Saturday, April 25, 2015

The transgender challenge ...

So good for Bruce Jenner, who came out officially last night I'm reading (didn't watch --- life is too short for television) as transgender after months of media speculation.

The oddest thing I've read about the whole business in recent days was a Washington Post blog post scolding Jenner for being a "bad" representative for the trans community because of his association with some people named Kardashian, whoever they may be.

I'd say Jenner, a former Iowa boy (he's a 1973 graduate of Graceland College, now University, down at Lamoni) who gained nationwide attention as an Olympic gold medalist in decathlon during 1976, will be a darned good representative. Jenner will continue to identify as "he" and use the name "Bruce" during transition, by the way.

And I've been a little surprised that trans public heroes of the past haven't received a little more attention. I'm a little too young to remember much about Christine Jorgensen, a trans woman and transitioning surgery pioneer who became a public figure in the early 1950s. But Jan Morris (left), a Welsh writer of stunning talent who began life as James --- now 88, alive and well --- is another matter. Somewhere around here I must still have her 1974 book "Conundrum," a personal narrative.

Another oddity of the trans experience is the difficulty people who are not trans have in coping. Even my people, reduced sometimes to the acronym LGBT, have been challenged at times, the "LGB" component being uncomfortable with and less than supportive of the "T." Fortunately, that has changed.

The most bizarre aspect of trans/non trans relations seems to involve restrooms. A trans friend of mine, some years ago, was cast out of a Lutheran church (and presumably the kingdom of God as well) after a disagreement about which restroom she should use. I mean like, what sensible person cares? Or even notices?

Heterosexual males, especially --- who already in some cases feel threatened by gay folks --- occasionally carry their insecurities to the extreme and beat trans people to death. That's why codified protections for trans people are important, too.

The challenge for those of us who aren't trans is to treat our sisters and brothers who are as we would want to be treated if we were. I believe it's called the golden rule. And if you're not man or woman enough to do that, just shut yo mouth and move along.

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