Sex Changes and More – Oh My!
Why the enormous hubbub over Bruce Jenner undergoing sex-change surgery? For sure, he/she is a media star and has been for years, and this story hits all the journo-trash buttons of fame, money, and sex. But there’s more to it than that.
You have to wonder at the vitriol people expend over something like this. In the case of the (now) Ms. Jenner, hardly any of the people expounding their rage have ever met her, or Bruce formerly, and never will. Their lives will never interact in any way, other than in various TV reality shows which nobody is forced to watch. There is more going on here.
Can it be that people are so unsure of their own sexual identity that they’re forced to lash out at anyone who does anything at all related to the topic? I’ve noticed over the years that the most virulent anti-gay propagandists (see Dennis Hastert) usually turn out to be deeply closeted gay people, or pedophiles. Not the same thing, by the way.
I doubt that is the connection here, but there be a causal rational that is somehow related. There is no logical reason to expend this much hate on someone you do not know, have never spoken with, and will never meet.
None of this is new. Back in the 1960’s one of my early motorcycle heroes was Mike Duff, who finished 2nd in the world championship 250cc class in 1965, and had a successful racing career for quite some time. Years later he was one of the first people of any fame who underwent sex change therapy, becoming Michelle Duff. If Bruce Jenner receives hate mail now, imagine what it was like to be Mike Duff three decades ago. Of course, he did not have to deal with the Internet then.
Have you ever received a piece of hate mail from someone in another state who has never met you and is referring to incidents they do not understand with “facts” that are simply not there? I have, and it is a very uncomfortable experience that sticks with you for quite a while. It is bewildering to be hated by people you do not know when you have no chance of defending yourself.
Sex change therapy, which goes by many names, is not new. In fact, it is not all that rare. The distinction here is that of a public person who chooses to do this in a public way with a photo shoot in Vanity Fair by the most famous photographer of our time, and a reality show to follow.
Some will say he is doing this for publicity and money, but that is naïve at best. His whole life has been about publicity since his days as an Olympic Decathlon Champion. Thanks to a questionable decision of who to marry, everything he or she does has been and will be documented on all sides by all forms of media for the foreseeable future. There is no escape. What he is doing is an attempt to get in front of the media coverage by making everything public. I doubt the money is a factor, as it cannot possibly be needed.
I think he has undergone a long and painful journey for the same reasons others do – it is this or living a life that is a lie. Sometimes the hell you select is better than the hell you’ve been saddled with.
The former Bruce Jenner is one of the most courageous people in this country today, and I wish her well. She understands the road she has taken, and most of the rest of us cannot even conceive of the start of the journey.
It does seem unfair in a way. When Bruce Jenner won the decathlon event at the Olympics he was heralded as the best athlete in the world, and surely one of the most handsome of all men. Almost 40 years later he emerges as a much older woman, but a woman far more attractive than most of a similar age. Most of us never get to experience what it is to be truly gorgeous in the eyes of others as either a man or a woman, and he/she gets to experience both!
That’s the only thing to complain about, and that with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
David Preston Copyright 2015