One of the things I love about America in general, and even more so the promise of the West is that one can remake themselves. That it matters less out here in California than in older societies where you born, you are less bound to tradition. Still, we have done some AWFUL non progressive things out West. Japanese internment camps jump to mind as I’m reading a great book on the subject. Whether it be with education, career, or avocation we can change ourselves. Now, with Caitlyn Jenner, gender change might seem more possible to people. It’s a radical leap. I will not pretend to always feel comfortable when I see a trans guy or girl. Sometimes it’s nothing, sometimes amusing, sometimes upsetting. Especially when it’s a hooker in Hollywood and I am glimpsing a bit of a downtrodden life.
I do admire Bruce Jenner’s change because I think it’s hard to really change yourself.. let alone your gender. I look and dress an awful lot like I did 30 years ago. My eyebrows are plucked, but I still wear leggings. A friend at my wedding said my dress reminded her of my prom dress. Others change more drastically. Some people change their name. My mom changed her first name. Why not? No one asks us what name we want.
Biology does not define family. I feel that keenly since losing my brother, of non bio origin. Some have said, ‘Oh, but he wasn’t your REAL brother.” (teeth grind)
So, let’s do this.. let’s let everyone define themselves for themselves. Names, occupation loved ones, and I guess identity. It’s a stretch. It’s not always easy to go along with, but what the hell? Let’s humor each other. That’s what friends do.
The last call I got from Jeff was when he was concerned about a friend of ours whose adult child was transitioning. It was a surprise as we had known the person since childhood, but he wanted to know the well being of our long time friend, the mom. Even for liberally minded, it’s a transition for the family and friends as well.
“Is she okay?” He wanted to know. Not knowing what deep torment he was in at the time that would cause him to take his own life 6 weeks later. I so wish he had felt he could have come back home and start anew. He didn’t have to be a success, that he could be poor and we would figure it out. He had an idea of what he wanted to be and wasn’t getting there. How great to be able to say, “I’m going to not only change the way you see me, but how I see myself.” After someone you love takes their life someone else you know being trans gender starts to feel like “Please pass the potato salad.” Not that important.
I know a lot of people are going to make fun of Caitlyn Jenner. Lots of Bruce Jenner jokes. I know trans kid will still be made fun of. But, it would be better to be kind. If they want to dress up and blow a bugle and call themselves Teddy
Why not salute?
Beside, Bruce was a handsome man and Caitlyn is a nice looking woman. Bully for her.