Speaking publicly for the first time since completing gender transition, Caitlyn Jenner compares her emotional two-day photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz for the July cover of Vanity Fair to winning the gold medal for the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. She tells Pulitzer Prize–winning V.F. contributing editor and author of Friday Night Lights Buzz Bissinger, “That was a good day, but the last couple of days were better. . . . This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”
Jenner tells Bissinger about how she suffered a panic attack the day after undergoing 10-hour facial-feminization surgery on March 15—a procedure she believed would take 5 hours. (Bissinger reveals that Jenner has not had genital surgery.) She recalls thinking, “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?” A counselor from the Los Angeles Gender Center came to the house so Jenner could talk to a professional, and assured her that such reactions were often induced by pain medication, and that second-guessing was human and temporary.
Jenner tells Bissinger the thought has since passed and not come back: “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.”
Costello picked up on a point made by E! Entertainment correspondent Ken Baker, who noted that some who remember Bruce Jenner as an Olympian in the 1970s will take some time to get her new identity as Caitlyn.
“I grew up in that generation,” Costello said. “I remember the Olympics — right, where Bruce Jenner was?”
It takes courage to share your story. https://t.co/Q7wWjV9Rxx
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 1, 2015
In the minutes after Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover went public yesterday, the Associated Press made a big whoopsie: They tweeted — and then deleted — a message in which they referred to Jenner as a “he.”
“Misgendering,” as this practice is known is the LGBT community, isn’t just a style error in violation of AP’s own rules — it’s a stubborn, long-time hurdle to transgender acceptance and equality, a fundamental refusal to afford those people even basic grammatical dignity. In fact, almost any time a transgender person is in the news, online errors like this run rampant. And because I cover the Internet, which is nothing if not a merry-go-round of cyclical hysteria, I knew that with Jenner, it would happen again.
So, yesterday afternoon, a friend and I cobbled together a rudimentary Twitter bot to quietly, politely correct misgendering errors like the AP’s.
Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell was at the center of massive social media backlash Monday after issuing what some claim was a “transphobic” tweet about Bruce Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover where he debuted as “Caitlyn.”…
Bell drew the ire of Twitter-land when he tweeted, and then quickly deleted: “Sorry… still calling you Bruce.”…
According to the New York Post, as the backlash quickly spread, Bell attempted to defuse the situation, tweeting: “Good thing social media has no effect on real life.”…
Bell quickly scrubbed all tweets related to Jenner from his feed. But that did not stop the massive backlash and angry replies from pouring in.
Knowing what she knows now, Kris [Jenner] tells the magazine the way Caitlyn approached their separation and subsequent divorce felt like “the most passive-aggressive thing I think I’ve ever experienced.”
She asks rhetorically, “Why would you want to be married and have kids if this is what you wanted since you were a little boy? Why would you not explain this all to me?”…
In Kris’ mind, “there wasn’t a gender issue. Nobody mentioned a gender issue,” she tells the magazine.
Between the Vanity Fair spread and "she's so pretty" convos, we've smuggled in the same old cis/Eurocentric narratives about womanhood.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) June 1, 2015
If we only celebrate and welcome Caitlyn Jenner bc she conforms to tradition cis/and European standards of beauty, we are making a mistake.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) June 1, 2015
As a media sensation, Jenner had many choices for how to reveal herself to us, so the fact that she chose a way that only reinforces how much our society objectifies women is a bit distressing. But for too long transgender folk have been discussed and defined solely in terms of sexuality. There’s a sad irony if transgender women get to achieve “equality” only by subjecting themselves to the same all-reducing stereotypes that cisgendered women have been subjected to forever.
Once again, leave it to the media to place the virtue of beauty above all other virtues. Of course Jenner is beautiful, but is it her physical beauty that we need to be emphasizing, rather than her courage to live her truth, or her strength to face the world and reveal her struggles to all of us? Vanity Fair will likely remind us that there’s a lengthy article inside the magazine where they do just that. But it is the photo, and not the article, that is grabbing people’s attention right now.
The photo itself seems a contradiction of the argument for Jenner’s gender redefinition. The notion that gender is completely fluid – that a man can become a woman and a woman can become a man – rests on the redefinition of maleness and femaleness into nothingness. The media insist that everyone use female pronouns to describe Jenner, who still has male genitalia, male genetics, and male brain structures. Presumably the media would feel the same even had Jenner not had massive facial reconstruction surgery or even hormone therapy…
In other words, gender does not exist apart from a society that defines it, in the view of the media and the left. Gender, it turns out, is all in one’s head, and therefore can be shifted at will.
