I’ve avoided watching Caitlyn Jenner’s speech from the ESPYS. Not because I don’t see it as important but I feel overwhelmed by the constant coverage in blogs, magazines, radio and television. On one hand I am glad to see a conversation going on; on the other, I fear it has become one dimensional.
I’m happy Caitlyn is getting to live life in the real world. To be seen and heard is a powerful validation of ones identity. However. Her’s is not the only story nor is it one common among the trans* community and to hold her up as a poster child for an entire population is to marginalize those who do not meet the publics expectations. (Expectations formed in large part by what they see and hear through a media which has long sought unattainable standards for both men and women.)
I wonder if the conversation would be the same had she not only been a long standing image in reality television and thus guaranteed to draw in eyes, ears, and clicks but if she did not meet the standards of femininity as defined by this same media?
My question now is; what about all of the others? The ones who will never grace a stage or the cover of a magazine? What about the ones who have either slipped or been pushed through the cracks, left to fend for themselves? Those who have sacrificed so much, suffered so much loss, who tread our streets in fear?
I am glad to see a conversation has been started, but we have not heard the whole story, not talked about the reality so many live in every hour of every day.
I don’t want to see their voices, their experiences, their lives drowned out, smothered by an easier to digest narrative.