Bruce Jenner As a Woman is About More Than Being Transgender

Marissa Montoya

Bruce Jenner is a famous Olympic athlete known for winning the decathlon in 1976 and in the last decade, has been known for being the father figure on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. More recently, he is known for coming out as living as transgender his entire life, in an interview with Diane Sawyer on national TV.

The feedback from the media and public has been mixed. While there are many supporters from the celebrity and general public on social media, I have also seen a lot of negativity. Some of the comments have ranged from Jenner staging his announcement for continued publicity for the show and money to the fact that there are more pressing issues in this world such as police brutality, riots in Baltimore and the devastating destruction in Nepal from the recent Earthquake.

While I acknowledge the incredible tragedies occurring throughout the world, I think the issue of acceptance of differences, particularly in the LGBT community, is at the core of many tragedies.

I will choose to ignore the judgmental, ignorant and blatantly hurtful, disrespectful comments from conservative parties who condemn Jenner for being who he is. I do however want to address the comments about Jenner’s struggle not being an important issue that deserves attention in a positive light.

If we, as a whole society can separate Jenner from the reputation he has gained as an honorary Kardashian, then we might be able to see the idea of Jenner telling the world about his gender identity as an opportunity to accept each and every soul as equally relevant and capable as our own. Furthermore, we might be able to realize that the relative differences between us are just that, relative. When it comes down to it, we are all people struggling in our own personal ways.

The citizens of Baltimore, and others enduring the struggles they are protesting to overcome, as well as the survivors of Nepal who have endured so much loss and are dangling on the cusp of survival, are both very important. But both of those external struggles, and the internal conflicts we all feel on a daily basis, are comparatively important. Those struggles are about way more than I can write in this newspaper or anyone can blab on social media. They are about learning to be aware of the difficulties that the people around us are facing.

If we can learn to accept Jenner without spewing out hurtful or judgmental comments, even in a joking manner, then maybe we can also learn to ask different questions about the conflicts in the world rather than passing judgment or wondering what we can do from afar.

Maybe we can ask what kind of training are police receiving that these issues and accusations keep coming up. Maybe we can ask what conditions are these rioters living in or dealing with to make them set their own city ablaze. If we have the means, maybe we can donate something to an credible organization for the survivors in Nepal rather than looking at pictures on the internet and simply praying or feeling sorry for them.

Jenner’s coming out is not even just about the transgender community, although, thanks to his notoriety, it does give them a new voice and a platform to help the public understand them and eventually disregard the associated stigmas.

If we can learn to see it in the bigger picture, and apply the lesson that we can learn from seeing the former greatest male athlete in the world as a woman, then maybe we can learn to stop seeing each other as the jerk who snagged the parking spot when we’re running late to class, or the ridiculously demanding professor, who we mentally cuss out. Maybe we can start to see each individual on a daily basis as another soul, with its own personal struggle, just trying to survive the daily grind that is life.