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From Bruce to Caitlyn, With Love

Updated on June 2, 2015
Bruce Jenner, Olympian
Bruce Jenner, Olympian | Source

Call Me Bruce

In the television show THE INCREDIBLE HULK, they changed the name of Dr. Bruce Banner to Dr. David Banner because several executives at CBS thought the name Bruce sounded too gay-ish. Both Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee thought this was stupid. Ferrigno even went on record, calling this decision "the most absurd, ridiculous thing I'd ever heard."

There is a story, probably apocryphal, which states that the decision to change the good doctor's name to Dr. David Bruce Banner in the show came shortly after Bruce Jenner became the American Icon for manliness in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal—a man named Bruce managed to win the Gold Medal in the Decathalon and setting a world record of 8,616 points. This record would stand for several years.

Caitlyn Jenner, Role-Model
Caitlyn Jenner, Role-Model | Source

Call Me Caitlyn

In 2015, Bruce Jenner came out to the world as Caitlyn Jenner.

This fact has caused many people to have issues. Some have even gone so far as to say that Bruce is still not a woman, or to state that they will refuse to call Caitlyn by her chosen name, or identify her by her chosen identity. And all of this begs the question: why do they care?

We have a formal, recognized disorder used by physicians (not just psychologist and psychiatrists) known as Gender Identity Disorder, in which an individual may experience significant discontent with the gender they were assigned at birth. This can also apply to those born hermaphroditic and who were assigned a gender by their parents prior to an age of awareness and whom, it would seem, may have been far happier with their lives and bodies had their parents made the opposing choice. So medical science knows that the brain and the body can, and often do, disagree as to the nature of one's own identity.

When an actor, or other public figure, decides to change their name—Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner becomes Sting, or Norma Jeane Mortenson becomes Marilyn Monroe, or a whole host of others—we do not bat an eye. The name is just a name. So society can accept that a name is a label, and that a label often does not fit the identity someone wants to live their lives by.

So why does society have such an issue with someone who was able to play a role for many years, but knew that this was a disguise? Why does a name (Bruce) have to conjure images of gay-ness to some, while another (David) conjures images of (Biblical?) masculinity?

Are you bothered by Caitlyn's transformation?

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Color Me Confused

Who Caitlyn is—a question that can only be answered by Caitlyn—is at the center of this discussion. And this is not a new discussion. Granted, it is new as it concerns the American Olympian formerly known as Bruce Jenner. But the idea of biological gender (i.e., male, female, intersex) as distinct from social gender (i.e., masculine roles vs. feminine roles) goes back some time. According to Wikipedia:

Sexologist John Money introduced the terminological distinction between biological sex and gender as a role in 1955. Before his work, it was uncommon to use the word gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories. However, Money's meaning of the word did not become widespread until the 1970s, when feminist theory embraced the concept of a distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender.

The idea of using the term Gender (as opposed to Sex) to distinguish these things came about in 1955. About two decades later, it becomes widespread. About two decades after this, we start to see some true social acceptance of a more fluid gender model within American society. And two decades after that—60 years after it was introduced!!—Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlyn Jenner and some people cannot understand that this is important, and it is worthy of our praise and support.

Why Is This Important?

Praise. Support. I used these terms in the previous section and this seems to be a problem for people like Steven Crowder (the guy not wanting to accept that Caitlyn is a woman, above) and Drake Bell (the guy not wanting to accept that Caitlyn is her name now, above).

Of these two, Steven Crowder has the better argument. He writes:

Listen, I don’t begrudge Bruce Jenner for wanting to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy. The problem is that with the recent, hyper-aggressive push to normalize transgenderism, we’ll no longer be able to discuss whether some decisions made in the pursuit of happiness are healthful. Because… hate speech.

Note that he wants to discuss this in terms of how healthful this pursuit of happiness may be. This may appear to be a strange way to approach this. But consider this... he goes on to say (emphasis mine):

Many people, including many in the gay community, think that transgenderism is a mental condition more effectively treated with psychiatry than surgery. I get where leftists are coming from; this person isn’t hurting anybody (aside from themselves), so what difference does it make? On the surface, it seems like a reasonable position to hold. One that quickly falls apart when you begin to examine it more closely.

