Bruce Jenner, Celebrity Praise, and What the Trans Community Needs Now

Posted on May 1, 2015 | 1 comment

It’s been a week since the “interview the world is waiting for” has aired. Bruce Jenner announced to the world that he (current pronouns of choice) is a transgender woman. Twitter was on fire during the interview and a few hours later with dozens upon dozens of celebrities posting tweets in support of Jenner — from Lady Gaga to Sam Smith, Miley Cyrus to Jimmy Fallon and my personal favorite, Ricky Martin. There’s even a new trend now for people to paint their fingernails in a show of support. That’s nice, but…

Celebrities, if I may be so bold in saying this, praising Bruce is a great but we need you to speak up for every trans person, to be just as loud and vocal about ensuring trans rights, and to help end the prejudices that lead to so much violence against the trans community.

What I’ve learned from personal experience in the last year is that one small voice can have a huge impact. Celebrities, you already know that your words and actions carry a lot of weight and can influence people, for good or bad. Will you please take the enthusiasm you’ve shown for Bruce and spread the love to the trans community as a whole?

I was especially pleased to see so many L, G, and B celebrities coming out to support a T celebrity. It’s a painful truth that there’s often a division between the letters of the LGBT family. We need to harness this positive energy into promoting further progress for the most at-risk in the community.

As marriage equality rolls across the land, the trans community is seeing a backlash. Despite the moment of the “Transgender Tipping Point” touted last summer, anti-trans rhetoric is increasing. Anti-trans “bathroom bills” have been proposed in several states. Non-discrimination policies covering trans students are being reconsidered and rescinded in school districts across the country. Suicides among trans teens are occurring at an alarming rate. And let’s not forget how 6 trans women of color were murdered in the first two months of the year, that we are still waiting for justice for Islan Nettles who was murdered in 2013 and that TWoC have a life expectancy of only 35 years.

Celebrities, what will you do to support *these* trans lives? Will you help promote petitions or attend rallies against the bathroom bills? Will you show and celebrate the stories of other trans people on your social media pages so that your followers can see what the rest of the community looks like? Will you push for more positive depictions of trans characters (or even better, promote the hiring of trans actors) in your movies and tv shows? Will you help the 92% of Americans who don’t know a trans person see that trans women of color are humans deserving of the same dignity and respect as everyone else?

With my one small voice, I will keep showing the injustices my trans friends and loved ones face as they lose jobs, are discriminated against, and are assaulted verbally and physically. I will keep sharing the victories and positive stories of kids who transition and are welcomed by their friends and schools, of couples who stay together as a bonded family after a transition, and of trans people being promoted and elected into influential jobs. I will share the research about the damage of reparative therapy and push for laws to protect our youth. I will share the photos and names of trans women who are murdered for no other reason than being who they are, and I will push for justice in their names.

What will you do, celebrities, that will make a difference in these lives? You have influence. Please use it to help. Trans lives matter. All of them.



#translivesmatter #BruceJenner #transkids #twoc #bathroombills #LadyGaga #SamSmith #MileyCyrus #JimmyFallon #RickyMartin




1 Comment

  1. For me, celebrities don’t exist. It’s not that I am anti-celebrity, but its just that I grew up without TV so in my lifetime I will never be “star-struck”. To me they’re just regular people that many people know because they seem them all the time in movies. It’s just another job.

    They’re not supporting b. Jenner because he’s trans. They’re supporting him because he is a celebrity. The moment they do as you say, which is to support trans Jenner and trans is the moment that they truly gain my respect. Thank you for a well-written and factual article.

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