My eyes opened wide when I saw the July issue of Vanity Fair.
A brunette posed provocatively in a fitting white bodysuit, accentuating her feminine body curves without implicitness. Her eyes were settled on the reader with conviction – she presumably brings out her real soul in her toned and glossy skin. I looked closer and perceived a tinge of masculinity underlay the womanish figure. Now, everyone calls her Caitlyn Jenner, a new icon of the transgender community, a trans-woman who burns your eyes with her powerful bravery and self-righteousness. Reading Caitlyn’s story of starting with a typical male body with a girl’s heart, and then transforming into real womanhood, I marveled how her strong desire to become female led to a painful struggle, lingering on the edge of family and sexuality, till she made a determining step for her life.
Transgender issues have become increasingly open. After Caitlyn’s issue, it even raises a lot of hype to let us understand the attitudes of society towards transgender issues. There are open-minded thoughts with conservative thoughts, not to mention piercing criticism of trans people’s very existence. Personally, I support her coming out of the closet because she will no longer be doomed to living in fear, tension and trauma for her entire life.
Shall we ponder why transgender individuals deserve our love and respect?
We live in a community with different kinds of people, varied in race, religion, gender and class. What we need most to live up to our dignity and self-respect is to have a valid identity, and this includes members of the transgender community. In other words, legitimisation of transgender people to obtain gender identity equal to all humankind is an elementary need for them.
The undoubtedly most arduous process for transgender people is distinguishing one’s gender, and facing the uncertainty and insecurity either to exist in a fake identity or to reveal their agony to people. Although some of them try and tell themselves to accept their assigned gender at birth, the hesitation in assuring oneself of one’s own identity still could be bewildering. Dealing with all these pressures and burdens, Caitlyn’s immense courage to step out of her stereotypical image and strive for human rights is a wise and admirable move, because it shows we have freedom to raise voices for who we are. That being said, she deserves an identity because everyone is unique and distinctive.
Caitlyn Jenner is now an image to tell you that “It’s OK to be who you truly are.” As a matter of fact, Caitlyn is an inspiration to educate us about self-actualization.
When I was watching a video of a moving speech by Caitlyn Jenner, I was not only touched by how she advocates for transgender acceptance, but also by her gratitude towards life, and towards her family, lover and the people who are willing to respect her state of being. By throwing off the stigma on transgender people, she is one of our role models. Her trans journey is as tormented as you would think, and she shares times of darkness and sorrow in her transition. This sharing of experience is not just a plea for sympathy, but inspires people to take difficulties as challenges in life. In her speech, she mentioned the different levels of pressure on transgender individuals, as they face bullying, even murder, and how they often choose suicide. In the light of her achievement, she acts as the prevailing character to promote a humane concept – accepting people for who they are. According to Caitlyn’s declaration, she considers it her mission as a trans person to improve the prospects for all transgenders and clear misunderstandings about trans issues. For her sincere desire to make the world a better place, how could we not appreciate her grace?
Being a human is complicated, and even more so if you’re transgender. For those transphobic people out there, I hope this will give you more insight in the priceless act of being true to your genuine identity. Caitlyn’s emergence brings new colour to our understanding of courage.
Stay tough, I believe love has no boundary.
By Andrew Lim
Feature image source: Vanity Fair