A beloved national icon and reality-television star, Bruce Jenner, has recently come forth as one of the LGBTQ community’s own.
Jenner, having lived 65 years of her life as a man, came forth to the world in January with her true identity, Ms. Belinda Jenner. While the LGBTQ community welcomes a new member to its ever-growing family, and the Kardashians and Jenners are showing their unconditional love and support, the media has not exactly been quite as supportive. Large, well-renowned news sources such as People, Time and Hollywood Life continue to misgender Jenner, despite recognizing the fact that she is currently going through a transition. US Weekly has even gone as far as to fabricate a false, inaccurate account of an interview with Jenner’s daughter, Kendall. She was “quoted” backstage at Comedy Central’s roast of Justin Bieber as having said, “He’s a wonderful man. And just because he’s changing shoes now, so to speak, doesn’t make him less wonderful. I will always love my dad, whether he’s a man or a woman.” This statement, however, was proven inaccurate when Kendall tweeted denying she had ever talked to an interviewer from US Weekly.
While mass-media outlets and news sources are creating false propaganda relating to Jenner’s transition, this does not change the fact that Jenner’s realization has created a place for the transgender and transsexual community in today’s media. Identifying as trans up until fairly recently has been considered a taboo by most. Despite trans people’s inclusion and grouping with the LGBTQ community, for some reason society fails to recognize them as existing on the same plane as your average gay, lesbian or bisexual person. This makes little to no sense, however, considering trans people face the same oppression and cruelty that other queer people face regularly.
Sexuality and gender are issues that do, in fact, go hand in hand. They are both sub-genres of an identity, just as race, ethnicity or religion. Each of these aspects, among others, are what makes human beings who they are. Each of these aspects, as well as the oppression following them, builds a character and a personality. If you think about it, would you quite actually exist as you if you were, for example, not queer, but straight? (Or vice versa). Would you really be you if you were not black, but Asian?
This is why Jenner’s transition holds itself as such an important victory for the trans community. Many of the aforementioned identity groupings already have representation in global media. The trans community, however, lacks significant representation. There are not many trans celebrities in today’s media, and those who are, are known mainly for being trans. It has not really been until now that the trans community has witnessed a celebrity with an already-amassed following come out to the world with her true identity.
This is why Jenner’s coming out holds such a beauty that gossip-rag fans and the media are failing to recognize. With the emergence of her identity will possibly come the emergence of others; with that will in turn come the acceptance and solidarity of trans people. And with that, hopefully with time, will come the acceptance and solidarity of mass amounts of varying other identity groupings. People are failing to see the big picture of Jenner’s transition. While it definitely in itself will not be the tipping point, it is indeed a step in the right direction to a beautiful, wonderful communalized world.
Rachel Levin is a sophomore at Abington Senior High School.