- Politics and Social Issues
Why Caitlyn Jenner and Rachel Dolezal are Worms, and Other Stories about Fakers
My new book, Plastiline, now available on Amazon!
Dear Caitlyn Jenner
Glamour, are you kidding me? You named this faker as Woman of the Year?
I honestly couldn't care less about the Bruce-to-Caitlyn transition; that is, I couldn't if it happened quietly, 30 years ago. I'm not going to argue semantics here, either. He says he felt like a woman, so why didn't he just transition back then?
The answer, of course, was that it would have been too hard. I wrote another hub about that, so I won't go into details about why I think that you, Caitlyn Jenner, are the lowliest of worms, except to say this: You want all the glamor and benefits of being a woman, but I will never call you a woman. You don't get to live your entire life free from the suffering that often plagues our gender, then jump in when it's convenient for you.
It's great that you've embraced your womanhood, in designer heels and dresses and expensive trips to the salon, without having to do any of the work; without any of the hard work and sacrifice that many poorer, less-connected transgenders who come out early in life have to suffer through.
Germaine Greer said it best: By placing Jenner on a pedestal, we are feeding the patriarchy. That men are even better at being women than women!
I apologize if this sounds indelicate, but if you haven't suffered what woman all over this planet have to suffer through, if you have not sacrificed as women are forced to sacrifice every day, you don't get the same standing that we've earned. You did not bear your children, Caitlyn. And as much as I will support your decision to "be" a woman, you will NEVER earn the title from me.
And I would say NONE of this to the countless transgender women who transitioned in spite of it being hard, even when they lost their jobs, their friends and their family members because they chose to be true to themselves. No, I reserve these judgements for you and those like you, those people who only do something when it is consequence-free.
People will probably say I'm being too harsh. But here's why I'm right: Just like Rachel, you will always have that escape hatch.
Dear Rachel Dolezal
No, Rachel, you don't get to be black. Sorry, you're as much of a white girl as I am.
And your parents pulling the escape cord on your nonsense doesn't make them bad people, it makes them honest people. Let's also forget for a minute that you claimed your adopted brothers were your kids, in order to bolster the facade. That's weird on a whole different level.
No, Rachel, you don't get to be black because ... you aren't. Genetically speaking, you could have been recruited into the Lebensborn program during WWII. You are that white.
It doesn't bother me that you spray tanned your way to cancer. It doesn't bother me that you must have an amazing stylist, to get that perm and that color without completely frying your hair.
(Seriously, whoever does your hair should be famous.)
No, Rachel. This is why you don't get to be black: Because if you decide you just don't want to be black any more, you don't have to be black anymore. If you wake up tomorrow and decide to stop spray tanning and shave your head so you can go back to being toe-headed, you can.
Because you have what I call an escape hatch.
The Escape Hatch
I lived in Russia for about six years, right after the fall of the Soviet Union. Life there was hard. But as an American student who had just inherited a good amount of money from my grandmother, life was fantastic. Yeah, I had to suffer with a lot of the stuff that everybody had to suffer through like disgusting public restrooms, leftover Soviet bureaucracy and poor living conditions.
But for many Russians, life was downright awful. I met women who, under the old regime, had worked as doctors and engineers and were now working as prostitutes so they could feed their families. Women who had worked as respected school teachers working in dirty, poorly-lit kiosks selling bootleg CDs and DVDs so they could support their parents; pensioners who would probably starve to death if they had to rely solely on the paltry amount the government gave them each month. I met many, many honest people who had turned to crime as a way to just survive.
And I loved it there. I loved it more than anything else I have ever loved in my life. I loved the language and the people. My friends told me I have a "Russian Soul," which is just about the nicest thing a Russian can ever say to a foreigner.
But even with my Russian Soul, I never forgot one thing: The Safety Hatch. God knows, I didn't want to actually use the safety hatch, but I never forgot it was there. It was there when I ran out of money and had to sell what little I had. It was there when I was homeless. It was there when I got fired from a job I desperately needed. It was there when the economy collapsed in 1998. It was always there, and I never, ever forgot that.
You know why I reminded myself about this safety hatch time and again? Because it kept me humble. My family had money, and if something horrible happened to me, I could get out. If I got sick or injured? My mom could get me home. I knew that I could always escape - I could always be rescued from - whatever horror was about to befall everyone else. I knew that just because I loved these people and lived just like them, as long as that safety hatch was still there, I could never actually be them. My suffering could come to an end if I willed it. Just because I didn't make that choice didn't give me the right to say I was just like them.
Make no mistake: I am saying these people were stronger, smarter and better than me because they didn't have the safety hatch. There was no one in another country with their guaranteed winning lottery ticket. They had to win. The people I knew, the people who succeeded in Moscow, were the strongest and the smartest and the best and I would never have the audacity to say that I am just like them. Would I ever be worthy to make such a claim? I don't know.
What I do know is that people who have escape hatches, when the cards are truly down, when all the old cliche sayings have come true, these people have a way out. I got pregnant with my first child, and you had better believe I pulled that emergency cord and went home to America.
All of you supporting Rachel and Caitlyn would do well to remember that if things ever get really, really bad for them, because they are "black" or a "woman," that cord is hanging there, within reach, and they will use it to escape things that you never will.