I recently read a disturbing blog post by a self-proclaimed ‘Christian’ writer. Don’t bother reading it – you won’t miss much. But there are some glaring issues in “Bruce Jenner is Not a Hero” which need to be addressed. I’ve picked some of the worst parts here:
- “In today’s world, we think gender is something we get to choose…. Bruce Jenner is not a woman.”
- “You can tell me that there is a difference between gender and sex, that Bruce was born with a male body and a female soul, but I would ask where did he get this soul? If there is no God, we are all nothing more than raw matter, we have no souls.” (Then she uses an abhorrent number of masculine references to God.)
- “Bruce Jenner is not a hero. A hero is someone who has done something brave or noble, who has sacrificed for others. Bruce Jenner has done none of these things. He is a man who has posed in women’s clothing on the cover of a magazine, garnering excessive media attention.”
As a public theologian – and a life-long member of the LGBTQ community – I have to disagree with the entire post. But, I’ll especially respond to these three undocumented assumptions.
First, gender is not something we get to choose. Gender is a non-binary human construction. It is not “this” or “that;” one is not inherently better, stronger, or more appropriate than another. If you don’t allow Caitlyn to self-identify as a woman, what right do you have in identifying her as a man? You do make a good point though – God created them “male and female.” Great insight. But y’know what? God created night and day. And afternoon. And evening. And dawn. And everything in between. (Ironically, the name of this blog is Illuminating Truth. And yet the author, who has seen a great light, is still walking in darkness.)
Second, I would never say “Bruce was born with a male body and a female soul,” nor do I know many people who would use that phraseology. I believe that God made Caitlyn who she is. And if Caitlyn was born anatomically male yet spiritually female, then that was God’s intention for her. This is not a mistake, but a perfect example of God’s diverse creation. Furthermore, Caitlyn’s choice to match her biological being with her spiritual being – which is her choice – is not disregarding God’s creation but rather celebrating the good creature that God made.
Finally, no, you’re right. “Bruce Jenner is not a hero.” But Caitlyn Jenner IS, in fact, a hero. You say, “Heroes risk much and gain little.” And so, it is using your own definition that I challenge your statement. Caitlyn Jenner risked her own self identity and human dignity. She invited the world into the intimacy of her life. She became completely transparent and honest about who God made her. And as a result, she is gaining support from some and scrutiny from others. Instead of gaining “excessive media attention” as you suggest, I argue that she is gaining respect for those marginalized and oppressed in our world.
Y’know, those people Jesus broke bread with.
And speaking of him, you end your post hoping that Caitlyn will find Jesus. I wish the same for you.