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Caitlyn Jenner is really trying to find her way

Updated on June 29, 2016
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

Just a small town girl...livin' in a lonely world (with apologies to Journey)

We have somehow developed into a society that feels we have the right to comment about how other people live their lives, and the more newsworthy the person in means we have more of a right to do this.

Heck, that's the reason why I'm writing this article. I've got something to say about Caitlyn Jenner, who is likely the most newsworthy person this week because of her Sports Illustrated cover.

Much has been made of Caitlyn Jenner, and not all of it has been positive. This is an older individual who made headlines throughout much of his life, at first for his skill as an athlete, and then because he realized he was transgendered. Enter Caitlyn Jenner, and although she has been as flawed and feeling as the rest of us, she has for some weird reason been held to an unreasonably high standard.

There are reportedly some 700,000 individuals who identify as transgender in the United States, according to ABC News, and even with those sorts of numbers, there is still a huge stigma against transgendered individuals. In her interview with Sports Illustrated, Caitlyn Jenner said that she saw her pursuit of decathlon gold at the Olympics as her "beard" - her disguise so that no one would suspect that she was struggling with gender dysphoria - and when she ultimately won gold she wondered where that left her. She had a growing family, various prospects for a career beyond the Olympics, and a gaping sense that she was living a lie.

Who are we to question why she was transgender?


We've got to be fair

In fact, Caitlyn Jenner is being rather unfairly judged simply because she is in the public eye. Some have argued that Caitlyn Jenner transitioned simply because she is seeking publicity, but why? She's had more than her fair share of that as part of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, and goodness knows that she was slowly pulling back from her involvement in that in the time leading up to the announcement that she and Kris Jenner were splitting.

People don't determine they need to transition from one gender to the other for the sake of publicity, and to dismiss someone's transition as a mere publicity stunt is nothing short of ridiculous. In addition, let's keep in mind that Caitlyn Jenner has never been one to seek purposeful publicity gimmicks.

Transitioning is a serious matter, and it is something that should be taken quite seriously. Dismissing it as a matter of publicity is demeaning in the extreme, and while Caitlyn Jenner has no doubt developed a thick skin given her celebrity status, we have to remember that she is an individual trying to renegotiate her path. Why the renegotiation? She has fundamentally changed, and whether we on the outside want to acknowledge it or not, the estrogen that is now a part of Caitlyn Jenner's makeup does change her on a most basic level. It could perhaps change perception, reaction, and in some cases beliefs.

Put simply, Caitlyn Jenner is no longer Bruce Jenner, and expecting her to act and react as she did previously does not make sense. It's not fair for those expectations to be in place for her, or anyone else trying to go through such a complex experience.

So, let's be fair, and acknowledge this for the life changing experience that she has been coping with her entire life. There's no easy way to deal with realizing you are transgender, and there's a whole notion of just rediscovering what her body is all about, never mind the entire cognitive burdens that she might be dealing with as she navigates her new path.


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