Being transgender is not a choice- Wearing a fake persona is.
Vanity Fair recently announced that they will be releasing a photo spread in their July issue of Caitlyn Jenner — formerly known as Bruce Jenner — the 1976 Olympic gold medalist. The gorgeous cover photo, photographed by Annie Leibovitz who is best known for her photos of rock stars and artist types, shows Bruce in his new persona as Caitlyn.
In transitioning from male to female, Caitlyn reveals to Vanity Fair that winning the gold medal "was a good day, but the last couple of days were better ... This shoot was about my life and who I am as a person. It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you a ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life.”
On March 15th Caitlyn underwent a 10 hour facial feminization surgery. She had anxiety after the surgery and received counseling from the Los Angeles Gender Center. Anxiety is normal in cases where drastic reconstruction happens. Although Jenner hasn't had genital surgery yet, and hasn't revealed if she will in the future, counseling by a sex therapist who is a gender reassignment expert will be necessary both before and after surgery to support Caitlyn through the process.
Anna Baxter, a licensed counselor in Atlanta Georgia, not only works with transgender men and women in transition but has a transgender partner as well. I asked her what else Caitlyn could expect in the transition process.
Ms. Baxter responded “Caitlyn has already completed the majority of her transition including HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), multiple facial reconstructive surgeries and breast augmentation. Shes had extensive conversations with her closest friends, family and business team. By now, anyone who was going to disown her for being transgender would've done it. Hopefully, Caitlyn won’t lose the love and care from her ex-wives and children as her docu-series airs in the near future to detail the process. Many transgender people lose important relationships that are vital in their lives to confusion, fear and even hate.”
Anna is currently partnered with a transgender person and says her greatest challenge is “remaining patient while they face the intrinsic bias of a medical field, government and social climate that doesn’t understand or accept transgenderism.”
The struggles that her partner faces are different than Caitlyn’s. Caitlyn Jenner has financial security and a family that is supportive of her choices. Anna’s partner, who identifies as male, often struggles financially and socially despite how well liked he is.
“My partner struggles to pay his bills and pay for necessary medical care because he can’t find a job paying a living wage. His name doesn’t match his gender on his driver’s license. He can’t afford the “elective” surgeries to bring his physical body into congruence with his gender expression so he has to face the fear of inappropriate stares and questions everywhere he goes.” As a counselor she has seen her clients lose everything — jobs, homes, parents, spouses and children.
When I asked her what she wanted readers to know, she said,
“I want people to know that being transgender is never a choice. The pain a person must feel trying to wear a persona that isn’t authentic to their soul is more painful than all the hate, discrimination and rejection in the world because they face losing everything and everyone they know in order to live their truth.”
For Caitlyn Jenner, and others like her, coming out in public and living her truth is a testament to her own courage. She is the voice for others who struggle every day to live their truth. Lets hope that this article in Vanity Fair will reveal a truth that is fair, balanced and beautiful.