Dear Caitlyn Jenner
Quite honestly, I didn’t recognise you at first glance as I scrolled past the cover of Vanity Fair on my newsfeed yesterday. I have followed your news-drawing story each day – from the triumphs and progress, to the hard days and the tears and the tough choices. Quite honestly, I don’t know if I would have the same courage as you.
You are beautiful. Quite honestly, there will be those who disagree not because you aren’t beautiful but because they don’t understand and that is their own shortcoming. As much as you need them to extend compassion to you, know that they too need your compassion. Quite honestly, I’m fists up and rearing to go this morning as, one by one, people in the office are discovering who you are. Not who you were, who you are. One such discovery was met this morning with: “Wat die vok is verkeerd met hom?” In English, that translates to: “What the fuck is wrong with him?”
Quite honestly, you ignorant imbecile, two things you should be blatantly aware of: firstly, there is nothing “wrong with him”. Secondly, it’s “her”. Quite honestly, Caitlyn, I think I would have been fired had I voiced the explicit opinion I hold so I held my tongue and I am sorry for that. A face skewed by so much disdain should only be met with a fist. That kind of judgement has no business in preserving life – trans or not. We are human.
Quite honestly, I can’t imagine everything that you have gone through – exacerbated by the extensive media coverage. Did that make it easier as you had no choice but to confront every bit of change head on? What kinds of questions did they ask? Did you always give an answer? People can be mean – myself included – and on behalf of humans, I wish you all strength.
All this to remind you that you are beautiful, even when you have bad hair days. This is by no means the end but quite honestly, I think you know that. Beauty is not just defined by external, this is another thing you know. After all, you have been true to yourself and that is most beautiful of all. Do not let them take that away from you. Quite honestly, they will try and you should be prepared to fight. There’s an army standing behind you.
You have opened up a way for people to talk about things they don’t understand, things they don’t support but want to know more about, things they’ve never heard of before, things they can choose to stand up for. Quite honestly, maybe that’s the most courageous thing of all. Yes, you’re the talking point of a lot of conversations but dare I say, quite honestly, that the conversations are more important; you will not always be in every headline, but you have done us the great favour of making it easier to have other conversations, to approach other headlines. This is the legacy that you leave.
Dearest Caitlyn, do not apologise. Do not back down nor make excuses. Do not hide away. Do not doubt yourself. Whether you like it or not, some people will make their own brave decisions because of you. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also the easiest thing to accept because you have already accepted yourself.
I take my proverbial hat off to you.