This morning, like practically everyone else on the planet, I awoke to the news that Bruce Jenner now wanted to be called Caitlyn and was gorgeous.
The only thing I could think to myself was … So?
I remember Bruce Jenner as the athlete of my youth. And I vaguely connected him to the Kardashians about a year after they squirmed out from whatever ooze they had been living in and thought “Surely, that can’t be the same guy.” And I read something one day in the grocery check-out line about him wanting to become a woman.
I thought then, as I do now, so what?
Honestly, it’s a pretty good name, Caitlyn… I guess if I wanted to be a guy, I’d go with something totally unlike my name, like Jackson or James or Todd. And she is really attractive, as any woman photographed by Annie Leibowitz with enough make-up on likely would be.
But I still don’t think any of that is news.
Whether a person identifies themselves as a man, a woman, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual or whatever, just really isn’t news. It’s not something anyone chooses to be, it’s who they are. Since when is being who one really is newsworthy?
Maybe it’s because of the way I grew up, or the people I was around, or the beliefs I’ve come to hold dear, but I just don’t think that a person’s sexuality, sexual orientation or sexual preference is worthy of a cover spread on an international magazine.
When I was in my 20s, I spent a good deal of time at a pretty out there bar in Cincinnati called The Warehouse. My then boyfriend, and now husband, was a bouncer; the owner was a good friend and frankly, it was among the coolest places to be in the Tri-state area. Mummies hung from the ceilings. Girls danced in cages. Sofas lined the back wall. The bar from “A Rage in Harlem” ran the length of one part of the dance floor. It was loud with technopop blaring from 9 at night until 3 in the morning, and as the crowd surged with the pulsing beats, everyone got to know each other well.
There were hipsters, and emos, and preppies. There were gay men, lesbians and drag queens. And there were girls like me – non-descript blondes with a tendency toward shyness and a few wild hairs up her sleeve now and then.
So when I went in one night in a fitted black dress with a big skirt and a fake white lace collar, it wasn’t really that much of a shock to me that the person who said I looked like Lara Ingels was a drag queen.
Shirocco was a 6-foot tall, black drag queen with legs like Tina Turner and a face like Diana Ross. She was beautiful. She danced in cages with reckless abandon. She wore short skirts and figure hugging tops. She had a quick wit and even quicker tongue. She had men buying her drinks and women asking for beauty tips. She was your typical drag queen in the middle of 1990s Cincinnati.
And she nailed it. I looked like someone had picked me up out of my Little Home in the Prairie and deposited me in the Land of Oz. She just happened to point it out to me.
Did it bother me that she was prettier than me? Heck no. I hated make up back then. Did it bother me that she was built better than me? Not so much. I knew mine were real. Was it any of my business that she was anatomically a he? No. None at all.
And more to the point, was the fact that she was a drag queen newsworthy? Was it something that as a young reporter I felt compelled to share with the world? “Drag queen seduces young men in local bar – film at 11!”
No. It wasn’t.
It was her choice to be who she wanted to be. It was her choice how far she wanted to go to be a woman. And it was her choice how far she could go and still be a man. It wasn’t up to me to tell anyone who didn’t need to know. It’s just who she was.
The same is true of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. It’s his, now her, life. It has nothing to do with us. And it’s nothing that should be blasted all over the headlines – unless, of course, that’s what she wants to happen.
I watched as some of the comments about the Vogue magazine spread riddled across the Internet this morning. It really made me stop and think. What business is it of ours?
If Bruce Jenner had stayed a man and decided to finally smack the stupid out of his daughters and tell them all to grow up and get real jobs, would that be newsworthy? No, that would be his choice… and a damn good one too. And that certainly wouldn’t keep the tabloids from making a buck off of it. If he decided to put on lime and orange colored pants and challenge John Daly to a game of golf, would that be news? Not really. Might be a bad life decision if he put money on it, but still…
And this is no different. A person’s LGBT status shouldn’t be any more important to anyone than my hetero status. It’s just who I am.
One little twit – a washed up, has-been teen star who never really made it off Nickelodeon fandom – decided to make a name for himself by saying he’d still call her Bruce. Really? How disrespectful and rude. As if a celebrity like Jenner would ever come calling on him for anything… and as if any of the rest of us cared. Granted, a few thousand people did care enough to give him crap about it on Twitter, but still…. Jenner’s decision has nothing to do with any of us and none of us have any right to say diddly poop about any of it.
In today’s news, Lindsey Graham dubbed social security an “entitlement program,” while saying it supported him and his sister when they needed it; researchers believe they may have found a way to unlock the body’s immune system to fight cancer; reports surfaced that the TSA missed 95% of the explosives they were supposed to find in a drill and in my hometown, a bear was spotted roaming around an elementary school…
Do we not have more important things to worry about than whether Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a man or a woman? Do we really have so little going on in our lives that we need to voice our opinions about someone else’s life, especially someone we don’t even know?
One thing I do have an opinion on though is about Vogue – they certainly got a few million people to do their advertising for them today, didn’t they?
And for that privilege, the choice was all ours.
Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2015