It seems that every time I log onto Facebook, I see a post about Caitlyn Jenner and her public transition from male to female. I see this story as a victory for her and others who have experienced or are experiencing a similar situation. Unfortunately, it appears the general public does not feel the same (it’s also possible that I just have shitty friends on my social media). The number of posts and memes comparing Caitlyn to what one sees as a ‘real’ hero is outstanding. So many believe that the subject of being trans and whether it is considered brave is not important – that it is insignificant when compared with other world problems.
I cannot believe that the people making these posts and/or genuinely feel they are valid cannot understand that bravery is subjective. What is brave to you is most likely something that has significance in your life, something that has affected you. For example, if you or someone you love has had cancer, you most likely see cancer survivors as heroes, and understandably so. Anyone who knows or is a trans person, whether publicly or not, knows the insurmountable struggle they face every minute of every day in a world that has no place for them.
Is Terry Fox a hero? Of course. Are men and women in the military who fought for our country and freedom heroes? Of course. Does that mean Caitlyn Jenner and the trans population who have stood up for their rights are not heroes? Definitely fucking not. If one cannot sit back for one minute and consider what it would be like to be a trans person in today’s world and recognize the lack of acknowledgement and validation and general hate towards these people, then a new perspective is needed.
I understand that many people haven’t thought about this as an issue, because it simply isn’t one for them. Many people live lives that are unaffected by the concept of gender, sex and sexual orientation. And good for you, if that is the case. But it does not give you the right to discredit and shame the people who have do live with the issues and who have had the guts to be proud of who they are. It’s very easy for a white heterosexual cisgendered person to say that Caitlyn is not a hero and there are ‘bigger problems.’ But I dare them to live one day in the life without being able to use a bathroom outside of their home, fill out a form virtually anywhere or live a day without judgement.
Many heroes have died so that we can have the world we do today. But how many trans people need to die from drugs, murder and suicide before they are allowed the same freedom?