Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Some thoughts on the Bruce Jenner photos

Yesterday Bruce Jenner presented photos of himself as a woman under the new name, Caitlyn Jenner, with a photo shoot in Vanity Fair Magazine. If you haven't seen the photo shoot, here it is.





This came with a simultaneous twitter premier.




I've since had some twitter discussions with some Jenner supporters including another trans woman who recommended the Youtube videos of Zinnia Jones, who seems to discuss that side pretty eloquently, albeit without really any scientific studies for support. I suggest watching them just to understand that point of view.


One part of Jenner's debut had me laughing out loud yesterday. As Ms Jenner donned her designer gown, had makeup artists touch up her face and a beautician brush her hair, she told the world that she was now "free".  She looked gorgeous and why not - Annie Leibovitz, the renowned photographer, was taking the pictures.

Today though, without the beauty team, in real light, handling make up and hair alone, it might not seem so freeing.  I turned 56 yesterday.  Jenner is 65.  I know that amount of work that it takes just to look this:

Easter 2015 024
and that's no where near the glam standards the former patriarch of the Kardashian clan will have to achieve, if the photo shoot is any indication. Two to three hours a day to for a 65-year-old former male to look like a 40-something female is going to be grueling, not freeing. Jenner isn't truly free - he just exchanged one set of restrictions for another. 
One of the folks tweeting with me shared that her surgery was covered by insurance in the state of Oregon.  I find that maddening. Women who want tummy tucks after years of childbearing have to pay out of pocket because it's considered cosmetic surgery.  But to change your gender is a covered benefit?  That makes no sense to me. Or just try to have insurance cover laser treatment or medication for onychomycosis, an actual medical disease and an infection of the body.  Nope - not covered because it's deemed as cosmetic, even though the thickened toenails are painful. So we are spending health care dollars to change healthy bodies, but not bodies with infection or altered by childbirth?  How does that make sense?
Years ago, in high school, I became anorexic.  I had anorexia nervosa before that ever became a widely known term. At 98 pounds, I still saw myself as being overweight. My mother and family doctor helped me to turn that around. When the body and the mind aren't in sync - that's a problem.  
Dr. Paul McHugh from Johns Hopkins recognizes this:
Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.
Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.
Lastly, although I'm sure transgender and same sex issues have always been with us, why are they so prominent now? 100 years ago, when our country was trying to just focus on food and shelter and promoting good health, those basics of human survival had to be the main thing. I suspect that seeing these sex and gender issues so prominently today are a result of many decades of prosperity and comfort. These are the issues of an affluent society. If the economy stalls or tailspins, I doubt these will be the things most Americans will care about. 

1 comment:

  1. I have had the same thoughts as you about so many topics. When people are always working to grow/raise/find food and stay alive, so many issues just don't matter so much.

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