Caitlyn Jenner, born as Bruce Jenner, on October 28th, 1949, is an American Olympic track and field athlete who won gold for the United States at the 1976 Montreal Olympic games. She later starred in several movies, and, most notably, was often featured on Keeping Up With the Kardashians while married to Kris Jenner.
At this point, it’s no longer “news” that Bruce Jenner has become Caitlyn Jenner, but the discussions surrounding the woman don’t seem to be dying down. On Monday, June 1st, 2015 in a blink of an eye and a few well-timed tweets the world was introduced to Caitlyn Jenner — a brave, inspirational, and tremendously strong woman. The fact that Bruce Jenner identified as a woman was known since April, when Bruce spoke about her gender dysphoria, came out as a trans woman, and told 20/20 magazine that she has felt this way since early childhood. The 20/20 interview revealed that Bruce had already undergone some hormone replacement therapy in the past, but decided to stop after meeting Kris Kardashian in the early 90s.
When Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself and started a Twitter account under her new name she gained 1 million followers in just over four hours. This allowed her to set a new Guinness World Record. Formerly (just a month prior) the record belonged to Barack Obama, who gained 1 million followers within four and a half hours. The tremendous amount of memes and jokes surrounding Caitlyn has spawned quite a few twitter bots that aim to inform and correct those who use the wrong gendered pronouns when speaking about Jenner.
Since Monday, many notable people have expressed their opinions on Caitlyn’s transformation.
Laverne Cox wrote a lengthy post on her tumblr about the importance of acceptance and support. Her post reflected upon the idea that trans women are still subjected to cisnormative beauty standards, and because very few people who identify as trans have the means and opportunities Caitlyn had, it’s important to be open, accepting, and supportive of all people (trans or otherwise) regardless of the way they look.
Many stars also chose to show their support through social media. The whole Jenner/Kardashian family, Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick, Emmy Rossum, Lady Gaga, and many other stars took to twitter and instagram to share their support and acceptance of Caitlyn.
Other stars and news services boldly treaded on the very edge of political correctness, misusing gendered pronouns, insisting on calling Caitlyn by her former name, and showing a general disregard for the wishes and desires of Caitlyn Jenner. Notably, Drake Bell (former child-star of Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh) tweeted “Sorry… Still calling you Bruce,” and received a noteworthy amount of criticism for this tweet.
And, of course, various media resources immediately accepted Caitlyn as a woman and began treating her persona as such — forgetting her notable athletic past and choosing to focus solely on her physical appearance, because that seems to be the only thing that matters in women anyway.
These are the basics that should generally keep you in the loop at your office’s water cooler, but if you would really like to be in the know I would recommend reading Laverne Cox’s post (which is available on her official tumblr); checking out Jon Stewart’s rant regarding media, sexism, and Caitlyn Jenner; and researching what Fox News had to say about the matter, as this will help you see both the great, the good, and the downright awful sides of news reporting and trans-acceptance in the United States today.
In July of 2015 an 8-part documentary series about Caitlyn Jenner’s transition will premier on E!. The series will be called “I Am Cait”, will feature interviews with Cait and her close friends, and will reveal more information about the transitional process.