I watched I Am Cait last night. A few things jumped out at me. One was that I remember watching The Biggest Loser several seasons ago, and someone noted that whenever one of the larger people on the show exercised, there was often an unflattering sound effect that accompanied their falling onto the floor. I think that reality shows exploit the marginalized in our society in order to improve ratings, and they do it in a subtle way that generates controversy, or at least that is the hope.
On I Am Cait, the camera often pans down to the hands of Bruce Jenner. I say Bruce Jenner, because he is a crossdresser, a transvestite, rather than someone who is transgendered. The way he interacts with Candis is as a straight male. He tries to fix her car; he buys her a new one. And he moves like a lumberjack. A transgendered woman can obviously be a lesbian, but no lesbian is comfortable describing herself as a man. And no transgendered woman is comfortable describing herself as a man. Jenner often refers to himself as a dad, in that he wants his daughters to be proud of their dad, etc. Any sincerely transgendered person, or one who is considering such a change, would cringe at someone referring to them as the wrong pronoun.
It is clear there’s an agenda here. Jenner has surrounded himself with a bunch of obnoxious harpies who instruct him on an episodic basis on how he is supposed to act, exist, be. Although they are obnoxious, what is really interesting is that a true transgendered person does not need to be taught how to be transgendered. We are who we are. We don’t need a manual. We know that when we talk about the ‘community,’ that we say ‘we,’ and not ‘they.’ If we use ‘they’ on a regular basis, and it’s not just a slip, then it’s clear we don’t identify with that community on a deep level. It’s clear that Jenner does not see himself as transgendered. So there’s obviously an agenda here on the part of the powers-that-be behind the scenes. Since he is confused, and there is a multi-million-dollar price tag attached, he has agreed to be the poster child for being transgendered in our new society.
I can see someone who finds cross dressing genuinely appealing, being willing to do this for E! Network. After all, he hasn’t had the surgery. And I doubt he ever will. Even if he does, it doesn’t mean he’s suddenly become transgendered, although obviously it would be a huge step in that direction. If he likes crossdressing, and doesn’t truly identify as a woman, he hasn’t really lost anything by doing what he’s done. He’s attracted to women, and is going to continue to date them (see Candis). He hasn’t had the surgery. He’s cross dressed. That’s it. And made a substantial amount of money. Maybe one of the reasons why ratings are so poor is that he is not being authentic. An authentic transgendered person has issues that have nothing to do with this show, which seems like a PSA more than an entertaining show.
One of the people on the show said, “There is no place in the world for us (trans people).” My thought on it is that we have to make our own place in the world. The only group that we should want to be in is the group of people who can control their emotions, be in tune with others’ emotions and being emotionally intelligent overall. There are so few people in this group that the world will always have a place for such people. Even if someone is controversial, they can overcome the group they are a part of, and become part of a new group: the one that will overcome the world. It doesn’t matter if the world has a place for you as long as God has a place for you.
There’s a reason I give Bruce Jenner such a hard time. It would be better if we didn’t, as a society, feel the overpowering need to label or categorize ourselves. But if we absolutely must, surely we should do it correctly. Bruce Jenner is not transgendered. He is a crossdresser. For some reason, he’s not comfortable with that fact. But just because there are sincere transgendered people in the world, doesn’t mean everyone who says they are, actually is. Just as not everyone who calls themselves black is black. Some white people say they are black because they have their own private agenda. Same with Bruce Jenner and his supposedly being transgendered.
Trans people have it hard enough in this world. If Bruce Jenner, who is obviously a straight male, announces that he is trans, people are rightly going to consider it a ridiculous idea. But don’t judge trans people by Bruce, because he is a straight man wearing the clothes of the opposite sex. There’s an enormous difference between a transvestite and a transsexual. And we need to educate ourselves, since reality TV is not the go-to source, or should not be, on such matters.