Saturday, February 7, 2015

The T in LGBT

Transgender people are the last of the alternative sexualities to receive public attention and respect.

Us Weekly is one of the magazines that shows up on our kitchen table, and Bruce Jenner has won a cover photo on it several times in the last few months.

On November 24, 2014, the cover above appeared.  Both the facial expressions and the negative words "secret" and "double life" sensationalized his transition and showed bias in favor of traditional gender roles, though the words "finally free" hinted at understanding.

Because of this cover, someone in our usually tolerant family made a disparaging remark about Bruce's transition.

I was surprised because we have attended two churches over the last twenty years, each of which includes a respected member who is a transgender man.  (The churches are St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica and Brentwood Presbyterian Church in West Los Angeles.)

"So what? It's no big deal," I said, earning scorn for showing off as more PC than thou.

Then in Touch Magazine took the liberty of photo-shopping him into a female with make-up on the cover of its January 14, 2015, issue.  How unfair.  Would the editors photo-shop Jennifer Lopez with their own choice of make-up on a cover?

The February 9 and February 16 Us Weekly covers still feature him and his Kris Kardashian, but now with the words "Bruce's brave announcement" and the negative language directed at her: "Kris in denial" and "bitter ex-wife."

Thank you to Nicholas Kristof for publishing a compassionate column this week in the New York Times titled "Bruce Jenner's Courage."

He cites terrible statistics: 13 transgender women murdered in 2014 in the US, and three so far this year. 41% of transgender persons have attempted suicide, according to a study in 2011.

Time for a little compassion.  We can all thank Bruce for taking on this issue, whether he wanted to or not.

Kristof concludes, "Bruce Jenner is now a gold medalist again.  Come on, Wheaties.  It's time to put him back on the box."

I second that motion.

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