Home > Uncategorized > “…We’ve come a long way, baby….”

“…We’ve come a long way, baby….”

I caught parts of the Bruce Jenner interview on TV last night and I sat there thinking, “we’ve come a long way, baby”.

Granted, a nation that takes a Ted Cruz or a Scott Walker seriously is not exactly a bastion of civil rights, but last night a transgender was given 2 hours in prime time. During that time Jenner was treated with dignity and respect and allowed to tell his story. He was surrounded by his loving family. Interviewer Diane Sawer did not editorialize. There was no post-interview roundtable of talking heads thrown together to sop the bible belt. When it was over Facebook and Twitter lit up with praise. The normal haters did the normal hating, but it seemed so rote….so connect-the-dot like…..lines pulled out of some goober playbook. Irrelevant.

In short, when all was said and done, America said……”good on you Bruce. Be happy.” And then went to bed. My Mom watched, and she told me…..”I just wish he was prettier…” and that was that. The perfect response. My Mom is as cool as it gets.

(People seemed more surprised that he came out as a conservative Republican than they were hearing that he wanted to be a woman. The sound I heard, which I initially thought was thunder, was John Boehner’s head exploding when Jenner said he would gladly discuss his plight with the speaker of the house…..and expect forward movement on LGBT rights. Good luck there Brucie.)

In my lifetime, this nation has gone from Jim Crow, to an African American in the White House. From gays hiding themselves away behind locked doors, to gays proudly marching down the Avenue of the Americas. Even the hint of a gay character on TV was greeted by the bible police as a sign of the apocalypse. Now, we simply don’t give a shit.

In many cases, not giving a shit is a glorious sign of acceptance.

I don’t pretend to understand what it feels like to be born a man and want to be a woman. But that’s the trough we need to navigate. I can’t pretend to know what it feels like to be a black man in the inner city being flagged down by a cop car either. We can never know such things until we can walk in the shoes of others. And all to often, those shoes simply don’t fit.

So what then?

Well….we can listen.

How hard can that be? Well…..pretty damn hard if we fail to filter out all the noise first.

Judge not lest ye be judged. It’s astounding to me how many God-fearing folk forget this little nugget.

What Jenner did was incredibly brave. Any time you raise your head above the parapet you invite rocks to the head.

We should all be allowed to live our lives the way we want to live them…..to love who we want to love….without fear of repression. As long as in doing so we do no harm.

And really, why should I give a shit that Bruce Jenner wants to be a woman?

How is it in any way my business? Live and let live. Another nugget.

But is he a “hero”? We use that word a lot.

That depends on how high your bar is. If winning a gold medal is heroic, then surely so is this.

I don’t think running faster than somebody else makes you heroic, and I don’t think deciding to live your life the way you want to live it is heroic either. Men and women run fast every day. They push through their own lives with dignity every day. Nobody calls them heroes.

Fred Shuttlesworth was a hero. Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi. Kids who fight cancer are heroes.

Bruce Jenner is simply a good man. A good father. By all accounts a good friend. He should be thought of as nothing more. And nothing less. I’m sure he’d agree.

Our nation has come so far…..and yet we still have incredible distances to travel. Sometimes I wish we would run as fast as Jenner did in 1976 in Montreal….but maybe just knowing that we keep putting one foot in front of the other is enough.

Good on you, Bruce. Thank you.

In a bit..

– tf

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. jimbob
    April 29, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    so now it is safe for you to transition 🙂

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