Caitlyn Jenner: Taking Us All To School

Caitlyn Jenner: Taking us all to SchoolPINIMAGE



For the past few weeks the whole world, it seems, is abuzz with congratulations for Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out.


I’d like to offer my congratulations as well… and confusion.


I’m not morally outraged- so if your’e already building up a head of steam- blow it off someplace else.


It’s always a happy day when a person takes a step towards their authentic self, even if we don’t entirely understand it, and THAT’S where I am– happy for her– but puzzled.


Class is in session.


 I grew-up playing with, among others, two lesbian little girls and three gay little boys.


There wasn’t a ‘word‘ that I knew for their preferences (at the time) just that they weren’t exactly like me. That was fine. Who cared? They still played a great game of Bullrush and Bicycle Tag. They still bought tickets to my one-woman Variety shows that I staged in my parents living room. An audience is an audience people.


 One of my friends had a father that cross-dressed, and one of our babysitters, Miss Guest, dressed like a man– suits, ties, bound breasts, and a buzz cut. She  played a mean game of poker. We bet my father’s hand rolled cigarettes.


I mention all of this because I don’t think I’ve lived in a bubble.


I ‘get’ that some people are more comfortable in a skin that eluded them at birth.


From what I know about Caitlyn Jenner, she felt this way also, and after a few stalled starts, finally decided to embrace herself fully.


I don’t want to get into the whole ‘She Looks Beautiful!’ thing, and the ‘Look at Her at 65!’ because, really, does that matter? Why are those attributes suddenly trumping the fact the she was also a world class athlete and is an astute business person?


Jesus. Put a pair of tits on it and the world can’t see anything else.


I think what’s important, in this new chapter in her life, is that she’s made a very public transition that will forward the discussion on what it means to be transgendered.


And I’m waiting… to learn.


Here’s what I do ‘understand’.

  • Some people strongly identify with the opposite gender.

  • Some people strongly feel they are the wrong gender.

  • Some people can do something about it.


She did… with cosmetic surgery, and letting her hair grow long, and breast implants, and a waist cinching bustier, but she still has all of the male genitalia.


Boys and Girls,

Please open your text books to page…


I’ve heard that a man can have altering surgery that creates a kind of false vagina, that the penis can be removed and the urethra relocated.


This would seem to complete the transference.


Jesus. I might need to take notes.


It would also make sense to me, in my little heterosexual brain, if the newly transgendered person were sexually attracted to their new opposite gender.


Homework will be acquiring a Phd-level of expertise in Quantum Sexual-Psychology Physics, by recess tomorrow.


But this doesn’t seem to be the case with Caitlyn.


When asked by Diane Sawyer about this very thing, Caitlyn said, No, she was still attracted to women…


and… I need a tutor.


So, let’s see if I’ve got this straight:


Bruce, as far as I know, who was never sexually attracted to men and still isn’t, is now emotionally (and almost fully physically) a woman, who still prefers the sexual company of women.


Mom. I think I have a headache.

Can I just stay home today?


Does this make Caitlyn a transgendered lesbian, or is there some other subject matter I need to add to my life education…


and understanding?


School’s not Out this summer.


I’ll keep my No2 pencils sharpened…


and show up on time.

  • LInda Roy - My next door neighbor and best friend from childhood is a lesbian. Only, I didn’t know it then. I just wondered why she stole my bathing suit when she persuaded me to go skinny dipping and why she always wanted to sit in the basement and look through her older brother’s Hustlers. Was there something in the water in Cleveland? KIDDING!

    When I wrote about this, I went for the “She’s prettier than me” joke, but the more time I’ve had to think about it (about 5 minutes) I realize how much of a disservice that actually does to the transgendered community, because YEAH, put tits on it and all accomplishments go out the window. Exactly. Jon Stewart did a bit on that and it’s true. Welcome to the world of women, Caitlyn. Now check your gold medal at the door.

