WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by David Watkins 06.04.2015 61 days ago
Posted In: LGBT at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Queer City Spotlight: Call Her Caitlyn. Only Caitlyn.

Local LGBTQ+ news and views

Anyone who knows me is quick to call me out as a Kardashian fanatic. I grew up with them through religiously watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. My specific fascination and adoration for Kim Kardashian West is ridiculous to most people, but I cannot help it! She is everything to me. Naturally, I jumped for joy Sunday night after she announced her second pregnancy. I could not wait to see what the rest of the world would say the next day – jokes about naming the baby South West, people on social media asking why anyone cares about Kim — you know, the usual. But I did not see much about baby No. 2 because not many cared — *heart breaks* — after another family member basically broke the Internet.  On the first day of Pride Month and a little over a year after Laverne Cox’s iconic Time cover, Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, graced the cover of Vanity Fair Monday. The headline read “#CallMeCaitlyn” — pretty simple, right? Well, you would think so. Either people still do not understand hashtags, or they were too busy obsessing over her beauty and similarity to Jessica Lange —  which is a whole other conversation. Nevertheless, with the headline/hashtag combination, she is asking people — on and off social media — to call her Caitlyn. Nothing else, only Caitlyn. It’s she — not he, not “she” — she. It’s not “his new name” or “his new identity” — it’s her. Caitlyn is her truth. It is who she has always been. But what would an announcement from one of the most controversial public figures on 2015 be without exactly that — controversy. This week has already brought a multitude of headlines and opinions as people continue to react to Caitlyn’s photoshoot. By the end of the week, I am sure I could write a dissertation or short novel on everything. For your sake, I will just dissect the reoccurring reactions and controversies I have encountered on social media, and I will relate them to how you should treat Jenner. When speaking about Caitlyn: Do NOT call her anything other than Caitlyn. If you are speaking to an individual who is not up to par on Caitlyn’s public journey and you are trying to explain, say “Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner…” Remember that by the end of the conversation, the individual should understand that her name is Caitlyn. Do NOT use the pronouns he, him and his  when speaking about Caitlyn. She identifies as a transgender woman and prefers the pronouns she, her and hers. If you mess up in the beginning, it is OK. While they yearn for people to use their preferred pronouns, most trans* individuals understand that it might take time to break an old habit. If you realize you accidentally used incorrect pronouns, either correct it immediately or make a point to use the correct pronouns next time. Trans* folks will see you are trying. The effort makes a difference. Do NOT compare her beauty to the beauty of other women. I have seen countless memes and posts about her being prettier than Kris Jenner and that Kris must be mad Caitlyn did not start her name with the letter “K.” I understand how things like this might seem funny — especially with how the media paints Kris’ reputation, lifestyle and alleged opinions — but it’s not funny. In The Bruce Jenner Interview with Diane Sawyer and Keeping Up With the Kardashians: All About Bruce, Caitlyn has expressed her continued love and respect for Kris during this time, acknowledging that families of transgender individuals sometimes need time to process. Despite your opinions about Kris, Caitlyn, the whole family or transgender people in general, let the Vanity Fair cover be a catalyst for us to stop pitting women against each other. I will speak more about this later, but let’s remember that Caitlyn’s photoshoot displays more than just physical beauty. She is beautiful, but that cannot be the only thing we get out of this Vanity Fair issue. In a reaction post on her official Tumblr, actress and activist Laverne Cox said, “What I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities. The love and devotion she has for her family and that they have for her. Her courage to move past denial into her truth so publicly. These things are beyond beautiful to me.” Do NOT be disrespectful or transphobic. Myriad negative headlines are about public figures and people on Twitter who refuse to acknowledge Caitlyn’s womanhood, journey and personal requests. ·      Fox News and other media outlets mocked and misgendered her. ·      Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee refuses to support not only Caitlyn, but the whole trans* community. The former Arkansas Governor said trans* folks and the idea of trans*-related legislation was a threat to society, especially for children in a bathroom setting. Oddly enough, he came out in support of Josh Duggar — who admitted to molesting four of his sisters and a babysitter — but he won’t support Caitlyn or trans* folks in the name of protecting children and family values. ·      I am not going to pretend