What Mr. Crowder is about to step into is an argument that I have read about, and discussed with others, many times before. It was not something I considered until a beautiful bi-sexual woman explained it to me. Her position was that this particular argument was the only one to giver her pause when it came to her views of sex-change operations. It remains my only point of pause. Mr. Crowder goes on to say:

Apotemnophilia is a fetish in which people wish to become an amputee. They find sexual satisfaction and ultimately, happiness, through the act of the removal of limbs or simulating the removal of limbs. There are websites, message boards and get-togethers devoted exclusively to the activity. As a general rule, society doesn’t consider this to be healthful. Some of us may accept it, ignore it and move on with our lives, but we don’t praise it or trot apotemnopheliacs out as heroes. And let’s be honest… most of us think it’s pretty damn weird.

Weird? Yes. I would go on and state that those that go through with this—those that actually have limbs removed in their pursuit of happiness—are sick and need help (and I do not mean with keeping the saw steady). So why is this different if the limb is a penis or a pair of breasts?

It is what keeps me going in circles on this issue.

Is Caitlyn Jenner a hero?

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Last Word

In the end, I am confused. I am not sure how to feel about these things. And it is in that confusion that I have to err on the side of acceptance.

Despite my views on those that want to remove a limb in order to feel whole, or who feel that by becoming handicapped that can fulfill some part of their lives, I support Caitlyn Jenner and her choice to be who she wants (feels the need) to be. I do see her as a brave person who should be praised and treated with respect and dignity. She is brave and heroic in her choice to be who she feels she was born to be.

Is this a consistent view? No, not hardly. But it is the only view I can take and still look at myself and have any respect for the face I see staring back at me.

Comments

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    • Sgt Prepper profile image

      Gunny Cracker 14 months ago from Elkhorn, WI

      In the movie "Kindergarten Cop" a little boy says "Boys have penises and girls have vaginas." So simple even a five-year old can understand.

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 14 months ago

      DTM,

      Exactly,

      If I think that I am the president and try to stroll into the Oval Office, I would get arrested. If I think I am a woman despite having male genitalia and walk into the ladies bathroom, I would be labelled a brave person. Go figure.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 14 months ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      I'm sorry but the whole issue is based on PC baloney. Your gender is determined by your biological sex and nothing else.

      One can believe in one's mind one is anything, superman, a genius, a time traveler, an alien from another planet and when one fails trying to fly, can't read or write, explains how to time travel or says what planet they are from they are diagnosed without a doubt as suffering from a mental disorder like schizophrenia . But if a natural born man just says he believes he is a woman trapped in a man's body he/she(?) is considered brave and a hero? No mental disorder here, this is normal?

      I don't buy it, when it comes to your gender you are what you physically, biologically are. If your mind can't accept that fact YOU can believe whatever you want, be whatever you want IT"S A FREE COUNTRY, but don't berate, attack or have disdain for me because of what I believe, THAT is intolerance.

    • Sgt Prepper profile image

      Gunny Cracker 14 months ago from Elkhorn, WI

      Jenner waited so long to get his "sex change" because he wanted to avoid menopause. AND now that same-sex marriages(which can never really be consummated) are legal he can stay married to his wife. Kinda' like how Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie held off marriage until gays could marry. So thoughtful of them.

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

      I watched every episode of Caitlyn's docu-series and found her to be very privileged, ignorant of trans issues, and not very deep/interesting. However, the other trans-women on the show were fascinating and had interesting tales to tell of their real-world experiences. Caitlyn recently received an award from Glamour as "Woman of the Year" even though she has been female for less than 12 months. In her speech, she said that the hardest part of being a female is choosing what to wear. Give me a break! The hardest part of being a woman is juggling kids and a career, working two jobs to feed the family, giving birth, having menstrual cramps, going through menopause, being constantly judged for how you look, growing older in a world that esteems youth, finding the energy to do all you have to do, caring for aging parents, etc. Caitlyn has the clothes and makeup thing going for her (with a lot of help), but she still has a long way to go in finding out what it means to be a woman.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Phil the Gain ... your last four comments have been deleted because they are inflamatory without adding to this conversation. The suggestion that anyone advocates or approves of someone forcing (I believe you used the world 'training') someone to be transgendered or homosexual is beyond the pale when it comes to ignorant.

