Quotes of the day

Caitlyn Jenner can make Olympic history again — the doors to the Hall of Fame are swinging wide open for her to enter … all she has to do is ask.

Caitlyn was inducted into the H.O.F. back in 1986 thanks to her legendary gold medal in the 1976 Olympic decathlon. But, of course … Bruce is the name attached to that honor. At least for now.

Patrick Sandusky, spokesperson for the US Olympic Committee, tells TMZ they would gladly update the name to Caitlyn. He says if she files a formal request, the Committee would review it,  and presto — bye bye Bruce, hello Caitlyn.


Across social media, blogs and talk radio this week, conservatives painted an apocalyptic view of America. They said they felt frustrated and increasingly isolated by the country’s sudden recognition and even embrace of transgender people. They see it as immoral and foreign. They drew comparisons to two grimly futuristic novels, George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”

“People feel like they’re under siege and that the terms of the debate are now you either applaud it or you’re a bigot,” said William J. Bennett, education secretary in the Reagan administration. “It’s like American culture is being dragged kicking and screaming not only toward acceptance but approval.”…

If Republicans don’t speak out against Jenner, “you might as well just forfeit the 2016 election now,” Steve Deace, a syndicated talk radio host based in Iowa, said in an interview.

“If we’re not going to defend as a party basic principles of male and female, that life is sacred because it comes from God, then you’re going to lose the vast majority of people who’ve joined that party,” Deace said.


The root of the conservative Jenner-angst:  As recently as 2004, conservatives could take a conservative position on LGBT rights — specifically, arguing for officially defining marriage as between a man and a woman — and scare Democrats into their bunkers. In 2015, their candidates for president were unhappy about answering any questions about sexuality or gender. And the transgender rights movement appeared to be making 99.7 percent of the population change its behavior to make 0.3 percent of the population comfortable. Maybe the victory of the gay rights movement was inevitable, given that most people knew a gay person; were their children going to be told that gender was mutable, based on the experience of some celebrities, and the coverage of the mainstream media?…

So far, the calls for Republican candidates to take a bolder stance against transgender rights have been limited. The Obama administration’s many extensions of those rights, though — everything from loosening the ban on transgender people in the military to reinterpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — will present the next Republican president with a choice. Would he do what some conservative Republican governors have done already? Would he unwind those new protections, and refuse to let the norms of “queer studies at Oberlin” become the norms for a whole country?

“I suspect that a lot of Americans feel this way: Caitlyn Jenner was born a male, and remains biologically male,” argued Guy Benson. “That’s empiricism. That’s science. But she has decided to transition to a female identity, and even if it’s tough for a lot of us to fully understand, her decision should be respected and she should treated with dignity and humanity. How many thought crimes did that sentence betray, I wonder?”


Much of conservatism is based on the notion that society is fragile. And if we start tinkering with some fundamental pillars — redefining marriage, here, redefining gender, there — it could have dire, if long-term, unintended consequences.

Again, though, the cultural conservative has a real problem here. First, short-term problems always feel more real than long-term ones; the urgent almost always overcomes the important. Second, what if you simply don’t believe these rather esoteric long-term “doomsday” warnings will ever manifest? What if you believe that freedom and prosperity are a given, and that the notion that allowing two people who love each other to marry could somehow bring about the second coming of the fall of the Roman Empire is absurd?…

But there is yet another problem. Just as fiscal conservatives who worry about the long-term devastating effects of deficit spending and the welfare state must confront the problem of concentrated benefits versus disperse costs (the people being taxed don’t care that much, since they’re only chipping in a few cents each; the people getting the benefits care deeply), culture warriors face a similar problem.

Caitlyn Jenner’s benefit is concentrated — personalized (to Jenner). But the potential damage (maybe to our grand children’s generation?) is disperse and (in the minds of many) hypothetical. There’s also the problem of what’s called hyperbolic discounting — which means that consequences that won’t occur until a later time are granted less weight than immediate ones.


