I'm typically pretty quiet about my beliefs. That is, until something truly and deeply pisses me off.
And today, it's Caitlyn Jenner.
No: it's not Caitlyn Jenner herself (who, for anyone who doesn't know, is the woman - and YES, that's what she is now - formerly known as Bruce). More accurately, it's the hate-spewing assholes who are bashing her. And more specifically, it's those who are saying there's nothing heroic about what she is doing.
I can't imagine what it's like to live your entire life feeling like you're not being true to yourself. I'm so fortunate to not be in that position - but for those who are, I'm sure it's a nightmare. Inside, they feel one way, while outside, the world expects them to be completely different. To go against what feels natural to them, simply to appease someone else's idea of what they "should" be. Transgendered people are fighting this sort of internal turmoil, every day. It's a struggle that costs lives - like Leelah Alcorn's. Like many others who have felt strongly enough about this to die because of it. How dare anyone say this is not "real" or "legitimate" and that these people are just sick?
Here's the thing that pisses me off the most. I have seen no shortage of Facebook posts today about how "we shouldn't call Caitlyn Jenner a hero because what she's doing pales in comparison to ... (insert war hero/conservative activist/Duggar here)." I'm throwing down the bullshit card so hard it's bouncing off the table. WHY do people think it's necessary to have to different levels of heroism? I agree: comparing Caitlyn Jenner to a war veteran is indeed ridiculous. But only because that's like comparing apples and oranges.
I'll tell you what, anyone who is using that weak-ass rant: the next time you see on Facebook that someone has died of cancer - and there are comments like, "She fought so bravely" - I DARE you to use this same line of reasoning and say, "Oh, you think that's brave? Well (insert war hero/conservative activist/Duggar here) ... now that person embodies true bravery." I guarantee, someone will quickly rip you the new one that you so rightly deserve.
Heroism and bravery are so, so subjective. From the small acts that we consider personal triumphs to the selfless sacrifices of those who give their all for social change - any one of those things can be defined as such. Caitlyn Jenner may not be charging into war and obliterating the enemy for the sake of a free America. But do you know what she is doing? She is very publicly acknowledging what is a very private - and unfortunately, very shameful - battle for lots of people. And for those people, she is a hero - because her bravery may well be the difference between their happiness and their sad, untimely, unnecessary demise.
Carry on, Caitlyn. Carry. On.