The Transgender Journey: What Do I Do With That?

Bruce Jenner makes the transgender journey into womanhood as Caitlyn Jenner. What do I do with that? Does it have anything to do with me? It does.

At first I dismissed it as publicity mongering, feeling his position of wealth and notoriety placed him far from the typical transgender experience of shame, frequent abuse and having few resources.  I am not anti-transgender.  I was Bruce-Jenner-apathetic.

Still, I watched his interview with Diane Sawyer curious to see if he could make me care about how he spent his money.

In my generation, Jenner was one of the greatest athletes in the 1970’s, a Decathlon Olympic champion of poster-perfect masculinity, an icon on my Wheaties Cereal box!  His desire to become a woman is supercharged with irony.

How did he explain his need to his children?  To Sawyer, Jenner said, “I’ve always been very confused with my gender identity.”

Jenner imagined his own creation and explained it to his kids, “God’s looking down, making little Bruce … he says ‘Okay, what are we gonna do with this one? Make him a smart kid, very determined … and then when he’s just finishing, he says, ‘Let’s wait a second.’ God looks down and chuckles a little bit and says, ‘Hey, let’s give him the soul of a female and see what he does with that.’”

This concept resonated with me, “Let’s see what he does with that.”

God doesn’t mess with us for fun.  In all things God has a purpose and a plan even though the process may seem counter-intuitive.  But then as Isaiah 55:8-9 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In reality, God gives each of us challenges, manageable or mountainous, but with 20/20 hindsight, there are lessons that could not be learned any other way. Some live in anger, despair or bitterness.  Yet perhaps each test is custom designed to help us grow, discover hidden talents, and to turn to God when we think we cannot.

Through pain there is a lifetime to act on “Let’s see what he/she does with that.” “That” being quite loaded.

I know folks who struggle with illness or financial ruin and yet move forward with faith and cheery resolve. Survivors of horrific violence find forgiveness. Victims who have outlasted atrocities, war, or imprisonment now live in gratitude. Pain publicly shared reassures others, “You are not alone.”

To me, the national dialogue about Jenner shows that wealth and fame give no immunity against personal torment. What is yours?  If God is waiting to observe, “What will he/she do with that?” then your reaction is revealing indeed.

Email Suzette Standring: suzmar@comcast.net or visit the newly revamped www.readsuzette.com  Syndicated with GateHouse Media, she is the award winning author of The Art of Column Writing and The Art of Opinion Writing.

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Suzette Standring

SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING is a nationally syndicated columnist with GateHouse Media. Her two award winning books, The Art of Opinion Writing: Insider Secrets from Top Op-Ed Columnists (2014) and The Art of Column Writing (2008) are used in journalism courses such as Johns Hopkins University. Suzette is a past president of The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the host of It’s All Write With Suzette, a cable TV show about writing. Visit www.readsuzette.com or email suzmar@comcast.net
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Comments

  1. Gorgeous! A deep & inspirational perspective – thank you, Suzette! xo

  2. Suzzette well said God has the answer for what torments us all everyone has trials and tribulations Must keep our eyes on God The world is hectic place it is in our heart what manifistates the picture of God and this world to the people around us .Bruce. Or Caitlyn has something in his or her haeart that only God knows. 1 Corinthian 13 love conquers all

    • Suzette Standring

      Thank you Keith. We each have our own lesson to learn from each others actions in difficult circumstances. You are right

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful column, Suzette. You said the words I was trying to formulate. Now I have a response when someone asks why someone is different – in any way.

  4. I’m 13, nearly 14 and I know I’m ready for sex, I’m just wtniaig for the right person to come along. I know a lot of people will say I’m too young but everyone’s different and everyone’s entitled to their own opinion

    • Suzette Standring

      Tony, at 14 hormones kick in and a person feels ready, but you are right to take your time. Every sexual experience affects us, and the wrong person can bring heartbreak, or deepen one’s insecurities, or at the very least, leave us with a “I wish that didn’t happen.” Know your worth and strengthen yourself spiritually.

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