Caitlyn Jenner, Why she is a hero.

Post I wrote for my personal Facebook page:

I usually reserve my posts for pictures of my boys, funny things they say and do, and occasional articles/photos I find interesting or funny. However sometimes a story will dominate my newsfeed until I feel the need to comment on it. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it this time. Buckle in, this is gonna be a long one.

The story of Bruce Jenner’s transition to Caitlyn Jenner has dominated Facebook for the last 2 days. I have seen many stories and status post. Some wonderful, some not so wonderful, and some down right hateful. One trending post I have noticed is the question of why Caitlyn is being called brave and courageous. Often these posts are accompanied by a photograph of a soldier. I love to see photos our soldiers and veterans and I applaud their bravery and courage. No question they are heroes. I would love for my feed to be filled with their photos and stories every day. But the dialog I am seeing is inferring that calling Caitlyn brave somehow detracts from the soldiers.   The fact is there is no comparison. They are both brave for vastly different reasons.

Bruce Jenner appearing on Diane Sawyer confirming that he was transitioning to a woman was brave. Caitlyn Jenner sharing her story with Vanity Fair was brave. She knew the backlash she would get. She knew the hate that would hurled at her. Yet she did it anyway. And if you believe that someone would change their gender, enduring the months of hormone therapy and extensive plastic surgery for press, ratings, or a realty show, then I have some ocean front property I would like to sell you! You shave your head or die your hair purple for publicity, you have your penis removed because you truly identify as woman and are ready to live as your authentic self. It is true that given her family it would have been difficult for Caitlyn to stay out of the spotlight. But I believe that she is speaking out because she knows the struggles of being transgendered.

Children are dying. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people ages 10 – 24 and LGBT and questioning youths are 3 – 4 times more likely to attempt suicide. Our children are literally killing themselves because the message they are receiving is that it would be better to be dead than live in a society that rejects them. Caitlyn Jenner may not be a hero to you, but she is a hero to a young boy somewhere out there who is struggling to understand why he feels like he is a girl. Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover might be the thing that saves a transgender teen from attempting suicide. That is the reason she is being called brave, courageous, and a hero.

Aside: If you would like to learn more about suicide, how you can help, or reach out for help, please visit http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/facts-about-suicide.

There is a lot more I could say on this topic but I will close with this. Regardless of gender, sexual identity, or race, we are all human and deserve the same respect and rights. Everyone deserves to be happy, love the person they love, marry the person they love if they want, and live their authentic life. I love you all. Whether you are my close friend/family I see regularly or a Facebook only friend. Whether we agree on this and other issues or completely disagree on everything. Know that you are loved and pass that love on to others. And at the end of the day, leave the world a better place than you found it.

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Growing up a Southern Belle

Growing up as a female in the South, somewhere around the buckle of the bible belt, you never spoke of sex.  You whispered in hushed voices, with undertones of shame and guilt.  You learned early that sex outside of marriage was a sin, and within marriage it was obligatory at best. Masturbation was as sinful as premarital sex, particularly for females. Boys will be boys, but girls were to be Southern Belles, demure and pure.

I grew up in a typical southern home, attended Southern Baptist Church most Sundays. We were not an ultra religious family, not at church every time the doors opened nor hosting weekly bible study.  Non the less, these ideas of female sexuality, or the lack there of, were ingrained in me and created internal conflict as I became a normal, hormonal teen.

Hormones, and perhaps common sense, won out over church teachings and I did not “wait until marriage”.  However, well into my 20s, sexual exploration both with a partner and on my own continued to be intertwined with guilt.  It took me a good decade to become comfortable with myself as a sexual being.

The focus of this blog is to challenge the stereotype of female sexuality as I have known it in the South, embrace my sexuality, and share knowledge.