Bruce Jenner, my hat is most definitely off to you. Last night while my friend was winning an Emmy (congrats David Doyle – you deserve it not only as a producer but as a human being – proud of you!), I was watching the Bruce Jenner interview. It was a very interesting story. 16 hours later I find I feel for him on two counts. The first is compassion for his suffering the weight of a life lead dealing with the issues that are part and parcel of realizing that you are living with being born in the wrong sexed body. Second, I was concerned for him having to “come out” in Macy’s window.
He did it beautifully. He has, and is living, an amazing life journey. As he said at the end of the interview; he felt perhaps he was born for it.
After sorting through my experience of the interview, I turned on the news and saw the anchor interviewing “Chopper Bob.” Chopper Bob was originally known as the male chopper pilot who first discovered O.J.’s car in the infamous “slow speed chase.” He has since become Ms. Zoey Tur, special correspondent: Inside Edition.
I was disappointed with Ms. Tur’s imposition of her judgments (and in truth: some professional requirements) on Jenner. It was Ms. Tur’s comment that since Jenner said, “Don’t call me she,” that he said he liked women and that he wasn’t a lesbian, he was still sexually confused. Further, as Jenner already had two letters clearing him for Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) (which requires a year living publicly as the sex designation one will become – and Jenner had “only come out last night”) Ms. Tur questioned whether Jenner was getting good care.
Here we go again! “All animals are created equal but some are created more equal.”
I think the issues of sexual identity are about as personal as you can get. There are probably as many variations on the Sexual Dysphoric theme as there people who are ever going to have been born as a Sexual Dysphoric. Unless a person is suicidal or is hurting other people – it is probably not for us to judge. Rather, being a good human being, asks us to be compassionate and to ease the enormity of Sexual Dysphorics’ pain. Or at least; to not add to it. It bothers me that “us-them” thinking and fear often rule the day.
Hormones splashing certain brain areas in idiosyncratic ways, for idiosyncratic periods during development are probably at the root of all sexuality. In addition, there are environmental complications that make the issue far more difficult than it need be. Certainly, we are in a sociological period when, as a society, this is all new science and new thinking. I am confident evolution of thinking will come. However, many of us still have one flipper stuck in the primoridal ooze when it comes to our personal evolution regarding all these variations. So, if you have trouble with it all – be glad it is not your issue – and try to do no harm.
As to Ms. Tur’s assessment regarding Jenner’s quality of care; yes, there are professional challenges to be explored and worked through before allowing someone to just wake up in recovery one day with buyer’s remorse for both the new tattoo and the Sexual Reassignment Surgery. However, protocols can be flexible. Jenner was obviously quite conscious of his issues for 55 years. He has not shirked his responsibility (nor has his shrink) in exploring the validity of his feelings. Moreover, as he was “The Greatest Athlete in the World” in 1976; being “out” is a relative thing. Bruce Jenner has evolved over time and come out to his personal friends, family and loved ones. He has no responsibility to come out to the entire world until it is right (in his world) to do so. That Jenner had the actual “whole world” to come out to makes him worthy of special dispensation. I think he did it well. He came out on the world stage gradually, as the issues evolved for him. Now that he was going to have SRS – coming out on the world stage was necessary – and he did it.
Whether his sexuality will change (or not) is his business. I am certain, that in his sane world; being aroused by women, feeling he shouldn’t be called “her or she” until after SRS surgery, whom s/he will bed, how s/he feels about it, and/or how s/he labels her sexuality 5 years post-op, will be a life-long evolution and exploration. Just like life is (or at least should be) for all of us. We should all demonstrate the same grace with our own life lessons, and we should show appreciation, and give respect and kudos for the Tale of Bruce Jenner. Kudos and Peace in your bones Bruce! My hat’s off to you.