July 17, 2015

Joely Mitchell


I’ve kept up with the Kardashians for a long time and have always held a soft spot for the patriarch of the infamous family, Bruce Jenner. I never expected that he would eventually become one of the most inspirational people in my life, but when she became Caitlyn, she did just that.

On Wednesday night, Caitlyn was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs. 7.7 million people tuned in to the broadcast and witnessed her open up about the most difficult experience of her life – transitioning from a man to a woman. She spoke passionately about the cause she wants to dedicate the rest of her life to – acceptance and understanding of people’s differences.

“If you want to call me names, make jokes and doubt my intentions, go ahead because the reality is I can take it. But for thousands of kids out there coming to terms with the reality of who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it,” she said.

“Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect.”

The video of Caitlyn’s speech went viral and transgender issues were put back on the agenda.

The self sacrifice Caitlyn demonstrated opening up about her personal struggles at such a public forum (there’s no way in hell I’d be able to string a sentence together on that stage in front of that many people) was inspirational. It was courageous.

It seems that not everyone agrees.

Today I saw some photos in my Facebook news feed that were incredibly disappointing. One was a photo comparing Caitlyn reading her speech to a soldier fighting in battle. The photo is below. Courtesy: Facebook.


Sorry, what?

This is complete and utter ignorance disguised as un-biased opinion. There is absolutely no denying that soldiers are courageous, but HECK let’s not undermine how important the discussion Caitlyn inspires is. Our society has become so complex, there are important issues everywhere. There are inspirational people in all walks of life. Caitlyn Jenner is one of them.

The worst part isn’t even that the photo was created, it was that almost 80,000 people had liked and supported the post, including some of my Facebook friends. It seems to me that we have a few keyboard warriors on our hands and unfortunately the opinions they’re spreading derive from a lack of education and a closed minded view of the world.

Alright, let’s talk about courage. I would like to challenge one of those 80,000 people to put themselves in Caitlyn’s shoes for just one second.

Caitlyn is 65 years old. For those 60+ years, she pretended to be happy despite dealing with an internal struggle. She was born a man, but inside felt like a woman. This, to me, is absolutely unfathomable. And what’s worse is that she had to lead this life in the public eye. When she finally decided to make the transition, this was also done in the public eye. Everyone wanted to know what was going on in Jenner’s life.

Earlier this year, our questions were answered. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Caitlyn confirmed what a lot of people had begun to speculate, that she was transgender. Since the interview, Caitlyn completed her transition, and you know what, she looks totally hot!

But that’s not all. Caitlyn wants to use her presence in the public eye to do good for the world and her speech on Wednesday couldn’t be a better example of that.

To me, that is the epitome of courage. I’m not trying to undermine the courageousness of anyone else in the world – soldiers, police officers, firefighters, doctors, and any other person worthy of the title, I’m sure there are plenty. To say that one person, or one group of people is courageous does not mean that no one else can be described the same way. It’s certainly not a competition.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Caitlyn is courageous. She has dedicated her life to an important cause – spreading awareness, inspiring conversation and assuring people that it’s okay to be different. Thanks to Caitlyn, everyone now knows a transgender person.

If Caitlyn saves the life of just one transgender person, or any person that feels that society won’t accept them for who they are, then she is a hero.

Khloe has always been my number one Kardashian, but I think I’ve just found a new favourite.

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