For decades the topic of transgender has often been avoided or overlooked. Instead, assumptions or judgements have been made based on a lack of knowledge and the transgender community have silently struggled just to be themselves. Recently, however, the community have been given a voice and society is finally starting to turn a corner.
In a tell-all interview with Dianne Sawyer on Friday, former Olympian and reality TV star Bruce Jenner confessed – after much speculation – that he was transitioning into a woman. “For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” Jenner told the ABC’s Sawyer.
“People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life — it is part of me. That female side is part of me. That’s who I am,” he continued.
While the 65-year-old said he didn’t want to be a spokesperson for the community, he revealed: “What I’m doing is going to do some good. And we’re going to change the world. I really firmly believe that we’re going to make a difference in the world with what we’re doing.”
His emotional interview – viewed by over 17 million people upon airing – has been met by the public with love and support and is a positive step towards equality. There is still a long way to go, however, with USA Today reporting that 90 per cent of transsexuals had experienced harassment in the work place, while a concerning 41 per cent of the community had admitted to attempting suicide.
“Everything they [the public] know about transgender people comes through the media. And until recently, frankly, the media was filled with stereotypes and misinformation about transgender people,” Nick Adams, the director of programs for transgender media for GLAAD, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group told USA Today.
“If you look around and see discrimination, poverty and violence, it’s very difficult to see a future for yourself as a happy, successful transgender person. We really need to change that,” he continued.
And change that we are. Recently, Laverne Cox, transgender star from Orange is the New Black, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, while Vogue – for the first time ever – profiled transgender model, Andreja Pejic. ”It’s good. We’re finally figuring out that gender and sexuality are more complicated,” she said.
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