Sun | Sep 26, 2021

Jenner icon for transgenders, gays

Published:Friday | July 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM


As I watched the powerful yet emotional speech given by famed transgender Caitlyn Jenner as she accepted the ESPYS Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, I couldn't help but think about Gleaner columnist Daniel Thwaites and the many brutal columns he has written about Caitlyn, in particular, and other related topics.

The award ceremony honours the year's top athletes and moments, and the large audience that gave a standing ovation to Jenner, both before and after her speech, included successful hockey players, football players, basketball players, among others.

Jenner's words resonated as she spoke about the countless persons (LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people) who have been murdered, committed suicide, because of relentless bullying and fear. Jenner urged her audience to become more responsible with their actions and how they treat people. She went on to vow to do whatever she could "to reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated".

One part of the speech that stood out was where Jenner spoke about being a quarterback on the football team and being tough enough as a person and an athlete to withstand all the name-calling and hurtful things now being said about her transitioning.

She reminded her large audience, however, that although she was tough enough to handle it, there are many others who can't. I applaud Caitlyn for using her platform, unlike others, for something positive, to encourage acceptance, while attempting to educate from her own experience.

Gender dysphoria is not some psychotic illness, as Daniel Thwaites mischievously claimed in a recent article, otherwise medical doctors would not support transitioning. As I listened to the speech, I did not see or hear a mentally ill person speaking to an audience of powerful men and women, who applauded repeatedly and gave standing ovation after ovation, endorsing this powerful message.