to know a multitude about sports. The only time I pay attention to the EPSY Awards is to see how athletes dress for a red carpet. Athletes and their communities are incredibly talented, but it is just not my thing. I do not know enough about the other qualified sports stars to have a legitimate opinion on whether or not Caitlyn should win the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, but I do know the backlash Jenner is receiving is disgusting. Tweet! Voice your opinion! Root for your favorite athlete! But do not try to delegitimize an individual’s hero status or level of courage if it is well earned. In regard to Jenner and the trans* community, it is transphobic and disrespectful. Comparing an inspirational transgender person to an inspirational soldier and an inspirational young girl who passed away too soon is like comparing apples, oranges and bananas. But all three are courageous and serve as inspirational figures to a handful of people — the athletes, not fruit. You can disagree without wishing ill will and voice your opinions without disregarding someone’s experience. Bravery and courage exist in all forms. Now that we cleared that up, I am returning to society’s concept of beauty in relation to transgender folks. Wendy Williams is not a stranger to backlash and criticism, especially for her opinions about Caitlyn Jenner over the past year. On Tuesday, she spoke about the Vanity Fair cover and Caitlyn’s transition. She occasionally misgendered Caitlyn in the beginning, but corrected herself, which was progress. What stood out to me were Williams’ expectations and demands for Caitlyn’s life now that she is out to the public. Not only did she give Kris Jenner permission to eternally resent Caitlyn, but Wendy refused to accept Caitlyn’s womanhood and name if Caitlyn did not physically live up to cisnormative standards of beauty and society’s traditional female stereotypes. “A lot of men try to transition, and a lot of you [transgender women] … No bueno, no bueno, OK?” she said. Williams acknowledged Caitlyn’s beauty, but said, “I don’t want to see no man,” in the future and later said, “I just want the weave to stay in.” Whether Williams was joking or not, the studio audience laughed because they understood and believed what she was talking about. Her show is successful because she is relatable and her loyal fan base can identify with her. Her opinions often reflect a generation or handful of people’s views. Her expectations for Caitlyn to always “pass” or undetectably embody a stereotypical woman all the time is problematic because it positions cisgender people as the standard for beauty. It should not be she’s beautiful for a transgender person. There should not be a different standard of beauty for trans folks. It’s look at her, she’s beautiful, but incorporating Laverne Cox’s point that her bravery, heart and spirit are even more beautiful. And while Caitlyn Jenner has stunning features, she comes from so much privilege. Not all transgender individuals can afford cosmetic surgery, designer clothes and time away from work. Even less trans folks get paid to come out and share their story — like probably less than two percent, if that. This does not mean Caitlyn deserves less sympathy or respect because she has more privilege than others; she identified her privilege briefly in the Diane Sawyer interview — it just means she is a rare example of what being transgender looks like — again, an extremely rare example. LGBTQ+ people can still get fired for being queer in 32 states, trans* individuals do not always receive the same healthcare benefits and some financially and emotionally struggle for their necessities. Caitlyn Jenner will save numerous lives from suicide and will encourage people of all ages to come out as transgender — she already has. Let us support her as she uses this new-found platform to make a difference, but remember every transgender experience is different. We must also realize that not all trans people live up to cisnormative standards and not all folks want to. As I reflect on everything I have read this week alongside my idea of beauty and longtime adoration for Kim Kardashian West that I mentioned before, I realize that beauty is subjective. Kim K. might be one of the most beautiful women in the world in my eyes, but she and others do not represent what it means to be beautiful. Like courage and bravery, beauty exists in countless forms. I also realize that every person’s experience is their own journey and story to tell. We need to start listening. Caitlyn Jenner’s issue of Vanity Fair is available in stores now. Her new documentary series I Am Cait premieres Sunday, July 26 at 9 p.m. on E! Are you confused about all of this queer terminology? That’s OK! Take some time to learn more at http://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender.
 
 

Star Power Gleams at The Taft

0 Comments · Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Why are Hollywood glamour photographs on display at the Taft Museum of Art? FotoFocus isn’t reason enough; the Taft likes to establish a tie between the renowned permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. So what is Myrna Loy doing here?   

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