      Please stop suggesting this. It is a red herring and argument bait. And I, for one, am not biting.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi KD, I found this a very interesting hub and the comments certainly prove it opened debate on the issue. I like hearing the comparison with "Apotemnophilia" and societies views on that condition. Much food for thought here. Voted up.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wow...I just reread my comment and noticed that I used the pronoun, "he." I don't know if it's because this is so new and is habit....but I apologize to Caitlan!

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      izettl -- you know more than I. This much is true. Batman was not an analogy about being transgender -- it was about the overly simplistic "think of the kids" argument that was made. Did I get a term wrong? Perhaps. Did I do a year of research? No. This is not a Doctoral Thesis, this is my view on something happening in the world right now. I wanted to work out my thoughts on this topic, and so I did it here. If you were somehow offended, then I am sorry.

      But this is how I feel.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Actually...it appears that Phil is the one who is "making too much of this" and ranting and condemning. However, I suppose it's GOOD for others to see what steadfast opposition looks like. The only cure for this is education. Perhaps one day........

      In the meantime, "Jenner" can be and live according to who & what he feels (and always felt) he truly is. This is not unusual, unnatural or unacceptable to most. In any event, the fact remains.....It's Jenner's LIFE...not ours.

    • izettl profile image

      Lizett 2 years ago from The Great Northwest

      My dad is a fully transitioned transgender and honestly I am offended that people decide to write about this when they have to idea. It puts silly notions of accept what we don't understand. And that is a silly notion. In the end I'm not sure how you added to this discussion of Bruce/Caitlyn.

      And your analogy of "Batman"- poorly done. You talk about science as if you know something about it. Sexuality and gender IS in the brain (or else your "proof" doesn't pan out) while Batman is NOT closely linked AT ALL to the brain. Yes, kids can get confused about their gender through messages in the environment- it happened to my dad and it happened to my friend who is also trans. So this is more proof, you really aren't anyone who needs to weigh in on this discussion unless you have something new or engaging to add to it.

      I have young kids, I have degrees in science, I have a trans dad. And all of your discussion here represents none of the above. In fact, it's not Gender Identity Disorder anymore. It is Gender Dysphoria! Yikes, please at least do research if you don't know anything about this topic.

      Oh wait, there's more. Nobody has to "go through" anything to be whatever they want. My dad bypassed all counseling (which he needed) and living as a woman prior because he went to Bangkok, Thailand and got the surgery cheaper with Dr's who've been doing it for a long time in facilities far superior to the U.S hospitals.

      My dad, as a trans, doesn't even support half the junk in the media on LGBT topics.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Well done and thought-provoking, KD. I enjoyed the angle you took in this discussion. If we think too hard about it, confusion does indeed set in. This is why (in the end) acceptance is a good choice for what we don't fully understand. I'm glad you mentioned that medical science validates the fact that the body and brain can disagree as to the nature of one's identity. Who would willingly choose to live such a tortured life? God creates all, god loves all. Informative hub, voted up and interesting, and shared.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Oh please. Kids want to do lots of things. I have known kids at that age that want to be Batman, too. Based on the stories of Batman, should we condemn Adam West for putting that idea into their head?

      Please read up on the things one has to do prior to being able to go through gender reassignment surgery. I once wanted to be a fireman, too. But the rigors of that particular profession were such that I never became one. It is not like this is an elective surgery where one can make an appointment on Monday and switch genders on Wednesday.

      Oh... and "think of the kids" is generally used as an excuse to hold bigoted views, not a fully realized argument in and of itself (e.g., "Interracial marriage!? think of the kids!"). Not always, mind you. But usually. And given your tone until now, I have to wonder for which purpose you are using it.

