Caitlyn Jenner Takes Transsexuality Into the Mainstream
Before the year 2015, the Kardashian family was known primarily for bling-bling, celebrity parties and their wealthy, careless life. This was all before the twitter account of Caitlyn Jenner, the sporting legend formally known as Bruce Jenner, topped 1 million followers faster than the account of President Barack Obama.
Caitlyn Jenner is the world's most famous transsexual. The celebrities we can relate to are pushing the masses to think about transgender issues.
Current discussions of liberal rights are beginning to mean that sexual minorities are a recognized part of normal life in Western countries. Little by little, public conversations are questioning whether we separate gender into only two categories - men and women. Even though many people have heard of the term “transsexuality”, only a few know what it really means. 'Transsexual' refers to a person whose own experience of their gender does not meet with the gender they were born into. He or she may choose to use hormones and/or surgery to change their birth gender, or they may choose not to. So, transsexuality is much more than skin deep.
Unisex-bathroom; an action of society
Caitlyn Jenner's public coming-out-of-the-closet is receiving a lot of praise, but it is also creating a lot of anger. Even now, transsexuals have to fight for their rights everywhere in the world. Activists and organizations are anxiously trying to persuade lawmakers to create possibilities for legal gender change - with varying success. Many countries hold tight to the impression that it's what's between your legs that determines your gender.
The battle is ongoing but progress is being made and many countries have already improved their equality. Unisex-bathrooms have been upgraded for the safety of transsexuals, Nordic daycares are moving into gender-neutral education and in Swedish the word “hen” has risen up next to gender-specific pronouns.
Transsexuals and their right to exist
Transsexuals continuously face prejudices and discrimination. Based on American research, 33% of trans-women have been victims of violence and almost 40% have lost their jobs because of their gender.
The fame of Jenner has proven to be an unprecedented ice breaker for discussions on how to acknowledge transsexuals and their rights. Hopefully in the future it will be self-evident that everyone, not just Caitlyn Jenner, has the right to walk outside as themselves.
How to talk about transsexualism:
Behave. You should never come to conclusions about gender based on looks. It is impolite to ask private questions of anyone you don´t know, for example about their genitals or bedroom behaviour. Naturally, this goes for transsexuals as well.
Who to refer to? Incorporating the HLBTIQ-terminology can be challenging for a beginner. Transsexual is a neutral concept. When getting to know someone, it´s always worth asking how the person wants him or herself to be called. A woman, a man, something else? Check the correct word, especially with languages that have gender specific pronouns.
Don´t hesitate to get to know people. I am Caitlyn, a reality-show about Caitlyn Jenner, and fictive drama Orange Is The New Black are both drawing attention to this subject. Youtube stars Skylar Kergial and Zinnia Jones are creating great educational material on their videos, as well as model Isis King (@msisisking) and book-activist Leo Sheng (@iLeoSheng) who are each documenting their lives as transsexuals.
This article has been checked by Roh Petas, equality-educator, Ekvalita Ab.
Push: Many countries hold tight to the impression that its what's between your legs that determines your gender.
Social Media Push: #CaitlynJenner is the world´s most famous transsexual. How to open the conversation on transsexuality.