By Danielle Lyons
In a Glamour Magazine video Caitlyn Jenner says, “To live life authentically is the best thing I can ever do.” It sounds simple enough, but it can be the hardest thing someone can do. As women we have overcome so many obstacles throughout history and we have a ways to go.
The transgender community has farther to go in their fight for equality. They are advocating for their safety, healthcare, ease of transitioning, and other basic human rights. On March 1, 2015, the National Advocacy of Anti-Violence Programs reported 14 murders of transgender individuals for the year of 2015. That is two months into the year. The Human Rights Campaign analyzed 636 healthcare companies and only 207 provided coverage to transgender employees. A staggering 41% of the transgender population have attempted suicide at some point, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. These number are unacceptable and call for change.
In October of 2015, Caitlyn Jenner received the honor of receiving, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award. Originally born Bruce William Jenner, she is mostly remembered as a reality star and as, “An All American Hero,” for her major success in the Olympics. Some have called in to question whether or not Jenner actually deserves this title. Moira Smith was a recipient of the award in 2001, shortly after her death. Moira’s husband, James Smith, considers Jenner to be underserving of the award. James, whom has worked at a shelter geared towards young youth stated, “When Mr. Jenner said the hardest part about being a woman was figuring out what to wear he proved to me that he is not truly a woman. I believe this comment and others he has made trivializes the transgender experience as I have witnessed it.”
Glamour has spoken out as stating, “Caitlyn Jenner has helped shine a light on the problems faced by transgender youth and given voice to a community that is often unheard. Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards recognizes brave, bold women who in their individual ways have all made a significant difference in the world.” Caitlyn Jenner is not the only transgender woman to receive this award from glamour. Laverne Cox received this award just one year prior. This is such an important step in transgender equality; the idea that a transgender woman can have an equal shot at woman of the year.
Much of Jenner’s criticisms are about her privileged life. It is important to consider the magnifying glass she had to transform under. Rumors and whispers about Caitlyn’s gender identity have been plaguing her for years. It takes courage to be yourself. It takes a different kind of courage to do it in the public eye with such grace. Her place of privilege does not make her any less of a conqueror; however, it is something to acknowledge. We as women should strive to celebrate in all women’s accomplishments, no matter the origin of the woman. Caitlyn did say this in regards to her new sense of responsibility, “If there’s one thing I do know about my life, it is the power of the spotlight. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but with attention comes responsibility. As a group, as athletes, how you conduct your lives, what you say, what you do is absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people. I know I’m clear with my responsibility going forward, to tell my story the right way, for me, to keep learning, to reshape the landscape of how Trans issues are viewed, how Trans people are treated. And then more broadly to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences.”