Why we should all be paying attention to Bruce Jenner

Melissa Wilson explains how Bruce Jenner is encouraging positive discussion.

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The month of April was a big one for the transgender community. Whether you love or detest the Kardashian/Jenner clan, there is a take-home message from Bruce Jenner (former step-father of the Kardashian siblings) and his decision to transition genders at the age of 65.

The Kardashian family is an empire in itself. With ten seasons of hit show Keeping Up With the Kardashians under their collective belt, it’s undeniable that the family has a huge global audience. Due to this audience, the latest developments in the life of Bruce Jenner have been highly publicised, but unlike many of the trashy headlines surrounding the family, this is one I implore you to stand up and take notice of.

Bruce Jenner may have just taken a community that is still unfortunately surrounded by taboo and shoved it right into the tabloids, hands and newsfeeds the world over. This is great because it gets people talking about the transgender community and gives the sceptics a person to anchor what may have previously been an abstract and confusing topic, certainly one that may not be discussed at dinner tables around the world.

My point is, the more we talk about transgender issues, the more the topic becomes understood, accepted and harmonious within society. And the more those experiencing gender dysphoria can be at ease and comfort with themselves and know that they aren’t alone and that support is out there if it’s needed. Suicide rates within the transgender community are high, with just last month seeing the tragic suicide of transgender boy Ash Haffner, a 16-year-old from North Carolina. A thread on Reddit recently became viral for suggesting Bruce Jenner will commit suicide within a year. This isn’t good enough.

April also saw the announcement of Andreja Pejic, Bosnian-born, Melbourne-raised model to be the first ever transgender model profiled on the pages of the May issue of US Vogue. Proving that not only is the transgender community taking triumph in the entertainment world but in fashion too. Pejic has graced catwalks for some of the biggest names in the business, and there is no sign of stopping the 23-year-old.

The 21st century needs to be a place where individuals can believe and be whatever they like, provided they aren’t harming others. Now is the time to strip the barriers between gender, sexuality and identity and accept people for who they are and how they want to represent themselves. If it takes Bruce Jenner and a highly-publicised gender transition for people to wake up, educate themselves and drop the confusion around this topic, then power to him.

 

 

Image: Mike Mozart, Flickr, no changes made.