We usually measure the importance of something in monetary value, or something tangible that we can quantify. But when it comes to understanding ourselves we often don’t fully appreciate the value behind our most basic form of identity, our name. Caitlyn Jenner is the newest megastar to prove to the world how closely these two things are related…
Formally and popularly known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner announced her full transition to womanhood with a jaw-dropping front cover with Vanity Fair. Prior to the release of this month’s issue, the Olympian was (by choice) referred to as Bruce and continued to go by male pronouns even following the exclusive “I’m a woman” interview with Diane Sawyer, which aired in April of this year.
Caitlyn’s transition has been well received and highly publicised, but it left many to wonder how she decided Caitlyn was the right choice. In an interview with E!News, she mentions:
“It’s one of the hardest things in life — choosing your own name.”
And we don’t doubt it, determining such a staple to your identity would bear great responsibility. Yet the fact that she ditched the popular “K” name choice that is typically a standard requirement among the rest of the glamourous ladies in the Kardashian Klan, Caitlyn’s intention to make a clear statement with her new identity is greatly acknowledged.
With the support of many, Caitlyn expresses her relief to finally be her true self. Being in the limelight dating all the way back to her triathlon days years ago, to starring in the popular television series Keeping Up With The Kardashians, her life has always been on display. What she wanted to make perfectly clear, however, is that this isn’t just some act to gain more popularity – because the family doesn’t need that to be honest. She states in her Vanity Fair interview:
“I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live.”
The 65-year-old graced the cover of Vanity Fair’s June 2015 issue, and received a lengthy 22-page spread inside the magazine as well. This consists of an emotional exclusive interview and of course includes more stunning shots from her two-day shoot. She told Vanity Fair:
“…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 ‘that a boy, Bruce,’ pat on the back, OK? This is about your life.”
Caitlyn’s transition in the public eye couldn’t have been an easy one, with the popularity and following that she has received. Her bravery prevails through her story ultimately because she is clearly not just doing this for herself – she’s doing it for the better of the transgender community at large.
Unlike most that are internally battling with their identity in a similar fashion, Caitlyn has a highly accessible platform allowing her story to be shared widely. Thankfully we live in a time where the public is much more receptive to the variety of diversity that exists, but as with anything somewhat foreign it takes time to be fully normalized.
This is why celebrities aid so heavily in the process of standardization of new ideas. Stars are people that most of the public are already familiar with and typically greatly adored. When they use their platform to announce their love of a new product, or in this case, that it is alright to be something that isn’t mainstream, it has a huge impact.
The average person doesn’t have the luxury of a wide outreach, so even if they were to transition, it would take so many people at the same time to have even a fraction of the impact. In addition to Caitlyn’s transition, we’ve recounted on some of our other favourite stars, models and actors alike, that have shared their amazing stories, making ground-breaking progress for the transgender community.
One of our favourite fellow Aussies and full-time models is none other than the gorgeous Andreja Pejić. Being only 23, she already has an impressive history with some of fashion’s biggest names. She has walked for giants such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs in their fashion shows and she has no plans on slowing down. Her career recently skyrocketed due to the four-page spread she received in the May 2015 issue of Vogue, thus making her the first openly transgender model to be profiled by the magazine. Alongside that amazing achievement, last month she also landed her first major beauty campaign with ‘Make Up For Ever’.
Another wildly famous openly transgender star is Laverne Cox. The American actress had an admittedly rough childhood, after spending years being teased by her peers for developing feelings for males in her class. Clearly not knowing how to deal with the emotions she was overcome with, she attempted suicide at the young age of 11.
Although Cox has made appearances in and on a variety of screen roles and publications, she currently stars on the extremely popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black, as Sophia Burset. Her role in the show is to also portray a transgendered woman, in prison due to credit card fraud, and she proved to be so engaging on-set that she was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy in the acting category due to her performance in the show.
In an interview with Entertainment Monthly in response to why it is important that the show chose an actual trans-woman to portray a trans-woman, she replied by saying:
“If the character is written like the way Sophia is written, as a multi-dimensional character who the audience can really empathize with, [then] all of the sudden they’re empathizing with a real trans person.”
When Cox plays this role she is doing more than entertaining us with her amazing acting skills, she is humanizing what it is to be transgender, something that hasn’t been done up until recently. She clearly understands the impact that she has with her audience, and proves with her statement that her role isn’t strictly to encourage the LGBT community, but to include the rest of the world in a comprehensive lesson that being transgender is something that can be completely ordinary.
So there you have it. Proof that not only are transgender people normal, they are also capable of extraordinary things. Doctors, politicians, entertainers, and yet they are still an ostracized community of people. With the grand introduction of Caitlyn in this world, however, things are surely taking a turn for the better.
Credit should be given where credit is due, seeing as Caitlyn’s reveal was so immaculately executed. If nothing else, the Kardashians/Jenners have a knack for surprising us in every way imaginable, and upon the release of her front cover on June 1, she already had social media pages sorted for Caitlyn, choreographed perfectly to break the Internet more so than even Kim’s attempt.
The Caitlyn Jenner verified Twitter account already has over 600k “people talking about this”, and she was also responsible for creating the trending topic #CallMeCaitlyn. Just hours after her Twitter account had gone live she tweeted:
“Another Jenner world record, and at 65? Who’da thought! Humbled & honored to have reached 1M followers in 4 hrs. Thank you for your support.”
Obviously the more something is discussed, the more human the topic becomes, and we predict with her Twitter stats, we will see the normalization process of transgender acceptance rapidly grow. So what’s in a name? Well, apparently a whole lot more to it than what meets the eye. Go Caitlyn.