As you know I am an ally/activist/part of the LGBT+ (Is that what we call it now a days? It's always changing on me) community, and with the press and world in an uproar of Miss Caitlyn Jenner and her transition from Bruce to Caitlyn. And I have seen the question of "how is her transition 'courageous' when we have service people risking their lives for our country?" I decided that I want to answer this - because it's important to differeniate between the two.
Now, a Facebook friend posted an counter argument to a picture that was posted on the social networking site. Here is the picture in question:
Looking at this, at face value, it is pretty harmless. My friend's argument didn't touch on the other arguement - the fact that the maker of this photo used Caitlyn's birthname (Bruce). It shows that this person who made this photo was both bigoted and ignorant.
Not only that, but they have no actual knowledge of what a person who transitions goes through. Let's talk about courage, shall we?
Now, I will be the first to admit, I am not a fan of the who military industrial complex. I think that America has too big of a dick and they thrust it too far into other countries' business. But, I degress.
There are several reasons that I disagree with this photo. Mainly on my system of beliefs, but I can't stand that people seem to think that what Caitlyn did is not courageous. As my friend looked up for her counter argument, courage is defined as such: ""Not deterred by danger or pain; brave.""
What the author of this photo probably doesn't understand is that there is pain and danger involved in transitioning. We can look at the countless trans* people that have took their lives because of abuse or outright hatred for trying to become who they are deep down. The one that sticks out that made national news was Miss Leelah Alcorn of King Mills, Ohio. She was born and assigned the male gender at her birth as Joshua. I am reading about the abuse her parents forced on to her - conversion therapy. And it kills me, it makes me want to weep for this young girl. This girl was basically shut off from the world by her conservative Christian parents because she was a trans*female. Leelah was beautiful. After Leelah's death, her mother continued to misgender her. Calling her 'him' and referring to her child (that mind you, she put through conversion therapy which I consider abuse because of the mental torture and abuse used to 'fix' the person in question) by her birth name. Leelah's mother even said "We don't support that, religiously" and "But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy." (Citation here)
So, you're telling me that you supported your child by putting them through the pain and suffering of conversion therapy. A parent supports their child by accepting their decisions. Yes, advise them if they are making bad decisions. You can help them but when you purposely hurt them because on a religous ground cannot "support that" you're the asshole. You are an abusive asshole. And while my heart goes out to the parents are Leelah because they lost a child. Their daughter. It sucks and it's painful to lose a loved one. But they have no sympathy from me because they hurt their child.
There are countless other trans*people that were lost, not to suicide but to violence. Lamia Beard was shot in Norfolk, Virgina. Ty Underwood of Tyler, Texas was shot and killed in her car. There are several others besides these two. These are two of reported murders.
It's not only trans*people either. It's the entire LGBT+ community. Suicides of the LGBT+ community break my heart, especially the younger kids. Leelah was 17. There is also Jim Wheeler of Lebanon, PA was 19. Jadin Bell was 15. Jamey Rodmeyer was 14 and it doesn't stop there. Why is it that such young people are dying? Bullying. Kids are vicious. Because the generation before us (the millenial generation) have been raised by baby boomers and conservatives - making them want to teach us the way of their parents (our grandparents) but that isn't it. With how the world has changed, if we don't help change it... who will? There will be more and more deaths and suicides. There will be more pointless deaths - parents losing children, friends and siblings losing loved ones that could have been prevented.
My parents (the people who raised me) were Jewish, birth mother - Catholic. I don't know about my birth father's religious affliations. And while my parents were relatively lax on my religious upbringing (a bar/bat mitzvah here or there, a wedding, Rosh Hashana and Passover were the ones we celebrated with family), it was felt elsewhere. The place I went through high school, religion was felt.
According to City-Data.com, the city I went to high school is 54% Catholic, 14% Southern Baptist, 8% Lutheran and 24% Other (Citation here). That is a lot of religion right there. And while I can admit, based on my own beliefs I am an Atheist. And Atheist and Agnostism is not even counted on this data. Within the distance of MAYBE 5-6 miles there were thirteen churches or temples of my house I lived in in high school. Thirteen.
Again, I degress on my previous point. What I was pointing out is that the generations before us set up a society in which the religious beliefs which make us believe that LGBT+ is wrong. With the milennial generation (births ranging 1980 to Early 2000) being more accepting, it is us that will change the society in which we live - which is being shown with the 37 states gay marriage is allowed in. The fact that LGBT+ rights have had an increased issue.
Back to Caitlyn and the Tran*issues here. When it discusses courage, there is the courage to go head to head with opposition. And then there is the courage to serve your country. They are two different types of courage. You can stand down an AR-15 and AK-47 but not be able to handle the hatred from people and being trans* while on the other hand, you can face down the hatred and the thought of staring down a weapons terrifies you. I thank the service men and women who serve my country. I appreciate they put their lives on the line to defend a country that has shit foriegn policy.
Then there is Laverne Cox (who is so fabulous and feirce). She spoke up about the whole "Call me Caitlyn" Vanity Fair cover issue here on her Tumblr. She speaks up about how the trans* movement has so much more work to do, and I agree. While in Hollywood, trans*people are a little more accepted, there are backwards places (Southern states and conservative states... conservative nations and countries) that are opposing it all.
Republicans (Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, the 'American Family Associate) are speaking out against Caitlyn. Caitlyn identifies as a Republican, which I think will end up changing while she goes through and faces more opposition. You can find the Republicans' opposition in Secular Talk/Kyle Kulinski Caitlyn Jenner, TYT Mike Huckabee Caitlyn Jenner, and David Pakman Caitlyn Jenner ,Segment. There are a few more in those channels on YT but I can't find them right now.
A little background though on the people mentioned: Rush Limbaugh is 64 and born in the middle of the baby boom (baby boomers are defined as children born between 1946 and 1964 and gave birth to generation x (born between 1960 and 1980)). Mike Huckabee is 59 and born in 1955 - another baby boomer. Glenn Beck is born in 1964 and could both be considered a Generation X or Baby Boomer. Other people who have spoken out about LGBT+ rights - Rick Santorum (Baby Boomer, 1958), Michele Bachmann (Baby Boomer, 1956), Rick Perry (Baby Boomer, 1950). While Marco Rubio is also against LGBT+ rights, he is considered a Generation X memeber.
These people are a majority Baby Boomer generation. They are either too bigoted to realized that the world has changed and that the current generation for decision making (the 18+ peeps, so if you were born in 1997) have a majority of the power. Though, we have a terrible case of laziness. But while the generations call us lazy and everything, we have an easier way to connect: the Internet.
That is another thing to write though.
Thank you very much for reading this to the end if you did.