Finally got around to watching Caitlyn Jenner and her Arthur Ashe Award speech (not for me the 15 second news churn, I take my time!). It’s amazing stuff. Don’t get the hate from certain people, yes I don’t like her Republican or reality show affiliations either, but it’s interesting how she’s used her platform to promote trans* youth, especially black or non-white trans youth, and talk about her privilege acknowledging that she has it good compared to many. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start…and I don’t see how shooting the messenger is going to help. I suspect a lot of it is snobbishness anyway, because of Kardashians and reality shows.
Anyway, if you really want to divide the right-wing, like the LGBTQ Tories and UKIP here (yes they exist oddly, the latter was banned from marching in London Pride as a group since their policies are ‘phobic) then you use people like Caitlyn as a lever, not only to promote trans* visibility and respect, but also force the Republicans to face up to their bigoted members and electorate.
But the important thing as someone highly visible is promote the message, because she along with the wonderful Laverne Cox and others will force change. I hate this current binary idea, which is an anathema to real politics that either someone has to be exactly so or you shoot them down. That’s not the real world, as with Caitlyn’s transformation, politics can also evolve, more so since you’re not born with them. People exist in shades of grey, and to get anything done you need to work with people you might not totally agree with, or even mostly agree with. The magic is doing so without personally compromising yourself, but that’s single-issue politics in a nutshell, but by doing so you can influence the other parts too, because they are interlinked.
But stomping off before the discussion starts to hide in an ivory tower helps no-one, least of all the scared trans* teens needing help and support. Whereas contrasting Caitlyn’s messages about trans* respect with what the Republican party believes is a useful strategy, especially if you could get Caitlyn to talk about that. It’s a start to even have this discussion – and also useful to find out the people (Peter Berg, D. L. Hughley – who?) who make jokes or attack Caitlyn over the award, because it’s always good to know who the transphobic douchebags are.
Misgendering and misnaming are also really good ways of finding out if someone is a complete dick, I find, like a few other personal social filters…a bit like the racist jokes of old (well not completely gone, but hopefully in future forgotten).
P.S. I also love this section on the Last Week With John Oliver show on Transgender Rights: