Open Letter: Dear Caitlyn Jenner, Can You Not?

Hi Caitlyn Jenner,

You don’t know me, and it’s hard for me not to know you. You have been taking up a lot of space on my social feeds lately. To the point where I feel I can sketch your crotch bulge from memory. I get it, you’re free now. And I’m thrilled for you.

Brunette is you. If I squint hard, you look like Jessica Lange after she’s spent too much time in the sun. I’m all for embracing individuality and expressionism, and I think everyone should be free to pursue their identity. But you did it with extra aplomb. Your daughter stripped to get the Internet’s attention, but you kept all your clothes and hair extensions on.

I like how you rationalised the hell out of your “feminisation” process in the Vanity Fair interview by saying, “If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, ‘You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,’ and I don’t want that to happen.” Well, lots of bad things happen to good people, but dealing with the question of how much plastic surgery to opt for must be terrifying.

And you made the huge qualification, “I’m not doing this to be interesting. I’m doing this to live.”

Caitlyn

I know plenty of people who struggle quietly, as opposed to splaying it on the cover of a magazine with a print-run upwards of 1.2 million copies. That is the 2015 “way to live”, no?

The last 20 years must have been rough on you. All that time in front of the TV, and money, for being part of a tabloid family.

I’m looking forward to your new reality show. I’m sure it’ll be heart-warming, with a creative direction that is starkly different from Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But then again, why shouldn’t it be exactly the same? Juvenile fights, convoluted drama, with heavy doses of naval-gazing narcissism. I mean, why fix what ain’t broke right?

I hope the show is not too baity. You know, like us-against-them baity, like they-don’t-understand-us kinda baity. I know a lack of mass communication and social acceptance makes transgender people a misunderstood lot. Most people would rather watch The Walking Dead than understand the complexities of Laverne Cox from Orange In The New Black, for example. Being visible is not the same as being responsible, but I hope you can bridge the two qualities.

The Internet makes things shine in a lurid way. There are good people – your fans, believers and supporters – with genuine, empathetic hearts, and these people will like to exist in an inclusive, permissive society. And they don’t deserve to be exploited.

Why am I using that ugly word, “exploited”? Unlike 99% of transgenders, I think we can both agree that you’re one of the select few who is okay with the camera following you into the bathroom. You can literally work on Number Two while talking to the camera man. I think you can. Obviously, having a controlling ex-wife, attention-seeking daughters, and TV studios throwing their money at you helped you overcome any form of shyness .

caitlyn-jenner-couch

Hence my request, can you not commodity your hurt and isolation? You are no longer hurt because America is celebrating your new person, and you are definitely far from being isolated. There are no longer any victims here. 

There are many who struggle with issues of self, sexuality and societal acceptance every day, but they don’t necessarily have the leverage, influence or celebrity (does that word mean anything still?) status to secure a multi-million dollar show that feeds off that charming quality of human nature – voyeurism. Why let your daughters steal your thunder, right? I don’t expect you to go quietly into the night as Kim pops babies for the next five years, but hey, there’s something to be said for looking out for yourself.

I hope you know Vanity Fair wanted you on its cover to sell magazines. I hope you know E! commissioned the show for the promise of advertising revenue, as do most media outlets who want you on board. Congratulations. You’re the new Golden Goose of reality tv – let’s milk this spectacle so you will have work for the next five years at least.

Now that you’ve done it – and by “it” I mean, brilliantly carved out a new market segment of TV audiences who are neither conservative parents, tweens, or misunderstood LGBT teens, you’re free to own this.

Just maintain as much dignity from hereon as possible please. Tuck the bulge out of the cameras.

Thanks!