As far as Jenner’s concerned, I pretty much thought I’ve said everything I have to say about her in my last article “7 reasons why I think Bruce Jenner could really change the world”, but as it turns out, I think we’re just about to get into it.
“Bruce Jenner Is Now A Woman” or “Former Male Olympics Winner Is Now Female”. It were text lines like these that bugged me the most, when the news came out that Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, is gracing the new Vanity Fair cover. And I understand if you’re asking yourself why such headlines could be offensive since they appear to be informing and descriptive. But before we go into that, I have to say that seeing Caitlyn living her own truth is really inspiring. It was such a big move not only for her, but for all of us as a society. Her journey and her way in discovering her womanhood was both a learning experience for the former athlete and for all of us watching her becoming the person she wants to be. Take a look!
So far, so good. But reading various headlines of today’s news about Caitlyn, I realized that our society still has a long way to go and to learn about how to communicate gender in the right way and not being offensive to any party. Since there are many transgender people who see it as an insult, when they’re called formerly male or former man or something like that, it’s important to develop a ceratin language that is both honest but respectful. I know, that sounds utterly complicated but since we’re dealing with pretty complex circumstances, I think it’s only appropriate to be a little more sensitive to these topics.
What is Gender?
According to Wikipedia the term Gender describes the socially constructed or psychological aspect of a person’s gender, unlike their biological sex. So what does that mean? I don’t know where I read this one but it somehow went like this “Sexuality is who you go to bed with, while Gender is who you go to bed as.” Make sense? And for some people it’s offensive to call them male or former male, because they insist of being called ‘assigned as male at birth’ instead of that, to emphasize the importancy of the gender binary system that we’re living in.
I know this sounds really complicated – which it is by the way – but as I mentioned before, we’re talking here about a super complex issue, so I think it’s our responsibility as a society to find a way in talking to each other without being disrespectful in any way. So what does Doing Gender mean? As far as I’m understanding it, Doing Gender is a theory that doesn’t believe in biologism in terms of a two gender hegemony. Instead of assuming that there are only two different gender in the world, Doing Gender emphasizes on the ability to create your own gender independently from the gender that you’ve been assigned with at your birth certificate.
Anyway, what I really want to say is that I don’t think that we as a society have fully adapted the complexity of trans issues, but with Caitlyn Jenner coming forward with being her true self, we’re heading towards the right direction in terms of individual fulfillment and acceptance.
And if you’re curious about how you can find a way to communicate gender in a respectful way or better said where miscommunication could lead to, then go ahead and watch this very controversial video with Janet Mock and Pierce Morgan. You don’t only see how Janet thinks what’s the best way to communicate, but you’ll also see this man desperately trying to grasp what being trans really means. Hit it!
If you want to read more about Caitlyn Jenner, here’s a list of related links that I came across!