Chaz Bono have found acceptance in Hollywood as transgendered individuals, Bruce Jenner's transition will be the biggest, most watched case gender transition to ever be seen.
What does that mean for the future? For Bruce Jenner, it means years more of heartache met with astounding support and gratitude.
He has -- like it or not -- become the face of the Transgender Movement. For the rest of the transgender HUMAN BEINGS living in this world, we can only hope it means a more understanding and a more open society. The day that every human can be who they want to be without judgment will be the day we win the war on hate, but until then, we can thank Bruce Jenner for introducing us, at least starting the biggest conversation on transgender people in America, and I say that’s a step in the right direction.
If you or someone you know is struggling with gender identity, turn to the Rhode Island LGTB Center.
Be sure to tune in on Tuesday, April 28th, at 9pm to Under the Covers with Mya Destinee -- to find out more, like me on Facebook!