By Dianne Skoll
LGBT Perspectives columnist
OTTAWA — Caitlyn Jenner. There, I said it. I’ve studiously avoided discussing Caitlyn Jenner until now because I hate the paparazzi culture. I honestly don’t understand why people assume that they can give someone they don’t even know advice on how to live just because she’s famous.
Jenner as well as other high-profile transgender people such as Laverne Cox, Andreja Pejic, Kristin Beck, Chelsea Manning and Chaz Bono have contributed to unprecedented mainstream coverage of transgender issues. And, of course, with this coverage come the complaints of “I don’t want to hear about this!” or “Aren’t there more important things to talk about?”
Well, one can talk about many things. Just because you talk about transgender issues, it doesn’t mean you don’t talk about anything else. And I think it’s important to have lots of coverage of transgender people. Here’s why:
We have Caitlyn Jenner, a person whom the pundits predicted would exploit her situation and generate a cheesy media circus. Instead, we’ve seen someone with grace reveal her strength, her articulate and thoughtful manner, and her dignity.
We have Zoey Tur, someone who recently got into hot water because of her angry reaction to persistent, hostile misgendering. She came across as a little bit of a hothead.
We have Chelsea Manning, who (depending on your politics) is either a hero or a traitor.
We have transgender actresses, engineers, models and businesspeople. We also have petty thieves and prostitutes. We have warm, loving and generous people, and we have impetuous and brash people.
And the more we can get the diversity of transgender people across, the better it is. Because there will come a day when average people look at us all and say “Wow, they are smart and dumb, generous and petty, calm and hot-headed … just like any other people.”
Just like any other people. Those are the words we long to hear. And anyone uttering those words will have expanded his or her moral circle to include more of the human family.
“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey