Special to WorldTribune.com
Bruce Jenner is not a hero.
Recently, Jenner revealed to Diane Sawyer in a much-hyped 20/20 interview the non-news that he is transgender.
Anyone who has stood in a grocery line, been online or watched TV, has probably heard all the hoopla surrounding Jenner’s physical transformation this past year — his long locks, larger breasts, shaved Adam’s apple, and painted fingernails.
Rumors of Jenner’s fetish to wear female clothing have dogged him for decades.
Still, millions of viewers tuned in on April 24 to see Jenner — the great American athlete famous for having won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics held in Montreal — confirm what they already knew: He is transitioning to become a woman.
“For all intents and purposes, I am a woman,” he told Sawyer. “I was not genetically born that way and as of now I have all the male parts… But I still identify as female.”
During the 1980s, Jenner started taking female hormones. He stopped after five years, afraid to disappoint his family and fans. But a year-and-a-half ago, Jenner resumed taking them. The sensationalistic E! cable network plans on cashing in with a docuseries chronicling Jenner’s transition to “her.”
“I have a female soul,” Jenner continued, quipping that God must have been very amused at creating him male and see him struggle with his female desires all these years.
Since the grand reveal, family members, celebrities and non-celebrities alike have shown support for Jenner’s decision.
“All of us deserve the right to be loved for who we are. Bravo #BruceJenner,” tweeted Oprah Winfrey. “This is like another gold medal,” said Laverne Cox, actress on the Netflix television series Orange Is the New Black, who was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine in June 2014.
“Congratulations to #BruceJenner for finding happiness and finally being able to be who he is,” tweeted Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the first openly gay Asian-American in Congress. Actresses Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Maria Bello, and NeNe Leakes, also lauded Jenner.
Even Jenner’s ex-wives, Chrystie Crownover Scott and Linda Thompson, expressed their support after the 20/20 interview by posting a picture with Jenner on Instagram. The image of the smiling dynamic trio christened a so-called new post-modern era of ‘enlightenment’ where ex-spouses and gender identity are fluid and can coexist harmoniously.
Crownover Scott is honored that she was the first person Jenner confided in about his gender crisis, calling it a “gift” he gave her. In a Huffington Post piece, Thompson commends Jenner for the courage to finally “be who he authentically is, who he was born to be.”
But Jenner is a far cry from being a true hero. Heroes set an example of virtue and strength of character for all to emulate.
Instead, Jenner has chosen to succumb to the false female desires warring inside him. He has chosen to let the unnatural become natural, to reject God and the gift of life he was given as a man. Worse still, he has chosen to give legitimacy and respectability to a very serious physical and psychological disorder. He has told millions of Americans it’s okay to mutilate your body and become something you’re not. He has falsely implied there will be no consequences, just sheer happiness in a new body that was never meant to be his.
A 2004 University of Birmingham research study which reviewed more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals found no scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective. Many who undergo the surgery are unprepared for their new life and tragically commit suicide.
A similar study in Sweden in 2003 concluded that transsexuals who underwent gender reassignment surgery had a higher risk of suicide, psychiatric inpatient care, and criminal behavior. The study also found that the surgery was an ineffective treatment for transexualism and that many regretted doing the surgery.
“If there was a drug that I could have taken that would have reduced the pressure, I would have been better off staying the way I was — a totally intact person,” revealed tennis champion Rene Richards to Tennis magazine in March 1999 about his sex-change operation. “
Today there are better choices, including medication, for dealing with the compulsion to cross dress and the depression that comes from gender confusion. As far as being fulfilled as a woman, I’m not as fulfilled as I dreamed of being. I get a lot of letters from people who are considering having this operation…and I discourage them all.”
There is no doubt that people like Jenner and Richards who suffer from gender dysphoria deserve our compassion and respect.
A 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 41 percent of transgender and gender non-conforming people have attempted suicide. The tragic loss of Josh Alcorn, the 17-year-old transgender boy from Ohio who committed suicide in December 2014, is a reminder of the gravity of this issue.
In April, President Barack Obama responded to the outcry over Alcorn’s death and called for a ban on conversion therapy treatments aimed at helping those struggling with sexual orientation and gender identity by getting them to accept the natural order.
But Obama’s response fails to address the real underlying issues plaguing transgenders. The ban foolishly prevents them from getting the help they really need. It also denies them any chance they have of overcoming their psychological issues and leading healthy, fullfilling lives.
The new trend of regarding gender as merely a social construct opposes the very fabric of human existence naturally created by God.
“When freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God,” Pope Benedict XVI warned in a 2008 Christmas message.
The plight of transgenders must not be minimized nor should they be ostracized or bullied for their condition. We must do everything our power to help them accept their unique beauty as God made them. And people like Jenner should be paving the way by seeking professional help and embracing his male gender. Maybe then, youth like Alcorn would have a real hero to look up to and be saved.
Loredana Vuoto writes regularly on cultural issues for WorldTribune.com. She is a former speechwriter for Sen. Rick Santorum and was assistant national editor and an editorial writer at The Washington Times.