A friend suggested I write a piece about my thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner on the Vanity Fair Cover. I cringed. To do that would require me to really nut out how I felt about the matter. I didn’t know how I felt about it, except that the whole idea made me feel off. Whether that’s on the basis of Jenner’s choice, Jenner’s pain or the thought of having an opinion that differed (or perhaps all three), I wasn’t sure. However staying in my ignorance about these feelings was certainly not going to be of any benefit.
So I ventured to a nearby café to sit and think about why I felt like this in regards to Jenner’s situation the publication in a high profile magazine. I am going to refer to him as a he for the purpose of this article, this does not mean I value Caitlyn Jenner any less. The first step was to read this cover story pre-release on Vanity Fair, it included this video:
I wrote down my raw thoughts immediately after watching and they flowed as follows:
- Kudos to Vanity Fair for employing the best celebrity photographer – Annie Leibovitz. Her work is out of this world. If I’m ever famous – Annie, my agent will be contacting you.
- He does look quite pretty for a man, the plastic surgeons did well.
- My heart sinks to think that he lived his life with so many ‘secrets’ ‘always having to tell a lie’ with no doubt so much pain as a result of the identity crisis.
- I’m concerned that he ties his happiness so much to the gender transformation. He says he will be ‘free’ as soon as the Vanity Fair cover is released. Will he really feel true happiness and content as a result? My heart sinks because I think that the answer is no. Whilst he will likely have an initial sense of freedom, it is also likely that this will wear off. Anyone who has kept a secret for over 20 years is going to feel free once you are completely open with all about it. Why do you think the Catholics love the idea of confession to a priest? It feels good to get something off your heart to another person, especially something you’ve felt bad about.
- He speaks of having a panic attack after having the facial surgery, worried and asking himself what he had done. A counselor assured him this would be temporary. However I wonder whether these doubts and feelings will be temporary? At age 65 will he ever be able to be fully transformed into thinking as a woman, being everything he desires Caitlyn Jenner (his new name) to be? It takes time, as Bruce said, he still introduced himself as Bruce the other day. Is he too old to make this change?
- Whilst Vanity Fair and Jenner will make significant money as a result of this publication, I fear it fails to consider the follow up impacts of such surgery and gender transformation. This shields others who are struggling from the same things from seeing the future hardships Jenner will likely experience. I would love to see a follow up 10 years down the track. However, unfortunately, unless Jenner makes an epic public breakdown that the media can capitalize upon, pride and confidentiality agreements with his counselors will likely restrict the depth of any review. The point is, kids, before you try this one, read the results of real studies and speak to counselors early on – don’t let it fester for years on end.
- God created us for relationship with him and as a result, when we are not in an a real friendship with God, we will always have a longing for something more. It’s like when God made us he made us with a ‘God hole’ inside our heart that only ever works properly when filled with the perfect shape plug. That plug is Jesus, the one who brings us to perfect relationship with God. Usually, we have an ideal that will leave us forever happy (perfect body, great family, wealth, successful career, owning homes, relationships with great sex etc). If we reach these ideals that make us feel ‘free’, it is never really fully satisfying. These things give temporary happiness because they are all the wrong ‘shape’ for our God hole and eventually fall out.
A perfect example is when I was so obsessed with working out and eating well that I was 10 kilos lighter than I am now and still thought I had more to go. I was never satisfied even though I was losing weight. I wasn’t fully confident in who I was in Christ – a woman who was so loved by God that he chose not to ask me to do anything to win his favour, only the honour to be in a relationship with him and to accept that Christ had paid the debts for all my wrongs on the cross. Talk about something that lifts a weight and is freeing!! This is the only way that Jenner (and any of us) will find ever-lasting peace and hope.
- We need to love those who struggle like Jenner did/does. No one should have to keep such struggles secret for such a long time. You don’t have to endorse another’s decisions to love them, listen to them and be their true friend. We are not to judge another (as perhaps I did when I saw Jenner’s lifestyle), one God is enough for that job. Let each of us give our own account to God for our actions. Pray that we will all have Christ stand before us on that day and say ‘they’re with me Father, I took their punishment and now they call you Lord’. For now, God calls us to love one another. So do it and don’t judge.
What are your thoughts on Jenner being on the front of Vanity Fair? How does it make you feel?