In the interests of objectivity, I do look in on what right-wingers have to say about issues that pop up among more liberal-minded folks, such as the fallout over some of Caitlyn Jenner’s comments in a Time magazine article and Alex Rees’ Cosmopolitan article about them.
A quick refresher: Jenner made some comments about the passing issue that have rankled a lot of people and drawn accusations of “transphobic stereotyping”:
“I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role. So what I call my presentation. I try to take that seriously. I think it puts people at ease. If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good.” — Caitlyn Jenner
As you might expect, right-wingers have taken notice of the whole affair.
Exhibit A: Newsbusters.org, which bills itself as a site “exposing and combating Liberal media bias.” Their headline: Cosmos Complains: Jenner ‘Marginalizing’ Transgenders With ‘Gender-Normative Worldview’
It proceeds to report on the fallout within the trans world over Jenner’s comments, all the while referring to Jenner with male pronouns. The lede of the article pretty much sums it up: “As it turns out, Jenner isn’t all the left hoped for. After months of celebrating Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner earlier this year, the liberal media are turning on their former “hero” for not being “transgender” enough. Apparently, Jenner doesn’t say all the “right things” that a true liberal icon should – and so now, the left is eating one of its own.”
No surprise, the writer doesn’t buy Caitlyn’s transition, despite all the surgery Jenner has had to feminize herself in the image with which she feels comfortable.
But as is so often the case with articles whether they are in right-wing or left-wing publications, it’s the reader comments that provide the most illumination and give you a sense of how the general public feels about the issues.
And the Newsbusters article is no exception. Readers point out that transgender people are marginalized, and that Jenner is part of that marginalized group no matter her appearance. In their view, surgery and hormones do not change the “fact” that she is “a man in a dress.”
Hey, I’m being objective here, reporting on what I have read.
Essentially, the idea that a marginalized person is marginalizing people within her own “fringe” group is hilarious. Actually, they don’t use the word “hilarious.” They use words associated with mental illness . . .
Writes one reader called
Of course, it is worth remembering now that a lot of these comments come from people who are part of a marginalized group themselves, i.e. fundamentalists who have a somewhat tenuous grip on reality and who are losing more and more credibility every day, to the point that they gain personal empowerment by attacking and oppressing LGBT people.
Still, the reader comments remind us that many, many people do not buy into transgenderism and, as that reader put it, “mainstream society will suppress its discomfort for fear of reprisals.”
In other words, they will be tolerant, but they won’t accept trans people any more than they have to, legally speaking.
So for Ms. Jenner, who is out so publicly, nothing she does will appease those right-wingers. Nothing will make her “passable.” She is still a “man in a dress” as far as they are concerned.
Which brings me back to the whole issue of “passing.”
What does it mean exactly? Well, I think it means that one blends in with all the other women on the planet and that strangers won’t know you are a transitioned woman. They will think you have been a “biological” woman all along, i.e. someone who menstruates. Once/if they learn the truth about your path to womanhood, suddenly they will think they see certain masculine telltale signs they missed before . . . Indeed, you can look at any woman — biological or trans — and see traits that could be construed as male (but I digress).
As for the people who have known you all along, yes, they may love you and show acceptance, but deep, deep, deep down, many of them will always think of you as a man who changed genders rather than what you may feel about yourself: that you were really a woman all along.
It is important to remember that you do not have to appease anyone. Because you know the old saying: You can’t please everyone. You have to do what is right for you — just like the aforementioned right-wingers who spew their fairytales about God as fact. They need to do that, and society tolerates them, even if many people think they are seriously deluded.
But if you really do care what other people think of your appearance, if it’s going to tear you up inside because somebody smirks when they see you, then maybe you shouldn’t transition at all — because, as mentioned, no matter how beautiful you make yourself, a large segment of the population will not accept you, even if they are polite to you in public.
Caitlyn Jenner deliberately made herself the centre of attention. She chose to be in the limelight. She put herself in the firing line on purpose, and she is laughing all the way to the bank.
But the average trans person who gender transitions just gets on with her life, with only a small number hanging out in LGBT circles and advocating for trans rights and such.
And the aforementioned reader is right: trans people will always be on the fringe, to greater and lesser degrees depending on the country you live in. Whether Caitlyn Jenner is making it easier for trans people in the United States is open to debate: many think she is actually making it more difficult for trans people.
— Jillian Page