Opinion

Caitlyn Jenner’s experience will help others

ONE particular news piece has dominated this week, and that's the unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner, who was once America's athletic hero of the 1970s, Caitlyn Jenner.

Transgender has been celebrated in Australia since Caitlyn Jenner was still an Olympian.

Our widely acclaimed transgender performer, Carlotta, has been embraced by our nation since she graced the stage with the other Les Girls in the 70s.

Prior to that, our favourite "man in a dress" has been performing to crowds since the 60s, and is even honoured by the Queen for it.

Although he is not transgender, Dame Edna Everage is a cross-dressing hero to many, and one of our greatest icons.

So for a lot of Australians this is nothing new or ground-breaking.

But what does make this story so intriguing is the fact that Caitlyn Jenner was a powerhouse of a man and a symbol of American strength.

What Caitlyn Jenner has done is blow open the door for transgender acceptance, to an audience greater than anyone else has ever been able to achieve.

I hope more transgenders can show their existence, and move forward in society without prejudice.

We have the science that allows people to be who they feel they are on the inside, so surely this is a positive thing?

The transgender community has the highest rate of suicide attempts and substance abuse over any other marginalised sections of society, so hopefully Caitlyn's story helps other families with acceptance and lowers the statistics in this area.

Around the area of Redfern in inner Sydney, where I worked in the police, there is a large transgender community, so each person had to be dealt with in respect to their preferences.

Being identified as a certain sex, or in a most recent case, being legally known as no sex at all, initiates many rights for that individual.

These are rights that we as "cisgender" people take for granted, such as whether you are searched by a male or female police officer.

Or, for the more law-abiding citizens, which public toilets you use.

When you're in an area such as this, being different is normal so people's choices aren't as intimidating as you may think.

A lack of understanding will breed intolerance so if we can learn anything from Caitlyn's transition, it's that we really can't categorise "normal" anymore.

Topics:  opinion, tj hamilton



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