Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bruce Gender: Caitlyn's Real Message

Image: ( by Annie Lebowitz)

The Internet has been buzzing since Vanity Fair released the images of their July Cover Girl. We bid farewell officially to Olympian Bruce Jenner and say hello to Caitlyn Jenner, gold medal winner for bravery and ironically balls.

Bruce sat down with Diane Sawyer back in April and discussed his transformation as well as all of the personal conflict and struggle he has had internally his entire life (See the story here).

The details of his journey is not necessary to re write here but Caitlyn comes to us with a message that transcends the lines of the LGBT and/or Transgender community.

Image: ( by Annie Lebowitz)

Of course she is an amazing spokeswoman for the Transgender community and I don't want to take anything away from the awareness that is being raised but to me Caitlyn's message is that of authenticity and has an inclusive application. At age 65 she is now beginning to live her authentic life. Imagine waiting so long? I'm sure most of you can as many people I know don't live authentically, not 100% anyway. 

Society and the judgement of others has such a strangle hold on people. Working in the fashion industry I see it in my clients all the time.  A great example is the moment when  someone is authentically or naturally drawn to something, a piece of clothing or an accessory. It kind of goes like this,

"Oh, I love this" ... BUT

But society will judge me.
But someone will say something hurtful or rude to me.
But no one will understand.
But I have no where to wear it.

Its a kin to a what if but its what I call a BUT IF, AKA an excuse.

Let's get real: " Society" or "they" will always be judgemental. Do you really put the opinions of strangers above your own? Recognize it is your OWN fear and take your power back.

Someone may say something hurtful or rude to you or about you, but if you don't believe it, who cares? What others think of you is none of your business.

Someones lack of understanding is their issue, not yours. You cannot be responsible for what someone does or doesn't 'get'. You can attempt to educate but let your energy to convert go no further, you need it for being fabulous.

Lastly, from a person who wears sequins to the grocery store, trust me when I confirm YOU can make "Hollywood", "New York" or wherever else you deem appropriate,wherever you are in the world in that moment. In other words there is a place to wear everything you have in your closet, right here, right now if you so choose. 
Image: ( by Annie Lebowitz)

What Caitlyn has done is started an important dialogue. The press and social media is bogged down with all the details of unimportance like; fake tits, photo shop, shaved adam's apple, reality show, fame whore, Kardashian who gives a fuck?

Her Message (from my perspective):

1) The dialogue that has been started about the legitimacy of gender dysphoria. It is recognized in the DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (by the American Psychiatric Association) as a very REAL condition. "DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be adifferent gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name “gender identity disorder”with “gender dysphoria,” as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is importantto note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoriais the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition." I personally feel people are born the way they are born and it is not necessarily a "mental disorder", however if the DSM acknowledgement will get the Trans community the clinical support they need then I view this as positive and a resource to use as education.

2) The discussion about women. There is much talk online about what it means to be a woman, the issues we face as a gender and our unique set of circumstances. It has also shed some light on how far we have come but also how far we still have to with respect to equal pay for equal work, the scrutiny we are under for our appearance and unique pressures we face as women.

3) Authenticity: People are complaining (mostly religious hypocrites and the ignorant) about being a scam and a lot of people feel that they have the exceptional ability to speak for "god" and knows what "god wants". WOW! Maybe they can give me lottery numbers too? Being who you are ALWAYS comes with some kind of risk or cost. Here the cost has been, thus far, "hurting" the people that she loves and who love her. But let's consider what is gained? A life of non-deception, freedom of expression, freedom of choice that aligns with your authentic self or what I call your source. An authentic sense of happiness and radiating positive energy to those closest to her. When you are authentically happy you can feel it, as can others. A chance to really look at oneself, at the source and become what YOU want. She is also another example of money not bringing happiness. She is extremely wealthy and famous yet she spent decades struggling and living a lie. No money can buy the peace that living an authentic life can provide.

4) Courage and/or Bravery: This discussion about being brave and having courage to stand up in the face of the uncompassionate, ignorant masses. She is receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the ESPYS in July.  Being honest is not always easy and one risks ridicule, hurt, and backlash. for Caitlyn this is on a much grander scale because she is in the public eye. Regardless of who you are there is always some level of risk/cost involved with honesty which could explain why so many people are not.

5) Tolerance and Respect: You do not have to agree with someones choices or understand them to be respectful. At the very least you should respect someones right to choose. In this instance of legitimate gender dysphoria I don't personally believe that Caitlyn had a choice per se. I feel she was born Caitlyn but named Bruce. She did choose, after a long battle to conform to the herd (society) to take the courage to finally become Caitlyn and live authentically.

6) Education: Educating people is the key to Tolerance and Respect. I have a son with Down Syndrome and I can't even believe how ignorant and unaccepting people still are even though this is the most common "chromosomal disorder". I can't even image how it is for people in the Trans Gender community.  Education "normalizes" issues and people who are perceived to not fit into the herd or society's view on how generic we should all be to coexist. The more Caitlyn is out there, the more people are forced to read about, look at and examine my points above.

7) Inspiration.: Caitlyn's story should serve to inspire us ALL. Imagine gender lines and assignments melting away and we all look at ourselves and our source as humans. The authenticity and bravery discussed above has been enough to inspire me. Think of the people who are still living lies. Perhaps this story has helped them come clean and live authentically. There is truly nothing more powerful, even if the story helps one person. She is leading by example and through bold and powerful action, not just words. I feel we are all here, in this shared  life experience with the ability to assist and help others. Service to others comes in many forms, today it comes in the form of a woman. 

Thank you Caitlyn and welcome to your new life.