    I’m confused about the sexual issue too. Is she a lesbian now? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Jerry. But it’s something we need to put on the syllabus.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I think she is a lesbian now but she says No, it’s more complicated then that. That’s for sure! And CLEVELAND does have a strange water supply. The stories I could tell!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa at Grandma's Briefs - The whole thing is confusing to me on so many levels. But, I firmly believe to each his own and there’s really no need for me (or anyone else) to get it. As long as we’re all kind and compassionate regardless of another’s choice, that’s good enough for me and all I need to understand and support and applaud. (Haters will be haters, unfortunately. Another thing I don’t get.)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I so agree, but I still want to be more comfortable with this- and education/understanding will help that. I could look the other way, but I’m not sure that’s the direction that will shut-down the haters.ReplyCancel

  • Helene Cohen Bludman - I’m with you, Cheryl. She has dodged the question about being a lesbian. Maybe the confusion will be cleared up when her new reality show begins.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Reality shows are our new schools aren’t they. Jesus.ReplyCancel

  • Anita Irlen - We’re all getting an education. What I find interesting is how generally accepting society (except for Clint Eastwood) seems to be, or am I living in a bubble? However, some of those seemingly welcoming and accepting people, are still finding ways to slam Caitlyn, and other transsexual people, by telling them they are not this, they are that, they can’t call themselves this etc. etc. Never fails to surprise me how people want to stake a claim on truth. Let’s just let Caitlyn be Caitlyn.


    • Cheryl - Yes. I just hope this isn’t all about the proper use of pronouns!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Carter - Oh, do I just LOVE the way you approached this, Cheryl! It made me laugh, and nod my head in total agreement.

    I’m sharpening my pencil too… and I think there will ALWAYS be more lessons to learn in all of this. I think I might need additional tutoring, actually. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thanks Chris. I wanted to express my questions from a more intellectual (hahaha) p-o-v because I’m NOT morally outraged, just not knowing where to put this on the ever expanding sexual spectrum. Thanks for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - I completely agree with you and I’m glad for the lesson. I hate the media frenzy and honestly I think she should be allowed to simply be happy. I wish her the best. I don’t have to know the rest.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - But that’s the ‘thing’ I want to understand it all, but if I never get the chance, I just want her to be happy.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - You, my friend, have elaborated beautifully on the exact definition of tolerance and empathy. We can be Team Caitlyn without fully understanding her. It’s OKAY to not know everything. We can also be completely fine with things we don’t necessarily agree with. We are unfortunately in an age where no one can disagree or question without the political correctness police tearing us a new one. Bravo, Cheryl.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I am tolerant. I do have empathy for her struggle (past & future) and with my scientific mind I want to know more- I want to understand. Thanks Kathleen. You’re a great cheerleader for me. I appreciate it.ReplyCancel

  • Karen @Baking In A Tornado - I had the exact same questions. I was distressed, during the interview when Bruce stated that he would have stayed married to Kris. It sort of implied less than support by Kris. But Kris is heterosexual and Bruce was becoming a woman. So staying together would have made Kris a lesbian? Yeah, I’ve got a lot to learn too.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - He said he would have stayed married to Kris? I didn’t catch that. Kris must be soooo confused? Was it all an emotional lie?ReplyCancel

  • Janie Emaus - I’m with you on this! When do our lessons start?ReplyCancel

  • Donna Highfill - Yes, it is a bit confusing. I think the best story about this is that Caitlyn can no longer play at the nicer golf course at her club, and must eat in a smaller, cheaper restaurant. Now the story of being a woman begins.ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Hodor Greenthal - There are some studies that indicate that taking hormones can have some impact on sexual orientation, but not much. As long as Caitlyn has a penis, sexually she would be a heterosexual. If she has gender reassignment surgery, she would then be a lesbian, assuming she is still attracted to women. The difference is transgender (pre-surgery) vs. transsexual (when the surgical reassignment is done). What matters most is how SHE identifies herself.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Connolly - I’m also puzzled. I missed that part about her not being attracted to men. I just hope she is happy with her choice and can live a fulfilled life now.ReplyCancel

  • Jane Gassner - You said it, sister. I find myself–a genuine, card-carrying Second Wave feminist totally supportive of all aspects of LGBT from the days before they were an acronym–feeling perturbed at the Jenner HooHah circus. Who’s to say what someone feels inside, but really–is this what it took to get centerstage with the Kardashians? Enquiring minds want to know…..ReplyCancel

  • Elena Peters - I came away from the lesson with more questions than answers! Lol I LOVE the line “put tits on it”. How very true.ReplyCancel

  • David Stillwell - I can relate to Caitlyn on many levels. If you consider Bruce, and all that he achieved… the medals, accolades, praise, and adoring fan… then you can see that as he ages all of that disappears. Records, achievements, spotlight… it all fades. It is replaced by NFL stars who beat their wives, Lindsay Lohan and her addiction, and so many other things that REALLY do not matter. I can see Caitlyn as a way to stay current.

