The Caitlyn Jenner PSA: Gender is a complex conversation

Just when you thought the Kardashian family were out of surprises, it seems like they saved the biggest and best for last.

Caitlyn Jenner, formally known as Bruce Jenner, has broken the internet with her bold decision to come out as a transgender. Jenner’s action has received a tsunami of support from various celebrities and television personalities, along with encouraging comments from millions of people across the world. Let’s not pretend as though your newsfeed wasn’t flooded with corny captions about Jenner.

Born in Mount Kisco, New York, in 1949, Jenner was an athlete who won a gold medal as a participant in the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics of 1976. From a young age, Jenner was quite the athlete, excelling in sports such as basketball, football, skiing and track. Jenner was encouraged at a young age to pursue sports and attended Graceland College through a football scholarship. An unfortunate injury made her pursue track and field instead.

Various opportunities presented themselves to Jenner as a result of her success in the world of sports. In addition to endorsements, Jenner became involved with television appearances, and starred in shows such as ‘The American Sportsman’ and ‘CHiPS’, followed by appearances in films such as ‘The Original Content’ and ‘Can’t Stop the Music’. Jenner also makes several appearances in the reality show ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’. As you can see, Jenner is no stranger to television and the world of entertainment.

For those that do know about what it means to be transgender, here is a brief description that will allow you to develop a basic understanding. Trans or transgender is an umbrella term used to describe those who express or identify with diverse gender identities that differ from gender norms. Gender identity is ones internal understanding of their gender experience, whereas, gender expression is how one publically presents their gender. The Ontario Human Rights Commission explains that trans or transgender can be used and is not limited to describe people who identify as transgender, trans woman (male-to-female), trans man (female-to-male), transsexual, cross-dresser, gender non-conforming, gender variant or gender queer.

Everybody has their opinion about whether or not this is a scheme to cash in on big bucks for Jenner and the Kardashians. It wouldn’t seem far-fetched to think this, because of the opportunities that will rush towards Jenner and the Kardashian family, as a result of her coming out. Regardless of whether or not you agree about Jenner’s decision about identifying as a female, it is her decision. If an individual feels as though they want to identify themselves as a certain gender, it shouldn’t lead to them being discriminated against.

Celebrity tabloids and social media are gossipy beasts, and it’s likely that you will be exposed to their speculation and chatter about gender. Discussing people who are transgender, or even gender as a whole, can be challenging because there are many people engaged in conversations about gender who do not the take time to learn about its complexities. So educate yourself on the nature of these discussions, and go beyond the pettiness. It isn’t right to be spiteful to someone because of their sexual orientation. Jenner will live her life as a woman regardless of what people say, and how they feel about it. We are all human beings and deserve to be treated with respect. You do not have to like everything, but it is always important to show others the same respect that you

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