So … Bruce Jenner.
I’m of two minds on the topic. The first is, that I wished he hadn’t been playing the ‘is he or isn’t he’ game for the past year or more. I mean, we’ve all seen the pictures of the facial transformation, the longer hair, the rumors that he’d had his Adam’s Apple shaved down, the fingernail polish. And we all talked about it. Is Bruce Jenner transitioning? Is he transgender? Is it any of our business?
I don’t know the actual, factual, answers to those first two questions, but I do know that it’s not really any of our business, except that he’s been doing this change in public, but also privately, because he doesn’t speak about it, which is where I get this feeling: I’m annoyed by him.
I don’t like that he plays his life on a “reality” show; I don’t like that he plays his life in public, but when his appearance changes, and the rumors grew, he said nothing; that bothers me on two levels.
First, it bothers me because, if you’re going to be on a TV show, playing the part of yourself, then you need to talk about yourself. Having the show depict you as a person undergoing changes in appearance and then not addressing them — given the rumors — makes it seem like there is a sense of shame involved; that being transgender — if that’s the case and not just that Bruce loves plastic surgery — is somehow too shameful to speak about, then I think it sends a bad message to the younger T in the LGBT spectrum.
Secondly, to learn that, after this season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Bruce will appear in a reality show, or docu-series, to address these stories is bothersome. Is he selling his transition for a spot on TV? That bugs me, and yet it elates me, too, because then this might be a chance for those people questioning their orientation to see an actual person go through the process. It might give people who are hiding, the hope to step out and say, This is me.
And, like I said, I’m annoyed that for right now he is saying nothing, yet allowing people like Kim Kardashian to hightail her rather large posterior over to Entertainment Tonight to tell the world that Bruce is “on a journey” and has his own story to tell. I hate that people like That Woman are talking about Bruce and his changes as being his story. If it’s his story let him tell it, and you media whores stay out of the picture as his transition doesn’t concern you, except in the realm of your own understanding of what he might be going through.
I’m also annoyed because his mother is speaking about it, as though it’s a given, which feeds into that sense of shame about what it means to be transgender while at the same time, I applaud Esther Jenner’s understanding and support, when she told People magazine:
“I just learned about [his transition]. Bruce filled me in, and we had a very long, long, long talk about it. I have never been more proud of Bruce for who he is, himself as a father, as an Olympian, a wonderful public speaker. He instills enthusiasm in people. He’s gifted. Right now I am more proud of him for what he’s allowing himself to do. I am more proud of him now than when he stood on that podium and put the gold medal around his neck. He deserves all the respect.”
It appears that the secret is no longer a secret, though we have yet to hear from Bruce; we’ll be waiting until May when his interview with Diane Sawyer airs, just as his E! docu-series begins.
So, yeah, I’m annoyed that, by keeping this quiet, and yet not at all very quiet, he’s perpetuating the stereotype that many people have about being transgender, but, as I said before, I am of two minds on this, which leads me to say …
I’m happy for Bruce. I’m happy that, if he is about to transition, that even at age 65, he’ll finally be his, or should I say ‘her,’ one true self. I have a small inkling of what that feels like; every gay person does. It’s called the closet, where you keep your secret; where you hide yourself.
But coming out as gay, while difficult for many, is nothing at all like coming out as transgender. People don’t understand transgender; they don’t understand being assigned male at birth, for example, but feeling as though you are actually female. Many people think there are males and females and if that’s how you were born, that’s how you are, and should be always.
They wonder that, if you were say assigned male at birth, and have always been attracted to women, are you a lesbian after transitioning; or, if you were assigned male at birth, but sexually attracted to men as a male, are you a straight women after.
It gets confusing. So, I prefer not to think about whom Bruce Jenner sleeps with, now, or in the future. I prefer to think that, if this story is true, and we are in a holding pattern essentially until Bruce decides to talk, I prefer to think of the huge weight being lifted, the huge sigh of relief being expelled, that sense of joy …
I am myself. And isn’t that all any of us deserves? So, as annoyed as I can be with the media hype, and the media blackout, as annoyed as I can be with the ‘is he, or isn’t he,’ I will stand behind Bruce Jenner and hold him up as he begins to do whatever it is that makes him say, I am myself.