There recently has been a backlash against Caitlyn Jenner and the courage label that has been placed on her throughout her transition. The most common argument is to show a soldier and then claim that Caitlyn takes away from the troops fighting to keep the free world safe. In some cases these arguments are presented in a very hateful way that does not only mock Caitlyn, but the whole transgender community. This courage argument needs to end so that we can all focus on the more important issues on the road to transgender equality.
I want to state up front that soldiers are by their nation a definition of courage and I don’t think anyone would even consider disputing that. I would also add firefighters, the police, and even the coast guard to that same definition. The fact that this is a given is why the courage argument is being used by the extreme right to undermine Caitlyn Jenner and take focus away from acceptance and equality which they do not want. Make no mistake, this is a political move and it is almost working. I say almost as I really don’t think the continued growth of transgender acceptance and equality can be stopped.
Detractors from Caitlyn’s courage will generally start asking where was she during the gay struggles in the previous centuries. Let me point out that these moments in time are irrelevant because Caitlyn was not courageous in the 70’s and 80’s. She is courageous now in the present. The past, in this argument, is really not important because Caitlyn is here in the present advancing transgender acceptance and equality. The other thing they will bring up is her mansion and money and all of the resources that the rest of us do not have. I am grateful that she has that money and the resources to keep our plight front and center. If she didn’t have that, we would not have made as many strives forward in the past few months as we have.
Caitlyn has put a lot on the line to save lives and make no mistake she is saving lives. Her transition may seem easy but I can assure you that it wasn’t easy for her and it took a lot of courage to risk everything like she did. The Facial Feminization Surgery alone was definitely hard on her, especially at her age. She still hasn’t fully healed from that surgery as it can take a full year. She risked family, friends, and public opinion. She also put it all front and center to help the transgender community and to change the public view. It is not about publicity and even if it were, it is still having the same effect, which is something we needed.
I said that Caitlyn is saving lives and that is true. She has had an effect on people; she has had an effect on me. She is one of the reasons I stepped out of the shadows and came out on YouTube. I came out in an intense VLog and I gave her due credit in the process. She is keeping the light focused on us and we need to stand up and ensure that we all do what we can to move further towards equality. I speak a lot more on this in “Caitlyn Jenner and the Transgender Collective.”
Transgender people are courageous and that courage is something to be respected and not mocked or disregarded. Many of us risk our lives daily just being who we are and this is especially true with transgender women of color. Transitioning is not easy for a lot of us and we still do it despite the discrimination, violence directed at us, and in come cases it can even cost us out lives. Unlike a soldier, we do not get to opt into this danger; there is no choice. Transgender courage is very real and very valid and worth recognizing. Bravo Caitlyn, I recognize your courage and thank you for your efforts for the transgender community.