A few things happened within the past 48hrs that made me decide to change the format and put a different spin on my public health book choice for June. Before I delve into the post and why I’m doing it different this month, I’ll tell you what is different; I’m going to be suggesting a few public health books. Nothing cray cray here. Just some suggestions at the end, and not a review.
Now, back to Monday.
Actually, think back to elementary school when you were in Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade and you came home after the first day of school. Aside from your parents maybe asking how your first day was, the next topic was who was in your class.
“Well, there’s a Sophia and two Adams, and two Stephanies, but one spells her name with an F, and mom! There’s another Caitlin in the class! But she spells it with a K, not a C like me”
Now as we get older the spelling of our colleagues and friends’ names become less important. That is, unless you are a Caitlin/Kaitlin/Katelyn/Caitlyn…etc…etc…etc. There are honestly an obscene amount of ways to spell the name Caitlin.
I’m a Caitlin.
When I meet another Caitlin one of the first things that happens is one of us will inevitably ask “are you a C or a K”. It’s like this super weird secret club handshake. Did anyone watch the cartoon show Recess back in the day? Remember the Ashleys? Ya it’s kinda like that.
In fact, two weeks ago I joined a new club soccer team and there’s a Kaitlin on the team. She was the one who asked if I was a C or a K.
At this point you may see where this post is going. If not: Monday the world gained a new Caitlyn.
A Caitlyn with a C, and a Caitlyn with a Y.
Pretty powerful stuff. And as a Caitlin, I was thrilled to welcome another Caitlyn to the world, (and she’s a C Caitlyn- bonus points!). ** The way in which Caitlyn Jenner has chosen to spell her name is not the focus here, it was merely a way for me to get to the topic**
I’m a Caitlin for Caitlyn.
Monday was a good day for the trans community. I think everyone who is a supporter of the LGBQT community can agree on some level that something positive can and will come from another individual stepping forward and publicly identifying as transgender. In the past 48hrs many transgender individuals or supporters have stepped forward or have been asked to voice their opinion on Caitlyn Jenner and what she will do for the trans community. Not every one of the opinions from the trans community has been 100% positive, some have voiced their concern of making the transition seem glamorous, fairly easy, or cashing in on the experience. But at the end of every interview I have seen or read since yesterday or this morning- every person has said that getting another trans woman out in the popular and very public eye can’t hurt, and will hopefully help others who are struggling with their own transitions.
Everyone has their own opinion on transgender individuals, I would like to think (and hope) that anyone reading or following my blog or page is in support of the entire LGBQT community. In the last 48hrs I’ve seen some amazing and incredible support of not only Caitlyn Jenner, but of the trans community. And I’ve also seen some absolutely disgusting comments or opinions voiced as well. What I am liking though, aside from the positive feelings and support, is that there are conversations opening up. I’ve seen people commenting “I’m not sure how I feel about a man becoming a woman but I hope she’s happy” or “I don’t really understand being transgender but good on Ms. Jenner for being true to herself”…and people responding to those comments positively, saying thank you for owning up to your unsure feelings and supporting or recognizing someone’s happiness.
Just because we are supporters, doesn’t give us the right to force or expect other individuals to 100% understand, or support the transgender community. It’s a process, and it’s uncomfortable for a chunk of people to think about. It takes steps. For me, I would like to think that I would never wish someone to be unhappy. One more happy woman in the world is better than an unhappy man, or someone taking their life because they can’t live a certain way that is true and honest to their own self. Whatever your personal feelings are towards the LGBQT community, and specifically the transgender community, the only thing I can ask is that you hope for people to be happy in their lives. Happy and healthy. You don’t have to join them at the next PRIDE Parade, or sign petitions for public restroom use (though you really should, and that’s a whole other topic)- but you should hope that they are happy with their decisions, with how they are living their lives and happy and honest with who they are.
And for anyone who is a Harry Potter fan… you should probably read what Evanna Lynch wrote about a week ago HERE – it’s pretty much amazing. She too is a crusader for happiness.
And then of course there was Laverne Cox and her wonderful words and reminders on the battle that the transgender community faces and not to forget these struggles HERE
Now back to the book suggestions for this month!…Yesterday morning I saw on Twitter that @Ninjasforhealth had posted a book that they were reading, and it was one that I had read a few months back (a professor from an advocacy course emailed our alumni group with this recommendation) and I thought that this may be a good time to provide some other transgender texts for those interested in learning more, or supporting. Again, I am no expert on the LGBQT community, but I am all for educating ourselves, and supporting happiness and equality (love and peace, ammirightttt? lol)
1.Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Rupaul, by Leslie Feinberg
2. Trans Forming Families: Real Stories about Transgendered Loved Ones, edited by Mary Boenke
3. Queer and Trans Artists of Color, edited by Jessica Glennon-Zukoff and Terra Mikalson
4. The Lives of Transgender People, by Genny Beemyn and Susan Rankin
I’m hoping a few people decide to read one or all of these in the next few weeks. They’re wonderful examples and texts on the transgender community. I’d love to hear what anyone thinks of these text choices!