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      But unfortunately this puts ideas in peoples heads that wouldn't otherwise think of changing their gender. Like the little kids in the earlier video links I posted. That is learned behavior and mindsets. I consider those kids victims which does harm society. Innocent kids. Most parents wouldn't want their kids to be influenced by that junk. The media producing these magazines that they know will be at checkout stands for all to see glorifying it. You can't realistically avoid it. It does affect many people in a negative way. That is just the way this sick world is becoming...worse everyday. It's not just my problem...it's the worlds problem.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Religiously? I do not attempt to define anything as right and wrong using bronze age mysticism. That would be ignorant and stupid.

      Scientifically? She is not attempting to redefine science.

      Caitlyn Jenner is attempting to be a woman LEGALLY, SOCIALLY, and EMOTIONALLY. In this regard, it is right for her to be who she feels that she is as her *psychological* core. The right and wrong of this act--which impacts you in no way what-so-ever, harms society in no way what-so-ever, and produces no victim what-so-ever--is, to me, obvious.

      It is to you as well. We just came to different conclusions.

      The fact that you cannot make this adjustment is your problem, not hers.

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      So how is it right? Religiously or scientifically. He's a man who have been married multiple times and has made multiple children using his penis not his vagina. How can he now be a woman? You can't be anything just because you wish you can be something. Some things in life are just truly impossible and this is one of them. It makes no sense and trying to make sense of it...Trying to justify it is futile. I laugh at the fact that he thinks he is a woman or anyone else who thinks this. Trying to redefine the basic elements of nature to is pure sillyness.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      I seriously loathe the "you think anything and everything is OK" argument. I am not arguing that anything and everything someone wants to do is OK. I know of nobody that is arguing that anything and everything someone wants to do is OK. This is akin to the religious right who will make ridiculous arguments that begin with trite trash like "without God there is no right and wrong; if there is no right and wrong then everything is right; if everything is right..." and so on.

      Look. This is a child you have posted links to. I think any such child that is thinking like this needs to be helped. Helped here does not mean that the child should be given a gender reassignment surgery for his/her 14th birthday. Caitlyn is an adult who has gone though the very long pre-processes needed before a gender reassignment surgery can be performed. These are very different things.

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      I suppose this is just a coincidence that this kid feels he wants a sex change. Great parents I suppose. Please explain.

      http://joeforamerica.com/2015/06/is-this-child-abu...

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      Anything shouldn't be O.K. The agenda that everything should be O.k. Is a ridiculous stand to take. It is an agenda that is trying to force feed the B.S. to the masses. It must be resisted in my opinion.

      Where did this kid decide he is gay. He learned this. http://joeforamerica.com/2015/06/half-naked-young-...

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      The church SHOULD condemn this otherwise they should disband. It's really no difference then condemning any other sin. HOWEVER, by far most churches are faulty in my opinion.

      I would most definitely tell Jenner what I think in a polite way. Disagreeing is a human right that more people should use. I'm sure it wouldn't change much but that is what I believe. I believe this is hurting society by far more than it is helping it...the sensationalism of it that is.

      I do believe we are way more than our DNA but DNA has to mean something. How can it just be disregarded to serve a particular purpose or agenda? I think that fundamentally makes not much sense.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      I welcome debate. I welcome divergent opinions. I will not tolerate comments that suggest the equivalency of a sex change with pedophilia. This is the same logic that has been thrown as homosexuals forever. It is wrong-headed thinking and bigoted.

      If you want to continue to discuss the scientific difference and the DNA, fine. But we are far more than our DNA, sir. If you were to meat Caitlyn Jenner, are you saying that this is the sort of thing you would say to her face? If so, how are you any different than (say...) the Westburro Baptist Church?

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      Ok KD, this isn't for you then. Many people think what Jenner is doing is sick. Pedophilia can also be someone struggling with their identity. I never said it was right. Like I stated in previous post...who decides these things? There are many other sicknesses that I can compare to.

      Some people don't like debates or conversations when it's not exactly what they want to read or hear. I embrace and like to hear opinions and facts but in return you should be open to same type of communication. But to each their own.

