Monday, April 27, 2015

The Bruce Jenner Interview

Yes, I watched it too, like most of the transworld, and many in cis-America as well.  Did you see the ratings?  Yowza!

I was asked by no less than Six of my co-workers for my thoughts on the Interview.  And I always asked what THEY thought.  Their reactions were always of "I didn't realize how much pain you were in" or "You're so brave to do this!"   Both of which I'll take, btw.

So.  I assume that you, dear reader, saw the interview.  If not you can find it HERE.  It's about two hours long with commercials, and doubles as a history lesson on Jenner's life, as well as a "Trans 101."  As part of that, we see Janet Mock and Jennifer Finney Boylan (I won't call you a sage, Professor, as I agree- parsley is more fun!) (Facialbook humor: it is not logical.)

Right.  So Bruce Jenner has come out as TG.  Something we in the community kinda figured out long ago, but I for one didn't know of his previous transition attempt in the 1980s.  Or that this was the cause of the collapse of two of his marriages.  I still wonder how he fathered two children after being on hormones for a year and a half, but that's small potatoes.  In any case.

Damn- what an interview!  I thought he came across as genuine and nuanced.  A little snarky at times, but who wouldn't be after being part of the whole Khardashian thing.  (I still use "He" as he asked us all to do so for some odd reason.)

In any case, the amazing Donna Rose summed it up perfectly on Facialbook when she wrote "What happens from here on out is yet to be seen, but in the big picture it separates everything that came before from everything that comes after."

With Donna Rose at SCC 2013

And she is absolutely right.  This was a turning point.  People are, if even for a moment, talking about us in a positive light.  They have learned about who and what we really are- not bathroom perverts, but just people.  People who have a horrible burden... but people who have incredible strength.  

Those of us who survive the incredible pain, that is.  How do we articulate that?  Even Jenner really couldn't.  It's hard to explain to those who haven't experienced.  As my dear sister Lisa said, her name was an acronym for Living In Silent Agony.

Silent Agony.  That's the best description I've heard.

I tried to explain it to a coworker yesterday, and words failed me.  My eyes welled up a bit with tears.  I just told her that the pain is so bad, it kills us.  Because it is.  And it does.  

God help us, it does.

Of note was the reaction of Diane Sawyer to several of Bruce Jenner's points.  She seemed shocked by some, which made me wonder when she did her research- before or after she did the interview, as the entire show seemed very well researched.  

And she seemed genuinely shocked that he's a republican.  I was too, but I shouldn't have been.  I've made my thoughts on republican TGs clear both here and on TG Forum.  But Bruce Jenner has "juice"- maybe he CAN get the republican leadership to stop their persecution of us.  But I doubt it.  I think he's in for a rude eye opening.

Bruce Jenner also discussed religion- that didn't surprise me.  Many TGs try to square our religious beliefs with who we Are.  I did.  And what he said is fairly close to how I finally sorted it out.  Maybe someday I'll go further into this topic.

In the end, Donna Rose is correct.  The Transgender community has entered a new era.  Jenny Boylan and Mara Keisling have been doing the rounds of talk shows.  Kristin Beck is running for congress.  We're this news cycle's darlings.  Now it's up to us... it's always been up to us.

We Transpeople who are out in the world, as I am, have to show others that we aren't Freaks or monsters.  We need to show the cis-community that we're people, with strengths and weaknesses like any other.  But we need to accentuate our strengths- our resilience and our adaptability.  

Then maybe, just maybe, we'll start to be accepted.  

The Interview showed a statistic, that on 8% of Americans say they Know a Transgender person.  So each of us who is out is important.  As Jenny Boylan said "You can't hate someone whose story you know."  We need to get our stories out there- someway somehow.  

You know, Wife told me that MIL watched the whole interview.  I haven't heard a reaction from her yet.  Wife didn't watch much of it.  Her reasons are her own.  Perhaps MIL learned something.  perhaps she understands us better- understands Me better.

Time will tell... for All of us.


  1. Sophie -

    Whether or not MIL watched the show, the fact that she recognized it was on was important. Since she did watch the whole show, it means that she needed to absorb the information from a source other than you. Will she do so? Only time will tell....

    I hope that the show helped to tear down a wall or two. And if not, loosen at least a few bricks....


  2. Sophie, isn't this the word you should be using, considering that Bruce has identified as a Republican ?

  3. You know I still haven't seen it?! For obvious reasons, my wife would not be comfortable watching it, and so I guess I need to wait for a time when I can watch it alone.
    SO many people in the public eye have started coming out as trans lately and I think that the exposure is good for us. It's good for us that people discover that people that they have admired and respected are trans and have been all of their lives