To the cis idiots on Facebook comparing Caitlyn Jenner’s bravery and heroism to that of a combat veteran:
When someone goes to military service, they know what they’re signing up for. It’s not exactly a huge surprise when a soldier comes back disfigured, right? It’s sad, yes; it’s terrible, it’s horrifying. But is it unexpected? Not in the slightest.
When you are trans, you don’t sign up for that experience. You didn’t get to accept that risk. The only choice you have is to either live as someone who is not the real you, or come out and face the hell of public scrutiny. The only soldiers in recent times who even are comparable in terms of exposure to compulsory risk are those who were drafted, and yet even those soldiers were still respected when they came home and branded as heroes. As someone who is trans, you were volunteered by some mix of genetics and nurturing during your infancy to be who you are inside whether your body matches that configuration or not. If it does match, life is awesome. If it doesn’t, society still kinda thinks you’re a freak for the rest of your life after you come out. We’ve moved forward on gay rights but not as much on trans issues.
The highest cause of death among transgender people is suicide. While attending a conference at my school last semester, I learned from another student that the life expectancy for black trans women specifically is around 35 years. Can someone get a fact check for me? No matter the margin of error, that’s still terrifying.
The point is that it takes inordinate quantities of bravery to admit to a world that doesn’t understand anything about what happens inside your mind that you were assigned the wrong gender at birth. It risks your life. You run into the wrong people, and you’re dead simply for being who you are. So…are we really even qualified to say which of the two is braver? Why don’t we hold off on the judgement calls of who endures the most suffering…and hold off indefinitely? One person’s “no big deal” is someone else’s “this might literally kill me someday.” We have no right to make that call.