By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) and her transformation into a woman. Great for her! There are thousands of LGBTQ individuals that aren’t able to make the transition and be themselves.
Today, on my personal Facebook account, I happened upon a friend that shared this post:
[fb_pe url=”https://www.facebook.com/terry.coffey.90/posts/10207205538076300:0" bottom=”30"]
As I type this, the original post itself has 440,000 shares. Impressive.
I’ll forgo the argument that the picture itself is of dolls, not of actual people. That’s just too easy of a refutation to make. It took me ten seconds to reverse search the image to find that it’s fake (but the comments people are making about the image showing “true bravery” is mildly amusing- I wonder if they are just as amused by Ken dolls as they get ready to go on a date with Barbie?). We could also analyze how people are very quick to use any data/image that suits their needs (without doing any basic research into it, like taking ten seconds to reverse image search it), but that’s a topic of another post.
We can also ignore the fact that Mark Hogancamp, the man that created the “fake” image (as part of a project he did), was nearly beaten to death for being a cross-dresser. Irony indeed.
Instead, we’ll focus on why this is a
silly fucking dumb thing to say.
So first, cool your conservative jets. I’m absolutely not saying that Caitlyn is “more brave” or “as brave as” soldiers/law enforcement/firefighters/et cetera (professionally, I work closely with law enforcement on a daily basis, and have the utmost respect for them, actually). In fact, nowhere in this post will I say she’s “brave” or anything of the sort. So relax.
What I *am* saying is that this is a case of apples and oranges.
I didn’t see a single person comparing Caitlyn’s actions to anything done by a solider/law enforcement/et al. That is, until Terry Coffey (the OP of the image) decided to open his mouth and vomit some words out.
This illustrates a general lack of understanding about LGBTQ individuals. My friend said “It’s like me getting a spray tan and calling myself an African American because I feel that’s who I truly am.” No, that’s wrong.
Contrary to “racial dysphoria,” gender dysphoria is actually a recognized diagnosis in the DSM-5. That means it’s a real thing, like it or not.
So what is gender dysphoria? Well, according to the DSM-5:
A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by 2 or more of the following indicators:
1. a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or, in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics)
2. a strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or, in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics)
3. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
4. a strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
5. a strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
6. a strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
I could (and should) dedicate an entire post to how LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to their hetero counterparts, and how almost two thirds of LGBTQ youth also reported not feeling safe in their own schools because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. But that’s a topic for another post.
I would offer that the actual issue some people have calling Caitlyn “brave” (compared to a soldier) is not the actual comparison or the definition of the word. Instead, it’s a proxy war (sticking with our soldier theme here) over the actual acceptance of LGBTQ individuals. I believe that in private, those that are making the argument against labeling Caitlyn as “brave” also have an issue with acceptance of the LGBTQ community, however they are smart enough to know that they can’t openly say “I don’t like transgender people” or “I don’t like gay people.”
So instead, they carefully choose their words that successfully articulate their disgust, but mask it in a petty argument over an adjective.
What most of them are really wanting to say is “I hate transgender people.”