We thought we wouldn’t have to really explain this to people, but we don’t mind educating folks on such a sensitive topic: Halloween costumes. Specifically tasteless ideas like dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner.
Far be it from us to police our fellow LGBTs: you can do what you want, when you want, how you want. Some have even told us face to face and on the hone that they feel like Caitlyn Jenner is such a hero that they want to dress up to honor her. These are all fair emotions, and we certainly don’t wish to take anything away from people that want to dress up as Jenner in order to celebrate her boldness and courage.
However, we don’t live in a vacuum. This means that when you do something, everyone sees it…including the groups that won’t necessarily get what you’re trying to say. When you step out on Halloween night as Caitlyn Jenner, you’re actually sending the message that you can take on and take off an image of what it means to be LGBT. You can’t turn being transgendered on and off like that. If it were that easy to turn off, do you really think that transpeople wouldn’t look into it? Do you believe that people love being discriminated against? What saddens us even further is when gays, lesbians, and bisexuals turn around and shame transpeople, while failing to see the irony in that. The truth is that we’re all one, and we all have to share the same planet. It makes more sense to celebrate each other rather than tear each other down.
The next reason is simple: Caitlyn Jenner has access and reach that other transgendered people do not have. Consider this: does the average person just have the funds to splurge on facial reshaping and hormones? If Jenner wishes to change her genitalia, she has the funds to do so. There are homeless transyouth that would kill to even have a fraction of Jenner’s vast resources and access. And when it comes to the concept of exploring intersectionality, access matters. Access can be the difference between having a roof over your head, and being on the street because you “came out” or even worse, you were outed.
Next, we think it’s a bad idea because it shreds the individual. The world of transgendered people is so diverse. Instead of dressing up as Caitlyn Jenner, why not highlight to the world who you are? Yes, it’s Halloween and you can wear what you want. But dressing up as a completely different person basically suspends your persona. Are you going to follow up the Caitlyn Jenner costume with impersonating her voice? It’s too easy to turn a good idea into a bad joke, a walking pun that isn’t funny by any stretch of the imagination.
We see a lot of people trying to use Caitlyn Jenner to draw awareness, and awareness is good. But we have a lot of work to do beyond Caitlyn, and that type of work doesn’t usually get a docu-series on E, or the attention of millions of people. Shock value is an inherent part of Jenner’s life, because she is a celebrity. But what about all of the people that don’t have that invisible microphone? What about all of the people that have to struggle in near-silence because people don’t want them to speak out?
As we keep saying, you can do what you feel is right for you. But with so many mentions of going to Halloween as Caitlyn Jenner, we wanted to weigh in on this. The subject matter is sensitive, and we implore our transgendered youth to reach out and try to get as much support as they can. Because Jenner is in the media, a lot of people are talking about transpeople and the lifestyle of a transgendered person. Unfortunately, not all of the discussion is helpful or positive. People fear what they don’t understand, and other movements have had to face the same type of stigma. Remember, this is a country that actually had people protesting in the streets about desegregated schools and whether black people and white people could get married legally.
Our country has a lot of issues, but we feel there’s also a lot of hope mixed in as well. Do not give up. Do not lose hope. Do not allow the world to make you feel small and insignificant. If you were really that unimportant, they wouldn’t be so quick to shut you down. Chew on that, and move forward. We’re here for you!