"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Weird Ironies Of Transgenderism–A New Woman Pays Tribute To Her Old, Male Self

Few people are unaware of the sexual trajectory of Bruce Jenner, Olympian, gold medal triathlon winner whose image sold thousands of boxes of Wheaties. The triathlon is not simply an Olympic sport.  It is the Olympic sport which demands athleticism, strength, stamina, grace, and power.  It is one thing to win medals in the individual triathlon sports of running, cycling, and swimming; another thing entirely to master all three.  It is no wonder that Jenner became a popular and important American icon – a champion, a patriot, and a man.

 Image result for Images Bruce Jenner on Wheaties box. Size: 141 x 204. Source: www.mrbreakfast.com

America was shocked, then, when Jenner decided to become a woman.   Not only did he become a woman, but did so loudly and publicly.  He clearly wanted to be as much of a star and American hero as he had been as a man; and what better way to fame in today’s gender-neutral, sexually inclusive, progressive environment than to flaunt his new sexuality and to gain as much recognition and fortune as he did as a man? 

He, now she, became the darling of the progressive Left until her increasingly conservative political views became known.  It was one thing to be a transitioned, transgender woman, liberals said, another entirely to become a Trump Republican.  

Now that she is running for Governor of California, the Left is flummoxed.  Do they savage her for her outmoded, dangerous, and spiteful conservatism? Or do they champion her public presence, legitimizing once and for all the place of sexually ‘replaced’ men and women in American society?

Putting true believers in sticky places is the stuff of publicity.  Conflict, contention, and dispute sell airtime; and Jenner knew quite well that her sexual changeover combined with an entry into high-stakes national politics would make headlines.  She may or may not be successful in her political ambitions, but she has accomplished her secondary goal – educating by example.  

Because of her feminine flair and vulnerability but also her steely will and ambition make her a posterchild for the transgender movement.  Her speeches have been noticeably without reference to the issues of gender ‘reassignment’, the gender spectrum, or LGBTQ+ rights. By such canny avoidance of sexual politics she has indeed made a case for transgender mainstreaming.

However, there will always be slips on the way.  In a recent tweet celebrating the Olympics, she paid tribute to her former self, Bruce.  In a reference to his appearance at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as the 2021 Tokyo Games begin to wind down, she said, “An amazing day representing our country at the Olympics! Congratulations to all of the Olympians this year!”

The tweet struck a discordant note among many transgender advocates who consider bringing up a trans person’s past name as “dead naming” them. It is an act of discrimination, they say, to bring up a trans person’s “past” life as a different gender. And Jenner, who, as part of her California political campaign is posting that “dead name.”

Others, however, were impressed by Jenner’s understanding of philosophical irony.  The past has existential meaning for Jenner, and reviving memories of it and her male being is entering a demi-monde of impossibility.  In reviving Bruce’s memory she has unwittingly raised the metaphysical question, ‘Who am I?’  

No matter how great her physical transfiguration or the amount of estrogen and progesterone in her bloodstream, she is still the boy who was born to her mother.  She is Bruce because personality and character, say Freud and Adler, is confirmed by age 5, matures in adolescence, and flowers in early adulthood.  No matter how girly-girl she might be, no matter how elegant her fashion plate, no matter how many tears and how much womanly compassion she expresses, she is still Bruce.  It is not a strange, dismissed former self, her ‘dead name’, or some extraneous, disappeared man, but her.

She is Bruce and is now showing it – competent, ambitious, star-driven, able and politically savvy.  Paying tribute to him was simply acknowledging the him in her – indelible, permanent, and influential.

Of course social conservatives knew this all along.  No amount of hormones or male reassignment surgery would change the fact that Bruce and Caitlin were one and the same, that ‘she’ would always be Bruce and male; and there was no way that she could pass for anything else.

The cattiest among them admitted that they would be happy to have a Kamala Harris look-alike – if you are going to become a woman, you might as well become a top-flite runway-ready one instead of the dog President Biden nominated for a Cabinet position

Image result for images caitlin jennerImage result for images kamala harris

The Jenner family drama of irony continues, since the daughter of Bruce and his wife continues to give Caitlin presents on Father’s Day.  While she has gone overboard in support of her new parent, Bruce was always a father to her – not a feminine mother, but a very assertively male father – and it somehow feels wrong not to celebrate him as she always has done.  It would be a bit much to celebrate Mother’s Day with Caitlin, although I am sure the two have talked about it.

Caitlin is a longshot to win the California recall election, and she will return to simple celebrity.  She has already become a staple on television talk shows, a transgender Zsa Zsa Gabor who was never anything but a celebrity.  Caitlin cannot be interviewed for what she is most remembered for – her marvelous athletic exploits at the Olympics as a man – for that would be dead handing it at best and horribly incorrect at worst.  

So the issue is skirted, she is only asked about her recent life as a woman; and nothing about the painful, deforming, and emasculating surgery she had to undergo, nor the weird, exotic hormone therapy used.  Her illustrious past as Bruce has been as expunged as that of Confederate J.E.B. Stuart.  Neither Bruce nor Stuart ever existed.

The saga of the Jenners is fascinating because of their celebrity – Bruce as a champion athlete and Caitlin as a pop star, political wannabee.  Those ordinary men and women who want to change sex have no such luck, fame, or fortune.  An ugly male steamfitter at the plant is now an ugly female steamfitter.

So we hope the Jenners stay around.  They are good for us putting folly, ambition, and irony into relief.  For all but the most progressive political advocates, the Caitlin/Bruce story is a wonderful daytime television soapy melodrama.  Fun to watch, but never, ever, to be taken seriously.

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