25 January 2015

Whatever He Is, He Isn't A Joke

For too long, too many people have seen transgender people as a joke.

Through my childhood, the punchline was "Christine Jorgensen."  Later, Renee Richards became the trigger to the laughtrack.  

By the time I started my transition, Michael Jackson would fill that role.  Even though almost nobody thought he was transgendered, the first thing most people think of when someone mentions trans people is "surgery."  Cosmetic surgery, to be exact, as if it were all about altering our appearance.  

Now, it seems, the new punchline is Bruce Jenner.  Rumors have swirled that the 1976 Olympic Decathlon champion and reality TV star has begun to transition.  Not surprisingly, entertainment and gossip magazines have published Photoshopped portraits of Bruce.  One such publication has a cover of him in pink lipstick  a blowout hairdo, a silk scarf--and former Dynasty star Stepanie Beacham's body--grafted onto his head.

I will not speculate on whether Jenner is actually going through a gender transition.  Whether or not he is, he needs and deserves to be left to live his life in peace.  And, even though he is the stepfather of children who have made a career of being famous for, well, being famous, he should not be the newest butt of jokes about transgender people.

(Please don't take my use of male pronouns in reference to Jenner as a judgment on whether or not he is transitioning or even transgender.  As long as he doesn't announce that he is trans or transitioning, or any intention of living as a woman, he should be referred to as "he" and "him".)


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