      Jenner is a man and will always be a man based on science. Jenner is not a woman. If he is fine with that then that's his right but the media needs to stop pushing this crap likes it's something to celebrate. Of course these days people will change definitions to make their case but we all know that is silly when dealing with this subject. One must have self control and not cave in to all sick urges and sick desires. There is help out there but folks have their own sick motives and true help is often disregarded.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      The fact that you can compare someone struggling with self identity with a pedophile is the end of our discussion. Please refrain from any more comments. I have no need, nor any desire, for any more of your opinions.

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      KDLadage,

      I didn't make an error in calling Caitlyn or Bruce a him. It is a him. Check the DNA. He produces sperm. Women/hers cannot impregnate another "her".

      Get out of fantasy land thinking anything goes. I'm all for advancing the human race but this is in no way, shape or form advancing the human race. In life you have to have self control and not give in to sick thoughts and fantasies. However, we all make mistakes and it is a constant struggle for many.

      How is a grown person wanting sexual relations with a child wrong then if they feel that is who they are and attracted to? Why draw the line there? Who decides? You, the government, "it's just wrong", Etc. It's called self control. Kids don't need sicko's like Jenner getting pumped up in the media as a hero or whatever you want to call him.

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Phil,

      Caitlyn Jenner will be Caitlyn Jenner. She will be who she wants to be. You can claim she is not a *real* woman, as if you or I will ever know what that means at its core. She will, however, be who she wants to be.

      If you want to dress as an Asian, live as as Asian, and think of yourself as an Asian... who am I to disagree with you? Who am I to tell you that you are not who you are? You can get as close as you can and try to live with the rest. The fact that I, or anyone else, does not think of you as a *real* Asian suddenly does not matter in this case.

      The media is reporting on something important: a woman telling others in her position that they are not alone and need not be afraid. This is not sensationalism, Phil, this is a story of hope and love. And you made a grammatical error at the end -- it is *her* story. Caitlyn is a woman, even if you have trouble accepting that.

    • Phil The Gain profile image

      Phil The Gain 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      At the end of the day...Bruce Jenner or Caitlyn is not a woman. There is nothing that will make him a woman. He can act and dress like a woman but a real true women he will never ever be. Not even remotely close.

      Can I become Asian? Can I become a mongoloid? I always loved the Asian culture. If I move to China and dress like a kung fu fighter and eat rice and noodles everyday will I be a Chinese Asian? Heck no! I can live like one but I will never be one. Bruce will never be a woman. The media needs to stop the sensationalism of crap like his story.

    • lyoness913 profile image

      Summer LeBlanc 2 years ago from H-Town

      I support anyone who wants to be who they really are. That being said, I hope Caitlyn Jenner decides to donate some money to the LGBT Organization with her royalties from her new reality tv show. How many transgender people would love to be able to afford such a surgery.. Hopefully Caitlyn will use her story to help!

      -Wendi

    • profile image

      Xena 2 years ago

      Acceptable body modification will always be a debate.

      In high school, I had 4 perfectly healthy adult teeth removed (not my wisdom teeth). It was for the braces I had that straightened my teeth for purely aesthetic reasons. Yet people are often shocked and dismayed to learn it's not uncommon for the Amish to remove all the teeth of young adults to avoid a lifetime of dental care.

      I think the line comes when you feel like these procedures are causing a disability. Then again, that implies that people with disabilities are less than. We have no problems with those with disabilities going to extremes to be without the disability. We do have a problem with those without disabilities going to extremes to have a disability.

      In the case of a trans person who opts for surgery, it doesn't seem to fall into the realm of causing a disability any more than the removal of my teeth did. This is likely why it's relatively easy for me to accept.

      For the record, Apotemnophiliacs having surgery are difficult for me to accept. The line of causing a disability is just too bright for me. Then again, I once wouldn't have accepted Caitlyn Jenner. Maybe if the Apotemnophiliacs start a movement and I can hear their stories?

    • KDLadage profile image
      Author

      K David Ladage 2 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Thank you.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 2 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      You have a line that says, "I am not sure how to feel about these things. And it is in that confusion that I have to err on the side of acceptance." I really like the way you put that in words.