The web is oozing with the long awaited introduction of Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner’s new feminine identity. A cover of on Vanity Fair, several quotes and interviews, and a mind numbing number of posts and tweets with affirmations, compliments, cheap stabs and a few with outright disgust.
What surprised me is that I was bothered by the whole thing.
Was it the negative feedback and media coverage? Not really. Critics are to be expected and the media has been all over this from the beginning.
Was I jealous? Maybe a little. It would be great to have the professional assistance with make up, hair, style, etc. that she has obviously had. It’s amazing what can be bought with the resource pool she has at her fingertips.
Was I put off by the sexy, polished look of the cover and the photos? Perhaps a little. It’s not an image I would put out there for myself, but the pictures are beatiful.
After some thought and reflection, I realized that what was bothering me from the coverage of Caitlyn’s experience was that it wasn’t my experience. The cameras, the media, the resources are all part of what she is experiencing in her transition and it in many ways stands in stark contrast to what I have experienced over the last few years.
It also occurred to me that this was really no different than a preteen watching a pop-star or super model and saying “that’s not my life”, “that’s not a real looking body” or “most people can’t live that way and get that kind of attention.” Hollywood, New York, Paris and Milan can be just as challenging to transgender people as they are to the rest of the world!
My challenge to myself is to appreciate Caitlyn’s journey, in as much as she shares it with us and I have time to follow it without letting it take anything away from my own journey (bearing in mind that even with reality TV in the picture we are only getting an edited version of her story). I have different goals, financial priorities, support structures, personal strengths and personal struggles. And the same can be said for every person, trans or otherwise, that I am blessed to do life with. Our stories are unique, our lives are unique, and each one is just as meaningful and valuable as the next.
Some of you came to the blog as a result of a letter I sent out to old facebook friends. In the next few weeks I’ll be sending a similar letter out to my social circles here in Texas. (I called Vanity Fair, their covers are booked for the foreseeable future! I’ll have to rely on good old social media.) I am sure that the conversation Caitlyn is stirring will help to pave the way for that letter and prime the conversation in our own corner of the world.
The bottom line is that I was reminded today that I am a very real person (I know, I’m disappointed too). So is Caitlyn. Her reality is just on a bit different plane than most of us.