Yes indeed, enough with the silence already … Many changes are in process in my life and I have thought that once it all shook out I would resume my writing. Then, like so many other times in my life it suddenly dawned on me that my life has always been in a state of flux; always changing so why should this circumstance prevent me from my appointed expressions.
Do not take my recent silence as a sign that I have just checked out and have been ignoring what’s going on the world in general, in our nation or in my community, and by community I mean the gender-variant community. In each of these cases I have formed very specific and firm opinions that are studied and resolute.
So, let me start with the last item from the list above; the events that have transpired in the gender-variant community. The night that Dianne Sawyer interviewed then “Bruce” Jenner I left work early in order to get home in time to see the entire interview. I admit, I wasn’t expecting to be impressed; quite the opposite. I was expecting to be totally repulsed by the entire thing or at the very least to be left thinking, “Oh please, give me a break.” But that’s not what happened.
By the time the first commercial break came I was in a state of something resembling amazement. I was watching a person who had spent in excess of five of his six plus decades living in the same world I had lived in for roughly the same amount of time. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to imply that I was in the public eye as he was, because I certainly wasn’t. I’m referring to the world of fear; fear of what others would think if they knew what unseen spirit lay hidden beneath the macho male image that I showed the world.
Bruce, and that is the last time I will refer to that name, now Caitlyn, has done something for our community that no other person has been able to do … ever! She has given us a real voice. There have been a few people over the years who have achieved some notoriety for being trans-gendered, but they have only achieved that fame, that notoriety by virtue of being trans-gendered not because of who the entire world knew them as before their gender reassignment.
Caitlyn was known to the entire world as the world’s perfect man for over fifty years. Her very public and honest disclosure of her struggle was only noticed because of who the world had known her as before. There are thousands of stories like hers but they have gone virtually unnoticed because no one cared enough to examine their plight since they were not important enough make a difference. Caitlyn is important enough to make a difference … and that’s the difference.
The world in general, does not deal well with people who are different, look different, act different, speak differently or dress differently. When I speak to college classes at this point in my life I use the following comparative analogy in the hopes of driving the point home.
“For the men here I want you to consider what your life would be like if, regardless of what your emotional, mental and gender identity is; that you most likely enjoy guy things. You may enjoy sports, you enjoy sporting a beard, muscle shirts maybe, baggy jeans, whatever it is that you visibly use to show the world that you’re a “guy”. Now consider what your life would be like if “society” said to you, “We don’t care what you “feel” like, we the society you find yourself in are telling you that you have to wear dresses, high heels, shave your legs and your armpits, spend hours putting on makeup; in short, being dainty, because that’s the way we think you should live.” Each day of your life would be one more day of a miserable existence because you were being forced to live a life not suited to your emotional makeup; an emotional makeup and gender identity which go to your very core.
For the women here … put that shoe on the other foot. What would your life be like if society said to you, “We don’t care what you feel like we, the society you find yourself in, say that you cannot do any of the things that express your feminine spirit. You must not wear makeup, must not shave your legs, armpits, pluck your eyebrows, etc. You must wear baggy jeans, sloppy tee-shirts; in short, drag your knuckles, burp and belch … and basically act like a slug.” You would live the same miserable existence as your counterparts, the guys in dresses.
I will leave you with that thought for now. I didn’t get to the other issues I mentioned earlier … but I will. But before I go I want to say to Caitlyn Jenner, “Thank you for your courage and the voice you bring to our world. I hope you use it well.”