Watching I Am Cait

I am watching Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show. I’m addicted to reality shows and I really am fascinated with this story. For a lot of reasons, the biggest being that this issue isn’t going away and I want to know how to deal with it as a Catholic evangelist. Pretending it’s not happening, that the world thinks this is good or turning our backs on people with transgender issues isn’t an option in my opinion. Neither is beating them over the head with our faith. That’s very hard, I understand that because I have a son who is now an adult living his own life on his own terms and even though it isn’t transgender issues, it’s still tempting for me to shove Jesus down his throat. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work and only pushes people away, no matter what anyone thinks. 

There is so much about Caitlyn’s story that reminds me of my conversion. I’m not really sure what to make of that, it’s just an observation that I find interesting and no, I’m not saying that it’s the same thing, just that I see similarities. 

I do have some questions though. 

I would really like to know exactly how wanting to wear a dress makes someone a woman. I’m not being snarky or rude at all, but for the longest time feminists have been saying the gender is a social construct because liking dresses and the color pink doesn’t make someone a girl. Now, I agree to a certain extent because those things don’t make someone a female, biology makes one female (and no matter what surgery a person has your biology as far as male or female, stays the same) or male. So now we have Caitlyn Jenner on TV with an expert saying that because Bruce wanted to wear dresses as a child, he has always been female. 
Also, how is it that there are signs saying “I was born this way” and then those who feel they were “born this way” have to change HOW they were born to be who they were born as? Again, I’m not being snarky or rude and I am posting on my blog so everyone can read it so I don’t expect any rude or snarky comments because I have gay friends and family and I expect them to be respected. However, respect doesn’t mean not asking questions. I realize that it’s typical of our culture to say that not agreeing or asking for logical answers is considered “mean”, but I like to discuss things logically and that requires asking questions. 

I hear Jenner speak a lot about fitting in. I know that feeling of not fitting in. But look, I don’t fit in with pagans or with Catholics. I fit in with drunks who pop pills on a regular basis. I can function like that the best. I’m productive, I am happy and I’m comfortable in my skin. But nobody would ever encourage me to go back to being a stoned drunk. So where do we draw the line and why? And “it’s not the same thing”, isn’t an argument. I want to know why one is fine and one isn’t. Maybe nobody reading this has the answer, maybe you’ll ask yourself my questions and wonder about the answers. 

I really hope that there are other Catholics who wonder how we as a Church move forward on this issue in a way that is both truthful and loving and not in that bullshit way that people say “I am being loving by speaking the truth of how disgusting this is”. But truly loving. The love that all us sinners find in a confessional when we confess our own disordered behavior. 


10 thoughts on “Watching I Am Cait

  1. I love the way that you say things that practically everybody is afraid to say. You ask questions that way, too. It just really makes me happy, because you aren’t pretending at all. You’re just who you are, searching for truth and assuming—no, KNOWING that there is objective truth out there and that it is not too difficult for us to understand. I would love to be a fly on the wall when you talk to God like this. Keep on keeping on, honey. You rock.


  2. Somehow that does not surprise me even a little bit. But it sure makes me happy. You should see me, grinning so hard that my cheek muscles are beginning to hurt!

    What does surprise me is that some people don’t dare to talk to God like that. Haven’t they ever argued with somebody they love? Do they think God is going to lose it when all they want is an honest answer?

    God is good. Confusing, annoying, difficult, sure. But God is Love, and He loves us too much to spoil us by giving us only an easy life. He loves us so much that he takes the chance of our rejecting Him. God blows my mind. Yours, too, I bet.


  3. I’ll try to answer these questions as best I can. Being a transgendered woman is not about wearing dresses. (I’ve got a family member who’s transgendered, and she very strongly prefers jeans.) It’s about extreme body image issues. (I can somewhat relate, being a very physically fit person trapped in an injured, slightly mobility impaired, and consequently somewhat flabby body. It’s not fun looking in the mirror and seeing a reflection that is not you.)

    Fitting in isn’t important for its own sake, but for safety. Xenophobes aren’t easily convinced to avoid reacting violently to those who stand out, so transgendered people (and relatives who want to help keep them safe) are a bit more concerned about unobtrusively “passing.”

    I familiarized myself with standards of care for people with gender dysphoria and found that treatment via gender reassignment is not undertaken lightly, but typically after counseling, medication, and behavioral therapy prove inadequate, at which point I could in my own clinical opinion see it as necessary in some cases to save someone’s sanity and even his or her life.

    Regarding how to deal as a Catholic, so far I’m trying to stick with the words of St. Francis of Assisi. “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”


  4. Ok, so then why say “born this way”. Wouldn’t that mean that how you are born is wrong?

    Thank you for your comment. I am not trying to debate, I’m trying to understand.


  5. It is very bold of you to watch this TV show. I have so far successfully avoided it.

    Jenner seems to feel that being a woman involves a lot of sitting around with other women and talking about makeup. That is not my experience, having been a woman all my life. Also in there is the idea that Caitlyn Jenner turned out to be a 30 year old woman, not a 65 year old woman. Unlike Bruce Jenner, who was (is) a 65 year old man.

    But what we all have to remember, I think, is that the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner person is not necessarily even slightly representative of transgender people. I have known several, and they are not at all like Jenner. For example, most of the transgender people I know, not to mention most of the non-transgender people I know, do not feel that the essence of femininity is talking about (thinking about) clothes, makeup and nail polish. (I read somewhere that Jenner said that one of his/her life dreams is being able to wear nail polish until it chips off.)

    A lot if not all of this is in fact a publicity stunt, performed by someone who apparently has such a desperate need for our attention that he/she is willing to do or say almost anything to get it. Also, he/she will make a lot more money from this reality TV show if a lot of us run out and watch it. Of course the real mission in life of that cover on Vanity Fair magazine (like all other covers on Vanity Fair) is to sell as many Vanity Fair magazines as possible. That in fact is its ONLY mission in life. Anything else is just gravy from the point of view of the model, the photographer and the magazine.

    So in sum I would be wary of generalizing. Unless you run in far difference circles than I do, you are most unlikely ever to encounter Jenner in person, so you will not be called upon to produce any reaction to him/her at all, either positive or negative. Other transgender people whom you do encounter in real life should be treated with charity. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated.


  6. Because I have watched this unfold from way before Jenner transitioned, I don’t think it is a PR stunt. Something is “off” but it’s not that and if it is, it isn’t being done on purpose for fame. Jenner already had both fame and money.

    Also, Caitlyn isn’t just sitting around talking about make-up, clothes and such. She really is learning about the issues facing the LBGT community and isn’t always welcomed with open arms. I think part of the primping is because of being around the glam squads for so long, it’s part of where Jenner comes from, the Kardashian clan.

    I like Jenner as a person, even though I disagree that this transition is going to take away whatever wound she seems to think it will.

    Everyone is to be treated with charity.


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