As an avid and unashamed fan of the entire Kardashian empire (let the hate begin), many of my friends texted me the Vanity Fair cover of Bruce Jenner’s new identity, Caitlyn. They probably knew I had already seen it, but they wanted to hear my reaction to the controversial news – not to mention that I will now have to live in the shadow of sharing my name with her. Not cool, Caitlyn.
Before I begin, let’s just establish that I have no authority to claim that what I’m about to say it “right.” This is merely my opinion about the topic based on what I believe about the world and the people in it. Feel free to comment with your viewpoint – I’d love to start a conversation, but not a hate thread.
Here we go.
Bruce Jenner was brave.
Though most conservative Christians would disagree, I think it took a lot of courage for Bruce to abandon the Olympian the world loves for “her,” someone he wasn’t sure America would approve of, and someone his own family had a difficult time accepting. I'm not writing this to argue whether or not his decision to become "her" was a right or wrong choice, or even if it was based on money, because given my background, you probably already know where I stand on that issue. But I think that's irrelevant because I can't do anything to change her mind or yours.
But I do want to pose the question:
When does courage stop being courage because the result is something you disagree with?
I’m going to go even further with a more controversial analogy, and I hope that if you’re reading this, you understand my heart is not hateful nor supportive in this next sentence. Having an abortion takes a tremendous amount of courage – overcoming the fear of being in pain, the fear of having a stranger place cold, metal instruments inside of you, the fear of judgmental looks—that takes courage. It doesn’t mean what you’re doing is right though, on whatever moral scale rules your decisions. Am I justified to compare Bruce’s transition to what I consider murder? Absolutely not. What I am doing is making a statement about bravery.
You can run from something because you're afraid to deal with it, then display courage in that running. It's just a different form; some would argue it's an easier form. But I don't think this scale of bravery should matter. When does courage stop being courage because the result is something you disagree with? I don’t think it ever does. Bravery is bravery, albeit misplaced.
Bruce Jenner is a hero
The headlines, blogs, and comments all suggest Caitlyn is a hero. To me, they got it wrong, though. Bruce is the hero.
Bruce Jenner is an American hero for his accomplishments in the Olympic Games. He’s a hero to the Kardashian girls who lost their father as young children. He’s a hero to all of the people around him because he’s just an all-around good guy. But Caitlyn hasn’t done anything heroic. She posed for some photos. And while it was probably scary for her, we’ve already talked about how that doesn’t entitle you to a pat on the back, unless you live in a culture that hands out trophies to everyone … oh wait, we do.
Remember Samson? He was gifted with so many great things: a loving family, a hot bod, supernatural strength. The guy was a legend.
But not necessarily a good legend.
Samson lost sight of his calling, abandoning all of his strengths in pursuit of what he wanted: Delilah. He lost everything to gain what he thought was everything. And we don’t consider him a hero because of it. Sure, he ultimately realized his mistake and took down a house full of Philistines. But his status of hero was short-lived because of the choices he made, the path he veered from. He was made to be a hero, but his courage in taking down those Philistines was not heroism.
Misplaced bravery doesn’t equate to heroism. It’s just misused bravery.
Disagreement is not hate
The primary problem I have with this whole issue is: When I disagree with something, I am being intolerant of it. I am not throwing shade at someone because I don’t see things the way they do. Our society is so bent on agreeing and harvesting peace that we’ve forgotten how to have constructive conversations with differing opinions. Our country is founded on the idea that people WILL have other opinions. Those ideas are not hate, though. Because I disagree with Bruce’s decision to become Caitlyn, I immediately become intolerant and unloving. That’s unfair to me and to anyone else who expresses disagreement or even confusion on this issue. Disagreement is not hate.
When Drake Bell tweeted, “I’m still calling you Bruce,” the entire world jumped on a tomato-throwing bandwagon. Why? I bet the Kardashians and Jenners have had that same thought. If Caitlyn is still Bruce and still wants to have the emotional and spiritual qualities of Bruce – why can’t his kids still call him by the name they have always known?
I think we are bashing people who don’t agree with us because we don’t know how to react ourselves. Society says you should just let people be people, so that’s what we’re going with. Because this has never happened to such magnitude, we are confused about what’s okay and what’s not. We don’t know how to be politically correct because we don’t know how to handle this situation at all. And should we try to be politically correct in the first place?
That being said, I don’t think it’s fair for the Twitter world to give Drake Bell death threats. If you’re claiming intolerance and hate on his part, where is your love? We’re supposed to let people be people, right? (So much sarcasm.)
And that’s exactly what we should be asking ourselves in the Drake Bell situation, and this #CaitlynJenner culture. Where is your love? Where is my love?
I’m not asking where your ACCEPTANCE is because I think that’s irrelevant. God has never accepted me. In fact, he probably thinks I’m a pretty crummy person and really disproves of the majority of the things I do. But he loves me. And I think we should love people in that mentality too.