Favorite

Hall out of touch on Jenner 

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist and sportswriter Wally Hall would like to say his recent column, "Bruce is Her Name, Greediness Is His Game," is about the money-grabbing moves of an athlete 40 years away from his days of glory.

Hall is much too out of touch to comment on this issue. Bruce Jenner, who is still going by Bruce and has not indicated a change of pronoun, is still very much relevant in today's culture, mainly due to his reality star status from "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and related projects. Jenner is 65, well beyond the age when the majority of athletes retire, and his career path is not uncommon to those looking beyond their athletic days. There are numerous prominent athletes who have moved onto high-profile non-sports related ventures from hosting talk shows, to pitching products in commercials, to running for political office. Bruce Jenner earned significant money from being part of a reality program; what is the difference?

But Jenner came out as a transgender woman, and the stereotype of a transgender woman and the stereotype of an Olympic athlete could not be further apart. But Bruce Jenner is not a stereotype — he is a human being. Jenner shared with ABC's Diane Sawyer and an international audience a very personal story, the same sort of story that puts other transgender people at risk of losing the support of family, friends, their employer and their faith communities when they share it. Even with his celebrity and financial status, Jenner can face discrimination for something so important to his identity: who he is as a person.

In a state like Arkansas, where transgender people lack legal protections in housing, employment, education and health care, stories like Jenner's allow for people to see the humanity and dignity of transgender people. The interview allowed for many late-night conversations that Friday night among families, probably including some about their loved ones coming out as transgender. Jenner's story provided common ground and experience to hopefully keep a family from being ripped apart by fear and lack of empathy. There are people who would prefer transgender people be invisible — in fact, a majority of Americans do not know a transgender person — but thousands of people in this state likely tuned in to see someone who they have watched for years share something intimate about himself. More people know now a transgender person because of Bruce Jenner.

Just because Bruce Jenner is transgender doesn't mean he should disappear from television. Before they come out, transgender people often find extraordinary ways to cope and live with what they are feeling inside to survive; some transgender women had very masculine jobs, joined the military and started loving families like Jenner did. Now at 65, Jenner should be able to still pursue his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as much as anyone else in this country. I know in my heart and my soul I am a transgender woman and proud to be one; being transgender shouldn't have to determine what I end up creating out of my life.

Hall's column had everything to do with Bruce Jenner's gender identity and his pretending otherwise is just an attempt to make the real Bruce Jenner invisible again.

Andrea Zekis is executive director of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition.

Favorite

Speaking of Bruce Jenner, Wally Hall

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Andrea Zekis

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas condones child abuse?

    If Harrises and Duggars go unpunished, yes.
    • Jun 4, 2015
  • Must address racial inequities

    We mourn for the families of the dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. As we grieve it's time to rekindle a conversation about race in America and press for the changes that the Emanuel congregation championed for centuries — changes that also made it a target.
    • Jun 25, 2015
  • Racism is systemic

    In a speech on Sunday at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Gov. Asa Hutchinson played directly into the narrative of respectability politics, where white people tell people of color how they should respond to a situation and condemn responses from others in the community experiencing anger, rage and other expressions of grief.
    • Jun 25, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Facing closure, Wilson Elementary families deliver angry message to school leaders

    "Why do you guys not care about your community? You’re tearing it down, not building it up, especially in the black community … It’s just a simple question — do you care?" one mother asked the superintendent. "Ma’am, I do care deeply about this district, and I do believe wholeheartedly we are making a better district every day," Poore replied.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Guest Writer

  • A better now

    The Boys and Men Opportunity Success Team (BMOST), an initiative led by a coalition of local stakeholders that includes the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, city of Little Rock, Arkansas Baptist College, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pulaski Technical College and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas, is determined to show you that what you see and hear about black and brown boys and men isn't the whole story.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Intro to ANNN

    The Arkansas Nonprofit News Network is an independent, nonpartisan news project dedicated to producing journalism that matters to Arkansans.
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • Help all veterans

    Veteran-specific bills often miss the mark on helping the most sympathetic military families by focusing on retirement income.
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • What? That was all made up? Oh my. Well, let's hope he gets busy on…

    • on January 22, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Pssst - Lyons plans to pen a column on why the donors stopped giving to…

    • on January 22, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • The funniest thing about all this is that Lyons never said that Russia invaded anyone…

    • on January 22, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation