Like most of America, I too watched Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer. It was supposedly his last interview as Bruce Jenner, as he plans to transform into a woman. A battle he said he’s dealt with since he was younger. The difference between most of America and myself though, is the level of acceptance.
As I have learned in sociology classes throughout college, gender is a social construct. Genitalia is not gender. And gender does not define sexuality and sexual desire. Sometimes all of these things don’t line up in the ideal way for certain people. Certain people may biologically be considered one gender, but actually feel a different one. And some people may have an attraction to the sex that is not generally associated with that gender being attracted to. It happens, and saying “people judge it because it’s rare,” is absolute bull. No, it’s not that rare – it’s just kept on the down low because it’s still considered taboo because people refuse to hear a person’s story and accept differences.
Bruce Jenner said that since he was young he felt he associated with having a female soul. So I know the main questions a lot of people have raised include, “Well why did he get married three times?” “Why did he have so many kids?” or even “Why is he saying anything at this age?” But the people who are asking those questions are not being sympathetic and putting themselves in his shoes.
People do not comprehend the fact that literally every single day someone who is different from the crowd is tormented. Whether that be through beatings, threats, judgement, word choice… the list goes on and on. Discrimination is very much a valid issue in society and that’s keeping in mind that society has accepted a lot of differences over the past few years. Bruce Jenner got married and had kids and lived his life as a male because he didn’t know what else to do. He was scared and society at that time was especially hesitant to prove they could ease his fear. He also thought he could fix it. Once he endures the transformation, the things he did as a father are not pushed to the side; because his soul is still the same. He’s always been the same exact person, he just never felt the outside matched it. During his interview he said that the reason he’s even bothering to undergo such a change this late in his life is because he doesn’t want to die with regrets. People’s response to that has been “Everyone dies with regrets.” If you live your life right, you don’t have to die with regrets. He’s doing this to gain a sense of contentment that he has failed to have his entire life, one that we all take for granted.
Unless you’ve dealt with not feeling like you fit in, you don’t really understand the difficulty of it. I’ve had my own issues with anxiety. I have literally felt like I was itching to get out of my skin. I have wanted to crawl out of my skin and into a hole because I could not figure out what was wrong with me or how to fix it. There was no rationalizing with me in the middle of a meltdown, even though I knew I was being ridiculous. Anxiety is an awful thing and during this crazy time I was also being bullied, which didn’t help the anxiety. So I know how it feels to not know how to fix something and feel completely lost within your own self. It’s horrible, absolutely traumatizing. Over the years, I got help and became able to get a hold on my anxiety, and for me – that’s when I finally felt that I fit my own self; that I was finally comfortable in my own skin. Once I felt I had control, I felt contentment. I felt like I could finally be myself because I understood it. I didn’t have to fake the smile because now I was able to actually smile. I didn’t have to pretend to be okay, because I was actually finally okay. Dealing with all of that has given me an open mind to situations like Bruce Jenner’s, and it’s a shame to me that so many people will not tap into their own openminded stance.
Why should Bruce Jenner have to go through his life feeling like he’s faking it? Why should anyone have to go through their life feeling like they’re faking it? I especially would like to know why anyone who is a good person should have to go through their life faking it? Some people may argue with me and say that “Bruce Jenner has a family and he’s been dealing with it for so long already.” But see, you answer your own question with such a line. Why should anyone have to deal with something, rather than solve it?
Some think this interview was unnecessary, but I saw it as very necessary and very brave of Bruce Jenner. He took his “celebrity” status and used it as a platform. This interview is now promoting awareness about the sometimes misunderstood gender roles. And because he is a known name, he’s helping people who are dealing with the same things, feel like they can open up about it too. He’s promoting acceptance by being vulnerable. I commend him on that.
Society may say that just because they don’t accept things like this, does not mean they’re bad people. But for every person who refuses to accept a difference in someone else, regardless of what that difference is, you are allowing the discrimination and tormenting to continue. The same people who say they don’t want to see any homosexual, transgender, bisexual, etc., being beat up or killed or committing suicide, are the same people who are contradicting this when they say that such people are freaks or are weird. Sure you might not be pulling the trigger, but you sure as Hell are handing them the gun. You are just as guilty, and silence often speaks louder than words ever could.
After the interview was over, scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, so many people had opinions on Bruce Jenner. Not once did I see anything commending him on his bravery, his openness, his vulnerability, and his courage to set an example. To me, that alone says something about society. That says we have to reprioritize and get our heads out of our butts and accept the fact that people are different.
During the interview a quote was said by an author who’s name I did not catch, but what she said was wonderful. She said, “It’s impossible to not like someone who’s story you’ve never heard.” This should be echoed throughout the world. If you don’t know a person’s story or a person’s struggle, you have no right to judge; chances are that knowing the story you wouldn’t judge either.
So unlike most of America right now, and most of social media, I’m congratulating you Bruce Jenner. Congratulations on taking a stance and being completely open about who you are, and always were. I hope your courage has encouraged other people to start speaking up and letting their true self shine through, because it will only add sunlight to this world.
We are all beautiful.