I was afraid that the Bruce Jenner interview on 20/20 would be a publicity stunt, but it’s not. This is for real, and it’s so important — I’m serious. In this quick take, my response to the groundbreaking special while watching it on ABC.
June 2, 2015
This is in the running for the most informed thing about gender and trans issues that has ever aired on network TV. Bruce is so brave, and Diane Sawyer is doing an amazing job. This is a breakthrough for transgender acceptance.
It’s all in how it’s presented. Like for example, “Being transgender is not a mental illness,” narrated as the fact that it is. Sounds obvious to us, but maybe not to millions of people watching. ABC News is breaking down the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity in a clearly stated way that can’t really be challenged, isn’t political, and encourages people to be compassionate.
I think this special will make a wide audience ‘get it’. There’s no ‘debate’ here, just empathy… and facts. I’m so hopeful this will bring real progress.
Update: It’s heartening to see people responding to Caitlyn Jenner with respect and kindness. The progress I was looking for is on its way here.
But to those who aren’t doing so well: I hope that you’ll come to understand that you can’t really “disagree” with someone else’s identity. In this case, she is Caitlyn, whether you think she is or not. There’s nothing for you to argue.
What if somebody came up to you and refused to call you by your name, insisted you were a different gender, and quizzed you about your genitals? You would think they’re insane. Well, take a look in the mirror. [Tumblr]