At the age of sixty-five my name will also be a household one. At the age of sixty-five I, like Bruce Jenner will have achieved an accomplishment that will be note-worthy. Stick around 😉 But Friday was his night, so let’s address this.
I’m a sometimes-voyeur into the oft-embarrassing shenanigans of the Kardashians; at times I need to keep my eyes active while allowing my brain to shut-down. Kim and the gang allow for that in spades! I have to admit however, that on Friday I divorced all prior opinions (okay, most) of BJ (sigh…. Bruce Jenner people, not that other BJ!) and hit ‘play’ on my DVR. What I witnessed made me smile – as opposed to the incredulous laughter I generally reserve for the likes of the foolishness that is Hollywood in general and the KKK in particular (that be the Koo-Koo-Kardashians. Yes, feel free to use that; I coined it).
Let me start by saying that finally I find that the almost grotesque comical mask-of-a-face that BJ has carried around for years has in my opinion, fallen away. Don’t know ‘bout yall, but I have always thought him to be very odd-looking; almost as if his face were some sort of carnival mask – composed of bits and pieces that never quite complimented each other and that seemed to be borrowed from the faces of myriad other people. Now I understand that I was spot-on in my analysis of its mask-like quality, but so far off the mark with regard to the meaning/reason.
So, as I looked at BJ (cannot wait for his permission to begin referring to him as her) I could not help but to realize that for the first time, we were watching someone able to breathe; someone that was so very relieved to be able to admit to their gender identity… finally. To me, BJ was beautiful that night. I appreciated every lip curl, every tilt of the head, every spontaneous burst of laughter (that sounded like a woman’s), every tear, every strand of that beautiful hair, the voice. I truly enjoyed watching… and listening.
Our world needs bravery; and yes, our world needs for those with celebrity (or even notoriety) to stand up and lend their visibility, strength, passion and influence to the causes, the movements and the fights that matter. People like you and me, those of us with the hope for change, with the determination to live in a world that does better because it can, should absolutely continue on to do what we can – speak, write, sing – because in our ways, we too make a difference. But those with the cameras spotlighted on them, those that at times dominate our living rooms and our social media feeds can and should take any and every opportunity to rise up to make an impact.
Our gay, lesbian and transgender communities need champions. They need those brave enough, strong enough, visible enough, authentic enough, bold enough and fed-up enough to stand up and say, “Enough!” The pockets in our world that still fall victim to racism, segregation, discrimination, violence and annihilation need champions. For a man like BJ with so much – worldwide recognition and adoration for his athletic ability, the resulting fame and good fortune, beautiful wives, equally stunning children, exotic travels, grand homes and money – to sit down and admit that despite all of that the one thing he wished he had had was the freedom to be herself, gives credence, legitimacy and strength to so many others. I tip my hat in honor.
You see, every morning that I wake up, I not only know who I am, but what I look like and what I feel like line up. There is never a moment that I am afraid or ashamed to step outside, live and celebrate myself. Any given day I give myself and am allowed the freedom to dress any which way I feel – suits or dresses, heels or… who am I kidding? Never flats! – and my identity is never questioned (my fashion sense may be; but never my identity). Every morning I wake up I take my confidence and comfort in myself for granted; I am me. But, the more I learn about those in our transgender communities, the more I hear and read about the beatings and the killings, is the more I begin to understand and to mourn their loss of my certainty.
So, I too will join my (little) voice in bringing about the change that is necessary to not only protect their lives, but in allowing them the freedom and the space to breathe. As with any discrimination, I still wonder what drives people to hate. I wonder what the hell difference it makes to anyone else’s life what someone else does with theirs? How does who you choose to love and how you dress affect me? Unless you’re sleeping with my partner or stealing clothing from my closets, how else is it any of my damned business?! But what truly worries me is that we are not stopping at mouthing off; no, so many are resorting to fatal violence to reflect their ignorance and hate. Oh, and fear. We all need to stop being a collective nation of fear. We need to educate ourselves and implement other ways to express our confusion, dislike and even our disdain. You see, it is absolutely okay to not agree with those who sleep with others of the same sex, it is okay to scoff at those that dress up in the garb of the opposite sex, it is okay (but still ignorant) to think that white should only be with white and black people – well, if we absolutely have to get loved, well, we had better only look at others with the same unfortunate skin color! Yes, you are absolutely entitled to your opinions on any of these or similar matters. You are even entitled to share them with the other equally ignorant and narrow-minded people of whom unfortunately there are many. But what you are not entitled to do is to physically hurt, harm or kill!
Listen, I gotta go – if I’m to make good on my claim to be just as impressive at sixty-five, I gotta go hit some books J I wish you all a day of peace and a life lacking in judgment. I ask that each of us take a moment to educate ourselves on the things that bother, confuse and especially disgust us. I pray that in our lifetime we get to experience less ignorant rejection and more acceptance. I hope that we all get the strength to turn our collective backs on those that seek to harm and destroy out of their own narrow-mindedness. I lend my support, my strength, my voice, my love, my laughter, my peace, my prayers, my words, my education, my dedication to everyone looking for their way. I am proud of you all!
“Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with. Gender identity is who you go to bed as…”