Caitlyn Jenner Kicks Off Pride Month With A Bang

“[O]ur journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”
President Barack Obama’s Pride Month Proclamation, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair Fair Use

Caitlyn Jenner
Vanity Fair
Fair Use

One thing is for sure, the Jenner-Kardashian clan are synonymous with masters of the media. The former Olympian and Decathlon Champ in particular captured this when she said to Diane Sawyer during their superb interview two months ago (paraphrased), “All along, I’ve been the one in the family who actually had a story.” Today, she appeared in a Vanity Fair magazine cover story; next month ESPN is awarding her the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during The ESPYs ceremony.

The number of trans people is reportedly low or not, depending on where you look, but these statistics may be grossly underestimated because of the reluctant to be counted. Trans people nonetheless have completely and rapidly captured the world’s attention in what seems like a very short time. Today, trans peoples stand on the shoulders of long-ago activists and decades of tireless, ongoing education and advocacy which is now transforming the world’s tableau and our own knowledge of sexuality, gender, and what it means to be human.

Less than a decade ago, the most dangerous place for a trans person was standing next to another trans person. For many, after transition, with or without sexual reassignment surgery, there had to be a bus or plane out of town to settle and start over in a place where no one knew their name, their history, or their story. If these people ever came out as trans the statistics could easily double or triple. Trans activists are breaking through this silence and bringing this history and their stories into the sunlight. Unafraid, and with grace.

VenusPlusX and its founders, myself and Dan Massey (1942-2012), have long held a two-pronged belief that still guides our family’s activism. First, the T’s in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) are by nature our most vulnerable component, therefore their protection must be paramount in everything. Although we have a long way to go, we are finally taking steps to stamp out trans-phobia, starting with our so-called LGBT organizations and their boards of directors. This is providing more space for national trans advocacy and programs. All of this work benefits the rest of the world in rectifying society’s shortcomings. Second, trans people, again by nature, are our leaders, (hu)mankind’s leaders in teaching us about acceptance and love for they have gone to the edges of the grand universe in search of truth and peace of mind and they return with great knowledge about the safe conduct of human beings. For all their fear mongering, the right-wingnuts are most afraid of trans people, and this is (or should be) why. Trans leaders are destined to transform society and bring about, among other things, the end of the harmful gender binary and the beginning of the post-gender age, a much better place.

Barack Obama was the first U.S. President to speak of trans people, and his proclamation of Pride Month this year is the first time he has spoken of the barriers, discrimination, bullying, and the “unique challenges faced by sexual and gender minorities — especially transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.” Many people have laid the foundation for Jenner’s moment, such as Caitlyn Manning, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, and Jill Soloway who is responsible for bringing us the groundbreaking Transparent, herself a daughter of a trans woman. But because of Jenner’s well-crafted media roll-out of her own transition, we can expect a real quickening in how we conduct ourselves and get to that better world we all crave.

Ruby Corado recently interviewed for PBS Newshour about her new transitional housing for LGBT youths

Ruby Corado recently interviewed for PBS Newshour about her new transitional housing for LGBT youths

Lane Hudson Fair Use

Lane Hudson
Fair Use

Near and dear to my heart, is Ruby Corado and the organization she founded, Casa Ruby. Here is someone who works seven days a week, unafraid and with so much grace. Casa Ruby thrives as a real-world example of strides equal to what Jenner has accomplished by becoming a national model of community service. Tomorrow, Casa Ruby celebrates its 3rd Anniversary Gala and awards ceremony. This year, its annual Dan Massey Ally Award went to Dr. Ted Eytan, and this year the honor goes to DC activist Lane Hudson.

Ruby says, it’s “because of [Lane’s] outstanding support as an ally, all year, non-stop. He has not only raised thousands of dollars for Casa Ruby by encouraging his friends and social networks [such as] the Stonewall Darts, to choose Casa Ruby as their charity but he has been instrumental in advocating for the needs of our clients by demanding answers from decision makers on why LGBT people face so many disparities in this city.”

Congratulations, Lane, and I salute all of you for the important work you are doing. Now we have Caitlyn Jenner to help.

 

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Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner is co-founder of VenusPlusX, and writes frequently on global sexual freedom, American fundamentalists exporting hate and homophobia, and grassroots activism.
Alison Gardner