Enough is enough! This was not the story I wanted to read on Christmas. ‘The Grinch who stole the trans movement:’ Transgender solider Chelsea Manning launches Christmas attack against Caitlyn Jenner for her behavior after coming out.
So now is this incarcerated military felon the new self appointed voice of the Transgender community in America? Is she’s making judgments about America’s #1 transgender media entrepreneur? GIMME A BREAK!!
I refrained from commenting about the convicted national security Wiki leaker when she came out as Chelsea, a transgender woman. At the time I did cringe, understanding full well (before modern statistics verified my gut impression) that transgender people serve in the military with greater frequency than their non-trans (cis) brothers and sisters. I also am aware of the enormity of the added pressure that transgender service people often endure as they mask their true gender identity because they cannot be open or honest. Still I cringed at the widespread media story and the accompanying optics that might further stigmatize trans people.
Yes, trans people are more likely to serve in the military. Think about it … often transgender women struggling with societal, religious and family pressure will enlist to prove to that they are really men and can do the manly warrior thing, which works only temporarily. For transgender men, it is easy to understand the military provides the opportunity to serve openly while performing at least some task deemed societally as male oriented. I recall my old acquaintance from south Central Jersey, Jessica, who driven to be the “man” her father wanted her to be, became a Green beret and volunteered for the most dangerous and covert missions in the Vietnam theater. As a soldier, she was successful, but in the end her father and she, herself, knew the truth.
While former Navy Seal Kristin Beck has done a commendable job of promoting herself as one who served admirably and extraordinarily in silence, and Special Forces Colonel Diane Schroer’s actions in Washington, DC have done a great deal to spotlight and turn the corner on overt and unconscionable discrimination in employment in the Federal government.
Chelsea Manning obviously struggled with her gender identity and the Army had opportunities and should have reacted when she reached out for help. But that is not an excuse for her actions.
I will credit Manning with publicizing the inequities and added hardships and dangers that incarcerated transgender people often must bear compared to the cisgender prisoners.
We can point to Autumn Sandeen who served in silence and for many years has been “out” serving as a transgender and LGB advocate, putting her own welfare at risk! In 2013, she became the first person to change her gender in the Dept. of Defense database, paving the way for others.
We can point to SGM Jennifer Long who after several combat tours in the middle East began her stealth medical transition only to be called back to Afghanistan, where she continued her transition monitored by American Medical personnel there. She successfully completed her mission, engaged in several fire fights, received a bronze star and other combat awards, all the while under the stress of being “outed” by the US Army. Now retired, in late 2014 she was successful in forcing the US Army to change her name on her DD214. She is currently a VFW Post Commander and involved on a statewide level.
So who should be our spokesperson?
I’ve refrained from publicaly commenting about Caitlyn Jenner as well, but I think now is the time.
Cait Jenner? I was charitable calling her a media entrepreneur. How do you describe her and the rest of the Kardashian clan? She was a legitimate Olympic sports hero… but what does she and the rest of them do now? What talent? Oscars? Emmys? Tonys? The Jenner-Kardashian Empire is estimated to be in the hundreds of Millions! Hardly typical of an average transgender family!
Cait comes out, surrounds herself with other Hollywood Media people and includes an elite, Ivy League academic, and has her own TV show. Things are good, the audience numbers are obviously there and the show is renewed for a second season!
Cait Jenner our spokesperson?
Jenner is a Republican who intends to continue to vote Republican. She does not fully support marriage equality. Does she not realize that marriage equality is a transgender issue as well? Many in the trans community objected to the Cait Jenner Halloween costume that trivialized her Vanity Fair cover, but Cait was fine with it. I’m going to make an assumption, although I don’t know for sure, that Cait received licensing fees. Royalty fees are good when you are on the receiving end and publicity is good when driving your “brand.” Cait is a public figure but what is the affect on ordinary trans people who are on the receiving end of mockery and insult?
Her statement to Time Magazine “If you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable” was perhaps her Marie Antoinette moment. That’s easy to say if you have the financial wherewithal to buy the very best in plastic surgery! Ironically my partner rightly observed that because of her size and features and athletic build, she probably does not pass and can never be what so many transgender people want… “stealth.” I’m not sure that the concept of “stealth” is relevant to the head of the Jenner/Kardashian empire.
Many have complained about Caitlyn’s obsession with clothes and make-up, and part of that I do understand as she is in Hollywood. And to a degree, I’ve been there and know many others who have as well. I transitioned later in life and went through my female adolescence as a learning and growing stage, i.e. the female childhood that I never had. It was a stage that I grew out of. I’m now in my 2nd (first as a female) mid life crisis!
We shall see if Cait grows up or it’s just part of her “media” thing!
Caitlyn is an avowed Republican and what does bother me is her silence on statements by the GOP presidential candidates as well as statements and actions by local and state leaders that denigrate and stigmatize transgender people in America.
The surging Canadian, Ted Cruz, has apparently taken the lead in transphobic statements by declaring that supporting transgender students in schools in “lunacy,” then doubling down a week later by stating that the man who shot three people at a Planned Parenthood location in Colorado, rather than being a right wing anti abortionist was instead a transgendered leftwing activist! Chutzpah!
Not to be outdone, NJ Gov Chris Christie compared trans youth’s access to their bathrooms matching their gender identity to be”domestic terrorism.”
Silence! Perhaps if Cait really wanted to reach out to the “other” side, with a little thought she might have reached out to Dr. Marisa Richmond, an Ivy League educated college academic who also works in the grassroots trenches of Tennessee as both a transgender activist and a lobbyist at their State House! Dr. Richmond is the former president of the Davidson County Democratic women, and former president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. Always working to educate and create change, she is currently a member of the Davidson County Democratic Executive Committee (Nashville).
But Caitlyn did reach out in the Deep South… Barely a month after the ignominious electoral defeat of the the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), she reached out to a Southern Baptist anti gay minister who led the victorious “Potty Police,” accompanied by her fellow media elites, then met in his temple of Hate and prayed together. Pray away the “trans?” They seemed too busy to meet w
ith some of the experienced local trans activists. Is anyone surprised? Good job, Cait, dividing the trans community apart into haves and have nots and doing us all a disservice.
I’ve had enough! It’s about time we started hearing from and publicizing the “Doers!”
Follow Barbra Siperstein on Twitter: www.twitter.com/babscs.