Why? Because it's quite frankly embarrassing. I published a video explaining why we must exercise compassion even in the face of fear and misunderstanding, particularly when dealing with LGBTQ issues. A week ago, Caitlyn Jenner accepted her Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 ESPYS. Not to mention, she was stunning and beautifully articulate while doing so.
But, some still have something to say about ESPN's decision to honor the transgender Olympian, and their words are not kind. Today, I set the record straight. Here are five reasons why you should never argue Caitlyn Jenner's existence (nor her ESPY award):
1. She is not harming anyone by being herself. Transgender people, similar to gay people or any queer people in the LGBTQ spectrum do not physically harm or emotionally traumatize another individual during their process of coming out and living true to themselves. I understand that some may say it goes against their religious views, but disagreeing with someone and shaming someone with visceral anger are two very different things.
2. She is saving lives by living authentically. Did you not hear the statistic that over 40% of trans people have attempted suicide? That they get bullied, beaten up and murdered with incredibly high statistics. Having a role model that trans youth can look up to (or older trans individuals like Caitlyn who are just now gaining the courage to come out) is vital in our society. To me, that is the perfect representation of courage.
3. She has no reason to be "craving publicity" or attention. Caitlyn Jenner, when presenting as Bruce Jenner had a variety of opportunities to gain fame and recognition. Most well known is her affiliation with the Kardashian clan and their multi-billion dollar trademark. All she had to do was stay faithful to Kris Jenner and she would've had many opportunities to gain attention. Why would someone change their sex for publicity? While Caitlyn is a wonderful role model now, she won't be an icon forever. That compromise seems quite extreme.
4. She is the only "nominee"/winner of the 2015 Arthur Ashe Courage Award. When Caitlyn was announced as the winner of the award, there was a false meme that circulated showing war vet Noah Galloway as the runner up, comparing his version of courage to Caitlyn's. First off, it's an unfair comparison. Second, there was no runner up, and this award was for: "An athlete who has done something educational that transcends sport." Noah is not an athlete (yes, he enjoys working out), he is a model and speaker. A wounded vet was awarded the ESPYS' Pat Tillman Award--an award of much courage, in my opinion. This level of recipient disapproval was never pushed upon the most recent winners: gay Michael Sam and lesbian Robin Roberts.
5. She is setting an example of trans identity that is rarely highlighted. Along with identifying as a trans person and being a member of an older age group, part of Caitlyn's identity is that she is a Republican, as well as a devout Christian. This example of how broad the trans issue really reaches is necessary for us as a country to progress. It is vital to acknowledge the idea that gender identity impacts us all--not only those who were brought up to support the idea of gender non-conformity. Breaking down barriers is what Caitlyn Jenner is working so hard at.
I'll end with a quote from Jenner herself:
"If you want to call me names, make jokes or doubt my intentions, go ahead. Because the reality is: I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with being true to who they are... they shouldn't have to take it."