I don’t normally write about current events, but I feel like throwing my two cents today. In case you haven’t heard, Caitlyn Jenner won Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year award.
There has been a huge backlash from a lot of sources. The backlash is all over social media & headlines in Europe & in the U.S. I keep seeing posts on every social media outlet & I just can’t ignore them any longer. People don’t feel like Caitlyn deserves to be woman of the year because they either think she’s a man or they think she hasn’t been a woman for long enough. What could s/he possibly know about being a woman? People are taking it as an insult to womankind, to previous winners of the award & to exceptional women who also deserved to win.
There are thousands of women deserving of the woman of the year title. Naming Caitlyn doesn’t take away from any other woman, or womankind. No matter who was chosen, there would be plenty of women who arguably deserved the title more.
I think this backlash comes from a misunderstanding of what it means to be transgendered. I don’t know if it’s that people don’t understand. Or, if they simply don’t want to accept it.
Take a minute & think about how you feel right now. How do you feel in your body? Your mind? Emotionally? If you are a woman – does your emotions, thoughts etc match with your female body? Now, imagine you feel exactly like you feel right now but you are in man’s body.
How would you feel then? Would you magically feel like a man because you are in a man’s body? Is that what make a man a man – his body? If you are a man reading this – think about the same questions. You are in a woman’s body now. Are you now a woman? Do you not feel like a man anymore?
People who are transgendered feel emotionally & mentally like they are one gender but their body is the opposite gender. Society has very clear expectations based on our physical gender. Men are viewed one way & women are viewed another. There are expectations of how we should act, dress, speak, react to situations, what kind of jobs we should have – all based on our physical gender.
There is much more to a gender than the body. Your mind & emotions count too. It’s the whole package. And what if your package is divided between male & female components. Just imagine that you feel like a woman but have lived your entire life in a man’s body. I can’t imagine how people do it or the bravery it takes to come out to family, friends & in Caitlyn Jenner’s case – to the world.
Caitlyn Jenner is woman of the year because she made the decision to transition publically – so that in the future kids don’t have to wait until they are 65 years old to discover who they are. – Alex Schmider Los Angeles LGBT Center
Being transgendered is not a choice someone makes one day. It’s not a random decision. Caitlyn Jenner has always been a woman in a man’s body. After surgery, her physical body is matching her gender.
What if your loved one was transgendered? How would you want them to be treated? Growing up I was taught to treat others as I’d like to be treated. Let’s accept each other as unique individuals who might have differences that we can’t understand. If we imagined ourselves in the shoes of another person, then maybe we can accept, support & uplift people who don’t fit within one of the two gender roles society gives us.
More on the topic of Transgender:
This TEDx Talk speaks about society & gender roles.
There are resources, more information & support on the LGBT website.