Yet the photo of Jenner gives the lie to that notion. The photo is deliberately constructed to play off traditional notions of female beauty. The photo is a deliberate takeoff on the cheesecake photos of the 1950s. It’s intended not just to make Jenner into a woman, but a sexy woman ready to engage — hence the use of lingerie, even though Jenner has already said he doesn’t know whether he will choose to have sex with men or women or both or neither (another bizarrely accepted notion from the same folks who say that sexual orientation is inborn and never chosen). The picture does not depict the new Jenner in all his gender-fluid glory – it doesn’t show Jenner’s male crotch-bulge, or Jenner’s broad Olympic-winning physique (Jenner’s arms are conveniently placed behind the back, minimizing the arms and shoulders of the former gold medal-winner).
It turns out that when a pro-transgenderism magazine wants to convey femininity and femaleness, it falls back on all the same gender stereotypes Jenner is supposedly overcoming.
[D]oes anyone think the body modification part of this story is not the disturbed actions of people suffering from serious mental illness? And this raises other troublesome questions: Is wanting to cut off certain essential body parts reasonable, while wanting to cut off others isn’t? Is self-mutilation something that we ought to hail as courageous and brave, but cutting yourself as a teenager problematic? Cutting your genitalia is good, but cutting off your hand isn’t?…
The Caitlyn Jenner photos the other day have sparked all sorts of conversation about the depiction of trans people – particularly older men who now want to be viewed and depicted as much younger, attractive women (for what it’s worth, my primary reaction to the Jenner photos is that I prefer my propaganda to be more subtle – this is as obvious as setting Julie Andrews on fire, as John Cleese used to say). Jenner has just tried to look beautiful, in the way many people on magazine covers do. But there is no amount of Photoshop that will put someone’s hand back on their body or reattach a severed leg… or anything else. When it comes to self-butchery, where’s the line between sane and insane?…
As Ayn Rand wrote, “The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other — until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.”
This is not a news story. This is not heroism. If you look beyond the pretty dress and pristine makeup Jenner wore on the cover of Vanity Fair a la Jessica Lange back when, and strip him of the headline, he is a man who thought he wanted to be more like a woman, in a fantastical sense, and so he bought himself breasts and some plump lips.
How does this not sound absurd? What does it say about us that it doesn’t? How are we, as post-modern, educated, law-abiding Americans, a world superpower, applauding this circus stunt?…
When a person starts to willingly and purposely defy natural laws that define him, he lies outside the law, and so do his actions. Where does it end? Who and what define a person as male, female, person, or non-person?
Doesn’t anyone else find it strange that all major news outlets, as if in a giant collaborative effort—ESPN, CNN, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, NPR—applaud and accept this effort? Yet it makes strange sense. These people grew up in a culture and education system immersed in the ideology of moral relativism: man is the measure of all things. Like heartburn after hot wings, this is what happens—and what is widely accepted and celebrated—when moral relativism is taught de jure, when it should at the least be presented de facto.
[I]f an alcoholic told you that his authentic self was to drink, you would not encourage that. If a person told you his authentic self was to be attracted to small boys, you would not encourage that. If a person told you that his authentic self was to mutilate his body, you would not encourage that.
When a sixty-five year old former Olympian tells you that he has decided after all these years that he is a she and his new name is going to be one fashionable among 17 year old girls and his own son’s girlfriend, you’re first reaction should not be to congratulate the man on finally finding his “authentic self”, but steering him to therapy.
This is nuts and oh by the way Bruce Jenner still has his. An authentic self does not seek surgery and hormone therapy.
He is not a she. It is not bigotted to point that out. It is the reality. We need to show Bruce Jenner compassion for his mental issues, not celebrate those issues. But we live in a society where up is down, bad is good, and normal is so passé.
We should not be celebrating this, we should not be lionizing this, we should not be encouraging this. These people have a very serious problem, and they need treatment. They need help, not encouragement. I read the story and I shared it with you here on the program. I’ll tell you what prompted it was my observation that the next push point for the left was going to be transgender people because the gay rights movement had shown such success, had borne such fruit.
Gay marriage is now accepted, it seems, coast to coast, north to south. The gay rights issue is basically no longer a big fight. The Millennial generation particularly embraces gay rights, and so it’s not really a big deal. But the people involved have to have a fight, they have to have a demon. They have to have something they’re pushing against. So transgender people became the new gay people. Now, transgenders are even a smaller percentage of the population than homosexuals are. The homosexual population the country is 2%, at most.
Not all of them are activists. You know, not all of them are politically active. Not all of them get involved in public demonstrations or any of that. The transgender population is even smaller than that. So it became the new push point, if you will, against the so-called dominant culture or what we now know is an attack on mainstream Christianity…
There’s an effort to redefine what “normal” is, because if society has norms, well, not everybody’s in ’em, and if you’re not in the norms, then you are discriminated against and you might be psychologically impacted by this in a negative way. You might be sad, depressed or whatever, and it’s America’s fault, and society’s fault for doing this to you because of these norms. These norms are discriminatory, and they’re rooted in a false, phony morality, you know, all of this. So all of this represents an attack on that to the point now that these old norms, such as marriage, are now considered negative things or oddball things themselves.