While conservatives had their own list of complaints about this national celebration, the more intriguing ones came from the left. For instance, many people criticized the Vanity Fair cover of Jenner as a pinup. “One step forward for Caitlyn Jenner, one step back for womankind,” Eric Sasson complained in The New Republic. “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,” he explained…

Moreover, there’s something gloriously perverse in celebrating someone’s courage to boldly smash sexual categories and then, in the same breath, castigating them for reinforcing gender stereotypes. If men are to be free to become women, surely they get to decide what kind of women they want to be. The first word in Vanity Fair is, after all, “vanity.” The Sports Illustrated swimsuit models seem very happy to be paid lots of money to be objectified by the male gaze. Who am I to judge?…

On a recent MSNBC panel celebrating the “Jenner Effect,” The Nation’s Michelle Goldberg (no relation), noted that many young feminists “no longer want to use the word ‘woman’ in relation to abortion because it excludes trans men.” There’s a lot of “conceptual murk to clear away,” she added with admirable understatement, “but among younger people that I’ve talked to, it almost seems amazing to them that anybody would question the need to have gender-neutral language.”…

Some students, she explained, would ask, “What about women who are male?”


One can view Caitlyn’s positive, wall-to-wall, quasi-obsessive cultural reception as a welcome sign—an indicator that most Americans, despite our nails-on-the-chalkboard, marathon culture wars, just want to be kind, supportive, and accepting. For most people, this is certainly true. Why should anyone care about someone else’s personal decisions? What difference does it make? These questions, however, are based on the assumption that “live and let live” is a two-way street. Unfortunately, for most hard-core transgender supporters, that’s just not the case: In their world, we all must agree. Because of this, many people are simply too scared to say what they really think.

Caitlyn, of course, is not really a woman. Mr. Jenner has not even shed his essential lower male infrastructure, let alone his pesky, clinging XY chromosomes. In this sense, he’s actually more of a proverbial Gender Centaur, or even a proverbial Gender Mullet, than anything else. This might be uncomfortable, but it is the truth. It certainly doesn’t lessen Jenner’s worth as a human being or as a child of God. Yet, strangely, if you calmly note this simple scientific fact, certain people will get very, very upset…

This insistent squelching of the freedom of thought, and of simple facts, is remarkable. It’s also remarkably unscientific. But in this sense, the Caitlyn Jenner media adoration explosion becomes illuminating, as it reveals an eternal truth about human beings: We can be incredibly intelligent and incredibly moronic at the exact same time, and are desperate for certainty in an uncertain world.


The photo is indeed iconic. And not just in the shallow celeb meaning of that word. It’s iconic in the traditional sense, too, in that it’s being venerated as an actual icon, a devotional image of an apparently holy human. It’s an image we’re all expected to bow down to, whose essential truth we must imbibe; an image you question or ridicule at your peril, with those who refuse to genuflect before it facing excommunication from polite society. Yesterday’s Jennermania confirms how weirdly authoritarian, even idolatrous, trans politics has become

The worship of Caitlyn, and the hectoring of anyone who refuses to scrape before her icon, has graphically exposed the intolerant edge to trans thinking. The insistence that we not only refer to Bruce/Caitlyn as ‘she’ but also project this backwards – recognising, in the words of the Guardian, that she has ‘always been a woman’ – is borderline Orwellian. It’s a rewriting of history, a memory-holing of old inconvenient facts. Strikingly, the Guardian writer says people like Bruce/Caitlyn have ‘always been women… even when they were “fathering” children’. Notice it’s the ‘fathering’ bit that is in scare quotes, suggesting it wasn’t real, while the description of Bruce as a woman is treated as an incontestable truth. War is peace, freedom is slavery, man is woman.