    If you consider Bruce as a role. Father, husband, son, brother, etc… you can see that maybe this was not a happy role for him. He maybe makes a better mother, sister, and daughter than he did any of those male role tags.

    The parts of him who have change do not really change who he was/is on the inside. His currently look is merely a more perfect expression of who he is on the inside. Softer, finer, and more feminine.

    Does this have to do with sex? No, not so much. It is more akin reflecting truly who you are without the aspect of Gender. Is he a he or a her? It does not matter, he is Caitlyn and that is all we really need to know.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was suggested yesterday, on my Twitter feed, that this all had to do with ‘pronouns’ he/her/she/him. This ‘person’ actually sent me a utube video rant. All ‘she’ could talk about was the use of pronouns and how to NOT use them correctly was disrespectful. I thought I had. I answered back by saying something along the line of ‘it can’t be only about the pronouns’. I asked her to tell me more about what led her to this identity. The young girl was silent. Maybe I asked the wrong question. Maybe she was too young to know the answer. Maybe she just had to go to work and didn’t have the time.

      I’m very grateful that YOU took the time to write such a beautifully thoughtful comment. I have a greater understanding because of it. Like always, David, you have expanded my understanding of the world and people.ReplyCancel

      • David Stillwell - I think as a culture we tend to look at boxes. Does it fit in this box, that box, or whatever. We really need new boxes, but first we had best acquire the mindset to accept that the numbers and types of box we currently have are not the complete set.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Yes. The ‘set’ is not complete. I suppose it never will be and that’s part of the journey- both as humans and as a human culture, but tight little boxes are sooo comfy! Hahahaaa.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Curran - OK, I got stuck on the one woman show! I can just see you on stage Cheryl — in your full glory! I love that image :)!

    Personally, I am as taken in by the details of Caitlyn Jenner’s journey as I am by the rest of the clan — that is not at all…. I would much rather go to your one woman show in your magnificent garden. Wouldn’t that be the best?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I was a very theatrical kid. It’s a wonder that I didn’t go into ‘Theatre’, but then again, maybe I did. I do write this blog. HahahaaaReplyCancel

  • Carolann - Well, you seemed to have summed up exactly how many of us are feeling about this situation. I’m with you – confused! All I know is I wish her good luck and much happiness. I’ve spent more than my allotted 15 mins thinking about her lol.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I think almost everyone feels the same way- Happy for her. I’m really sorta proud of the way everyone in the USA has responded. I think we’re more openminded then we all thought we were. That’s ‘something’ worth talking about.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - LOL at “put a pair of tits on it…” Well, yeah, and I am with Jane, what a friggin circus it’s turned into. Hubby and I were talking that she should have stopped at the Diane Sawyer interview. He was particularly outraged at Jenner’s comment on getting that courage award: “WTF do I wear?” As my husband said, “what a bimbo!” Looks like Caitlin fits right into the Kardashian circus. And also I do love that my hubby so naturally called a transgendered person a bimbo. Just like he would a born-in-the-right-skin bimbo. We’re ok, SHE’S confused!ReplyCancel

  • Selfish Mom - So very confusing. I guess as long as she understands what she’s feeling…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You’re right- as long as she does, but since this is so very public, I’m thinking I’d like to understand too! HahaaaaReplyCancel

  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega - Hi Cheryl! You’re not alone. I’m very confused myself and like you, I didn’t grow up in a bubble either. Could being around the ‘Ultra Feminine’ Kardashian women have affected him psychologically? Or did he always feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s seems he always felt like a woman but I’m pretty sure being around all of that estrogen sealed the deal.ReplyCancel

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