Yesterday marked the publication of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair spread and interview. While she had already come out as transgender in the Barbara Walters interview on April 24, 2015, this was the first time she’d told us her name or completely shed her biological identity. Overall, people responded positively, and she seemed happy and excited as she launched her new Twitter account, announcing, “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.”
But, of course, fuck humanity.
Sometime between now and then, Drake Bell of Nickelodeon fame Tweeted, “Sorry… still calling you Bruce.” He quickly deleted the Tweet despite his declaration that social media doesn’t matter. But it was too late, and the story is now trending on Facebook, including a live feed of the horrible, transphobic things people are saying about it and Caitlyn Jenner.
Personally, I don’t give two shits about Drake Bell and what he says or does, and I’d be happy if no one ever paid attention to anything he said. But I am pissed about how people are deliberately misgendering Caitlyn. Months ago, when there was a lot of, “Is Bruce transgender? And what should we call him?” the misgendering was bound to happen. In fact, Caitlyn herself requested that people use male pronouns and her male name immediately after the Barbara Walters interview. But now that she has explicitly stated who she is and what she’s to be called, it is unconscionable that people are refusing to respect her wishes.
I honestly cannot fathom how people think this is appropriate behavior. Would you call a cisgendered woman “Dan” when their name is “Danielle” and they’ve asked to be called “Danielle”? Would you tell someone who’s worked their whole life as an actor that they’re not an actor just because they’re never pulled a million dollar movie contract? Would you tell a newly-converted Christian that they’re not a Christian because they weren’t raised Christian? Would you put up with people misgendering or misnaming you? Then why do people do it with Caitlyn Jenner – or other transgender people, for that matter?
People need to learn that who transgender people are, what they do, and what they call themselves is none of their business. No one, not even politicians, have the right to decide who a person is. You might have an opinion about transgender people, you might find it odd or even distasteful, but that doesn’t give you the right to try to dictate who someone is and what they do with their life. So everyone can keep their #sorrynotsorry hashtags and their ill-informed outrage and shove it. I for one am glad that Caitlyn Jenner after 65 years finally got to stop pretending to be someone she’s not and can finally be who she is. Good for you, Caitlyn.