So it’s finally out. Bruce Jenner is transgender. The gossip sites are flooded with articles and developing stories. We can revel in discussions about Kris Jenner’s money grabbing schemes, how it is all for publicity, what a fraud Bruce has been to his ex-wives and his children and bla, bla, bla. Head over to Radaronline or TMZ for your daily dose of ignorance, hatred, religious righteousness and all that kind of stuff. World of warning though, don’t blame me if the commentary makes you so angry you literally makes you scream.
On the other hand you might be completely against the whole ‘sell your soul to reality TV for a few minutes of fame. You might think it’s promoting selfishness, shallowness and contributing to everything that is wrong in the world today. Why should you have an interest in this story?
I’ll tell you why. The trans mental health study (2012) makes for shocking and upsetting reading about how transgender people are treated in society. Here are some interesting tidbits from that study about transgender mental health:
- 55% of transgendered people are currently diagnosed with depression and 38% are currently diagnosed with anxiety.
- 38% reported that they have been sexually harassed with 19% having been beaten up for being trans and 14% of people have been sexually assaulted and 6% have been raped for being transgendered.
- 53% of transgendered people are or have been self harming.
- 48% of all transgender people have attempted suicide. 48%.
I once had the privilege to work with a transgender client. She had much sadness. The process of officially coming out as transgender was long drawn and exhausting for her, faced with being disowned by her own family because she was going against God’s will and they could not condone that in fear of going to hell. It makes me sad that people think that have got a right to judge/ condemn or hurt other people just because it goes against their religion or just out of sheer ignorance. The road to full transition is long. It takes years. It looks different for each person. It’s not fun. But it’s a chance of a person matching their looks to how they feel. Imagine for second to wake every morning going to the toilet and looking at the wrong equipment. Hating it, cutting it to change it, putting needles in it because you hate whatever you have there.
I’ve also just watched Louis Theroux’s documentary on transgendered children. Very interesting and educating. A short summery is basically by helping children who identify themselves as something other then their birth assigned sex at different stages you can cut out a lot of the depression, anxiety, self harming and suicide. As one doctor put it: the way I balance it out is that IF this child changes its mind later on at least he or she is alive to change again. Also, by supporting children transitioning it gives them a better chance to also look like the person they feel with things as felting puberty until they are sure and other hormone therapies.
So the reason why Bruce Jenner’s story is important is that it is helping raising awareness of the issues mentioned above. Bruce is showing that you can be a successful Gold Olympic champion, generally successful in life and still feel there is a mismatch in who you are. Personally I like that fact Bruce has decided to do this at the age of 65. It shows that gender identity issues has got nothing to do with sex or sexual preference. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity to others to allow people to be who they want.
Some people are he, some people are she and some are both or somewhere in between. Who cares? What difference does it make to my life? None whatsoever. Just let people be who they are. So what if others find it confusing? The only person it needs to make sense to is the person experiencing it.
So I wish Bruce and all the other transgender people out there the best of luck!