Is Caitlyn Jenner a hero or could she have done more?

Vanity Fair Cover
Vanity Fair Cover

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, made a big splash on social media this Monday. In under 24 hours Caitlyn Jenner reached over 20 million followers on twitter.

She revealed her new name as well as a cover photo from an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair magazine. In April Bruce Jenner had announced that he was transitioning from a man to a woman.

Caitlyn Jenner has not only been showered with praise on social media but on top of that it has been announced that Olympic gold medallist Caitlyn Jenner will receive ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY Awards.

Even Barack Obama said, “It takes courage to share your story.”

Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover takes transgender issues into mainstream.

However, it shouldn’t take a celebrity story like Caitlyn Jenner’s to make the world acknowledge the lives of transgender people.

Many argue that it is a disgrace that the media won’t tell any of those other transgender stories until an event or a famous name insists that we do so.

Caitlyn Jenner has been portrayed as a hero on social media, however, within the wider transgender community, the response to the  phenomenon has been more nuanced. Many people within the wider transgender community said they wished she had done more to use her celebrity power to help the many thousands of embattled transgender people.

Janetta Johnson, a transgender woman who works with an advocacy group called TGI justice, for transgender prisoners and their families, said she now wanted to see Caitlyn give back to the transgender community some of what she had taken.

“Jenner’s a rich white bitch, she can pay for everything she needs,” she said.

“But I think she now needs to put some of that money back into the transgender community as she has taken a lot.

“All these years we have been abused and battered, yet she has used none of her power to help the community and bring about change.”

Most transgender people don’t have the privileges Caitlyn has. The reality of contemporary transgender life in the United States is far from easy.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, transgender people experience twice the rate of unemployment as the general population with 15 percent living on $10,000 per year or less, just a fraction of the cost of facial feminization surgery (FFS) to which Jenner had access before her shoot.

Many people are calling Caitlyn a saint or a hero on social media, but is she really, or could she have done more with her celebrity power to help many other transgender people in their struggles?


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