This trans Orwellianism is increasingly finding expression in the law itself. In Ireland last year, a trans woman won the right to have her sex changed to female on her actual birth certificate. This is alarming. The midwife who said ‘This is a boy’ when this trans woman was born was telling the truth, and that truth was recorded on a public document. No matter — truth and history are putty in the hands of the trans lobby. Just as Big Brother thinks it can force people to accept that 2 + 2 = 5, so trans activists want us to chant: ‘Bruce Jenner is a woman and has always been a woman, even when she was producing sperm, impregnating women, and winning gold medals in men’s sports.’ And the small matter of Bruce’s birth certificate, his proven paternity of children? Forget all that; shove it down the memory hole.


For one thing, and despite what a number of people appear to believe, it’s not especially “brave.” Or at least no more so than any celebrity publicizing personal tribulations in order to make money. Is it courageous when an actress who has just emerged from rehab after nearly killing herself with drinking and drugs gives an exclusive interview to a TV news magazine in the hopes of generating buzz about an upcoming movie release? Nah, it’s just PR, ad copy in another form.

That’s exactly what Jenner is giving us — and she’s doing it masterfully, playing off America’s addiction to what Tocqueville called the “perpetual utterance of self-applause.” We love to feel good about ourselves. Conservatives satisfy the craving with gratuitous demonstrations of military prowess and unapologetic expressions of American exceptionalism. Liberals get it from grandiloquent displays of affirmation for the outsider — an affirmation that just so happens to demonstrate the affirming liberal’s own moral superiority.

Gays and lesbians have been the outsiders of choice for a couple of decades. But now, as they finally merge with the mainstream, the transgendered look to be the next marginalized group in line for liberal protection from harm and defense against judgment and exclusion. And here comes Caitlyn, right on cue, ready and eager to pose as a pin-up poster girl for the cause. That her image will also serve to advance her career in exhibitionist television isn’t so much a coincidence as the essence of what we’ve all experienced this week: the thoroughgoing commodification of one person’s struggle with gender identity.


What Jenner nor the media has not talked about is that 62.7 percent of those who have the desire to change genders suffer from a variety of other psychological and psychiatric disorders that haven’t been diagnosed and therefore haven’t been treated. The other disorders range from depression and anxiety to bipolar, dissociative, personality, and obsessive-compulsive disorders and narcissism…

Those who think gender reassignment is a cure for their depression, anxiety, and gender distress need to be warned. I get hundreds of emails from visitors to my web site, www.sexchangeregret.com—letters from regretters and their wives, parents, brothers, and sisters who tell me how their lives and the lives of their families are completely broken apart as a result of a family member who wants to, or has already, changed genders. All because they did not properly diagnose an existing psychological disorder before undergoing the drastic step of gender change…

My concern is that the extravagant public adulation of Jenner will encourage others to seek out gender-change therapists for the wrong reasons. Many will see the excitement Jenner is enjoying and think they can emulate his life. Unfortunately, gender-change surgery is serious business. The surgery is not reversible. When Snoopy is gone, he’s gone. The toll on the rest of the family is also serious, especially if children are involved. Their young lives can be shaken with a catastrophic trauma not of their own making.


Caitlyn taught me to be bold. Jesus was bold enough to overturn tables at his father’s temple, he was bold enough to stand up to the religious leaders of his day and let them know they had it backwards. In the Bible, we see the oppressed overcome the oppressor and the meek become strong. That is the core of the Jesus I know. Jesus came to eat with the people no one would be seen with, to turn the tax collector into an honest man. He came to transform the world.

Caitlyn showed me that life is a journey with many twists and turns. Look back at this person’s story — a major Olympic athlete on the cover of a Wheaties box and a reality-TV star on one of the most bizarre shows about a family on the air. I will tell you that in my limited time in the Jenner/Kardashian home, Caitlyn was the most grounded and sensible person there. Would she claim to know Christ now? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m sure if I asked, she would give me an answer more fully thought out than one I could muster for myself.

What’s more pressing to me is how the church (my tribe) will respond to Caitlyn. The LGBTQ people I know are loving, accepting, beautiful people, and many of them have been so hurt by their church communities that they have left the faith.

Jesus wasn’t one to turn away from those the world had labeled broken. He was the one who would walk toward them with open arms.


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