It’s Tuesday and your Newsfeed is full of pro-police and anti-establishment arguments surrounding the Baltimore riots. Justin Bieber crashed a prom. Vermont judge rules in favor of labeling GMOs. There’s some good stuff floating around today, but there’s a glaring issue in the media that nobody seems to be talking about.
Last Friday, Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer aired and garnered more views than any other program among adults 18-49. Not just on ABC – on television. In it’s wake, there are men painting their nails (#PaintYourNailsForBruce) in his support. Praise out the wazoo for his bravery and candor on his choice. Alice Eve is being shot down across social media for her negative remarks towards Jenner. Michael Che’s jokes aren’t so funny anymore. Sure, the media supports him… now.
The media flip-flops more than John Kerry, thriving on humiliation. In January, InTouch Magazine sank to a new low with a cover of Jenner with a full face of photoshopped makeup. The front blazed “My Life As a Woman.” In February, the same magazine put out a cover boasting “Revenge Drama: He’s making millions off sex-change TV show – but she’s [Kris] getting nothing!” Prenups, lingerie, surgery… yet nothing about his bravery, honesty and struggle.
Where was the praise for his transition then?
No denying it – Bruce Jenner is fascinating. That’s why millions of people tuned in to hear him on Friday night. The issue doesn’t lie in talking about it, advocating for it, or disagreeing with it. The problem lies with the media publicly mocking a man who is making a transition that thousands of teenagers and adults struggle with daily. If you dig deep, it isn’t even about Bruce Jenner. It’s about the message the media is sending to transgender community.
November 2014, a UK survey found that 48% of trans people under 26 said they had attempted suicide, of those 30% had done so in the past year and 59% had considered it.
The suicide attempt rates are staggering. I’m a straight, heterosexual woman and I’ve never battled the issues that so many are ending their lives over. Where does the media get off mocking a famous member in the transgender community? What does it say to teenagers, like Leelah Alcorn, who are struggling? What about the adults in their careers, like Lucy Meadows, who are terrified of being themselves? The media makes the choice, transition, subsequent hormones and surgeries a spectacle. While it doesn’t openly shame, it certainly doesn’t support.
SNL’s creator and producer Michael Lorne epitomized the views of the media, saying, “Nothing is really off limits if we have a take on it that I think is original and funny.”
I’m a Christian and I believe in the word of the Bible. I know what scripture says about homosexuals, transgenders, men who dress as women and vice versa. Make no mistake, this isn’t a religious argument. This isn’t about being condemned to an eternity in flame – my sins are just as real as anyone else’s. There is no hierarchy, a sin is a sin. Just because you believe something doesn’t mean you have to condemn or shame another human being. What about “love thy neighbor” and the story of the Good Samaritan? We are supposed to identify the needs of the people around us and reach out in love.
Today, UsWeekly’s cover reads “Bruce Jenner’s Amazing Journey” – just as it should. Whether you agree or disagree, Jenner is a human being. The media is a hungry beast who will never settle down. Jay Z’s Holy Grail comes close to perfection describing the battle, “You curse my name in spite, to put me to shame / Air all my laundry in the streets, dirty or clean / Give up for fame, but I still don’t know why, why I love it so much.”
We are all just people. Remember that we are here to support and lift one another up.