#2 – Caitlyn Jenner

Photo from Vanity Fair

Our second story this week is no surprise. Everyone is talking about Caitlyn Jenner. On the cover of this month’s Vanity Fair, Caitlyn, formerly Bruce, introduced herself to the world.

The magazine hits newsstands on June 9, and we expect it to be flying off the shelves. In the 22 page story, Jenner says, “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”

This cover is part of the lead up to Ms. Jenner’s new eight part E! Docu-Series “I Am Cait,” which premieres on July 26 at 9 p.m.

The series will “illustrate the star living her life as a transgender woman and tell her intimate story as she seeks out her ‘new normal.’ Living for the first time as the person she feels she was born to be, the series will also explore what Cait’s transition means for all of the people in her life and how those relationships are affected.”

Here is the trailer for the series on YouTube. We find it interesting that there are just as many thumbs down as there are thumbs up.

This isn’t the only backlash Ms. Jenner has received. Many people have criticized her, whether it be transphobic hate, resentment for her winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, or the overwhelming media coverage “covering up” other acts of bravery and “more important” issues.

Ms. Jenner’s coming out is a different kind of bravery than that of war heroes. They are apples and oranges, you cannot compare the two, but they still both deserve all the accolades and respect we can give them.

Since the cover was revealed, there has been an absolute storm of media coverage on the story. We love how the majority of the coverage is supportive and praising of Ms. Jenner’s bravery, but we, along with many others, can’t help but notice a lot of attention is directed towards her appearance.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart explained the issue perfectly, here’s a clip.

Laverne Cox, transgender star of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, wrote a whole essay on the topic on her tumblr and hit some key points that everyone should hear. Ms. Cox explains that her and Jenner’s access to certain resources allows them to further embody cisnormative beauty standards, but not every transgender person has those resources.

“Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful but what I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities. The love and devotion she has for her family and that they have for her. Her courage to move past denial into her truth so publicly. These things are beyond beautiful to me.”

Jenner’s public coming out marks and intense shift in how our society views the LGBTQ community. It would be so much more difficult twenty, even ten years ago to receive this overwhelming support. This shift is reflected in various other stories involving the trans community. Barnard is now accepting applications from trans women, and the U.S. Air Force recently eased their policy banning trans troops from serving, making it more difficult for them to be discharged.

However, there are still countless problems transgender men and women have to face every single day. The statistics, reported by the Washington Post, are staggering and upsetting.

Forty-one percent of transgender people report attempting suicide.

Transgenders are four times more likely to live in poverty.

One-fifth of transgenders report having been homeless at one point.

25 percent report having been sexually assaulted.

19 percent say they were denied health care due to their gender identity.

25 percent report having lost a job due to not conforming to gender norms.

Transgenders still cannot technically serve in the military since they can be turned away for having genital surgery once undergoing a medical exam.

There’s more. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 44% of reported hate murders in 2010 were committed against transgender women. Twenty-two percent of the 6,450 transgender and gender-nonconforming respondents to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) who had interacted with police said they’d been harassed by them, with rates even higher among people of color.

If you are transgender or know someone who is and need help, here are some resources.

Lambda Legal’s Help Desk provides information and resources regarding discrimination related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and HIV status.

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

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