I am indifferent about most things that don’t concern or affect me directly, particularly celebrity culture. Sometimes I want to care and I try to, but I am more content in my sphere, where my biggest concerns are my on-going dramas, and whatever my friends are going through. I am trying to do something about this. I think in order for me to be an effective Christian, I have to care about the world around me. How can I care about issues I know nothing about? How can I pray about wars I don’t even know are happening? Given my nature, you shouldn’t be surprised that I was indifferent when I first heard that Jenner was becoming a woman.
I’m quite a ‘liberal’ Christian in that I can, and often do, accept the lifestyles of those who do not hold my religious beliefs. Acceptance does not necessitate agreement. This is a very important point to make. I do not agree with Jenner’s change. In saying that, I also don’t think it is my place to agree or disagree; Jenner is not my friend or my father. Jenner is a stranger, a public figure who made a decision. While I do not agree with his decision, I do think what he did, openly declaring his perceived gender publicly, was brave. It took immense courage. I know that if I were in his position, I would have kept silent about the matter and taken the secret to my grave. What if people laughed at me? What if my family rejected me? These fears alone would have kept me silent.
When Jenner decided to make this change, he put everything on the line, including his family. Now, just from a rational perspective, I cannot flippantly dismiss this change as whimsical. No, there was much thought, agony and fear surrounding this decision. We almost lost Jenner to suicide and that would have been an even greater tragedy. The opening words of his documentary were ‘I am still here’. Having battled various mental illnesses, I know what those words meant. They meant ‘I made it, I didn’t die, I didn’t give up, I kept going’ and anyone reading this, who knows how it feels to be overwhelmed by the darkness, would have been moved by these words.
I must admit that I don’t get it. I do not understand their experience simply because I haven’t lived it. I don’t know what it means to wake up in the morning and feel as though I am in a body that does not represent who I am. I am privileged not to have experienced this, and I think if more of us were more emphatic, and considered the psychological impact of their experience, we would be filled with greater compassion. Transgendered individuals are at risk of suicide and are often assaulted and discriminated against; they are usually also rejected by their loved ones and the fear that they will be rejected by society keeps them living in the shadows, marginalised, tortured and lonely.
I hate that. I hate there are people who feel alone, who are scared to live for fear of rejection. I hate that they are ridiculed, attacked, murdered and stoned. A study posited that there may be a death of a transgendered individual every three days. Do you know how harrowing that is? Surely we, as Christians, should be seeking ways to protect these individuals? Or do we only love people as long as their lifestyles reflect our values? Is it that once they step outside of what we consider to be normal, we stop loving them? I’m sorry but I cannot prescribe to that variant of Christianity.
I despise the way that some of us Christians, the people who are supposed to revere love above all else, have used God as a way of justifying our hatred for Jenner. Our cries have been loud and bold, yet we are far quieter on issues that we battle with – you know, gossiping, abstaining from sex and trying to stay sober at the raves we aren’t even sure we are meant to be at.
“Those sins aren’t as bad” you say.
Well, yes. They are.
I wonder if we will ever be as intolerant of drunkenness, gossip and premarital sex as we are of homosexuality and transgenderism. I wonder if we will condemn our friends and family members, whose lifestyles are equally despicable in the sight of God, in the same manner that we have condemned Jenner.
I do not believe that God hates Jenner. I think God loves Jenner regardless of how he presents himself. If what I read in my Bible is true, then there’s nothing that can separate him from God’s love (Jenner identifies as a Christian and is religious). I do not think my opinion is very popular one amongst Christians. I’m sure other Christians will question the depth of my Christianity as result of this article. I probably should have included scriptures in this post to substantiate my views but I don’t want to abuse or manipulate scripture – these are just my views.
I love Caitlyn Jenner; I love her because she is human, because she is flawed, just as I am. I love her because I’d rather a living Caitlyn than a dead Bruce. I pray for her, that she finds the peace that eluded her as Bruce, and that she continues to connect with Jesus, someone who loved her as Bruce and continues to love her as Caitlyn. I know that he can heal whatever she feels is broken and give her the love and acceptance she needs.
I love Caitlyn Jenner – why wouldn’t I?
Thanks for reading,