That Piece About Calling Her ‘Caitlyn’

vanityfair-caitlynjennerOriginally published on


One of the greatest gifts you can give another human being is to really see them.

Not who you wish them to be, not the version of themselves that makes you the most comfortable, not the one that is the most convenient for you, but the most authentic self they can muster at a given moment.

And to live is to be in battle.

Each of us fights like hell every single day to spend our time fully in the light, prone to so much shadow dwelling, because we’re all afraid to reveal the fullness of who we really are to those we share this space with. We fear the rejection we believe will almost surely come once people truly know the depths of our flaws and the nature of our imperfections. It’s so very rare to witness someone bring all of themselves out into the open the way we did this week.

June 1st was a birth of sorts for Caitlyn Jenner, a woman whose prolonged gestation period lasted 78 unimaginable months; decades and decades of lying, hiding, concealing, and denying what she knew to be true about the deepest parts of herself. Taking that bravest of steps out into the raking light of complete revelation took more courage than most of us will ever really understand.

While millions of people all over the globe rose in unison to applaud and support Caitlyn and the beginning of a life lived without secret shame or compromise, some insisted defiantly that they would still refer to her as “him”, and still by the name of “Bruce.” Many others flatly refused to acknowledge her arrival at all, some choosing to make a joke at her expense.

I’m profoundly sad for these people, because in this brazen declaration of intentional blindness, they are refusing to acknowledge that another person knows the truth about themselves better than they do about them. They are just arrogant enough to believe that what another person experiences as an insider, matters less than what they believe about that person from a great distance.

I have no idea what it’s like to walk in Bruce or Caityln Jenner’s shoes, but this is true of every other human being who has ever walked the planet as well. I am the only person about whose heart I am completely qualified to speak about. As much as I hate to admit it, the jurisdiction of my authority and expertise ends abruptly at my own epidermis. Beyond that I am simply speculating (with sincere or suspicious motives) and so I need to yield to others when they speak about their story.

As someone who seeks to live a life in the footsteps of Jesus, I continually reflect upon his eyesight; the way he saw clearly into the very depths of people and made them feel seen and known and loved. Whether they were priests or soldiers or children or beggars or hookers, he viewed beneath the surface and into the heart of who they were and stopped to stay there.

I want eyes like that. I want to see all people this way; to peel away the facades and the layers and the false selves they feel so compelled to erect and fortify, and to look directly into the hidden sacred space of their truth. I want to be a safe sanctuary for them to share the whole of who they are. That is how my faith gets flesh, how it becomes more than some theoretical exercise that collapses when tested.

And I want to do this because I understand if only slightly, what it’s like to be purposefully invisible, to live afraid of being naked and exposed, to believe that only a select part of me is worth sharing. I understand what it’s like to be certain that once I am fully seen that I will be found unloveable, and then the great, life-giving surprise when I am loved still.

Yesterday someone whose story is so very different from mine, began a new journey so very unfamiliar to me, yet in the most important ways it is familiar ground. We all walk this road together partially in hiding; hoping to find a home inside our own skin, hoping to make peace with the full truth of who we are, and praying that we will be safe there once we do.

Today another human being moved out from the shadow places and asked to be fully seen, full known, fully loved. She said that her name was Caitlyn.

And so, I will call her “Caitlyn.”

31 thoughts on “That Piece About Calling Her ‘Caitlyn’

  1. I am yet to form an opinion on this issue. I am just open minded about it and still battling to understand it because I really don’t. It is one thing to be gay: having an attraction for the same sex, but this; this “I am a woman in a man’s body” is just a whole different ball game. I accept her -Catilyn- because she is human and I owe her that respect. I hope she uses this platform to speak for all transgendered people who are killed and maimed worldwide.

    OAN: my timeline on Facebook and Instagram is just killing me on top Madam Catilyn matter.

    • you’re conflicted because as a gay man, you know what it’s to be scorned & derided. I have been doing lots of reading about trans & I came to the realization that people are battling different demons & they should be allowed whatever gives them joy & freedom provided it harms no one

  2. I’m just grateful that my issue is the Gay thing only. I don’t even want to imagine what it feels like not feeling comfortable in my body.

    Everybody with him own struggle sha.

    I’m looking forward to his docuseries 😁

  3. I aint gonna lie,I was skeptical at first,abt this Bruce Jenner transition; I thought it was off to start voguing in ur sixties…I didn’t even think shed make a pretty woman. But when those Vanity Fair pics came out, I stood corrected! She slayed that photo-shoot like a boss…and I still can’t get over how pretty and soft her face actually looks -definitely not the Bruce I know.
    Caitlyn, with u looking like that,who am I to still call u Bruce?
    (That awkward moment when Caitlyn Jenner is more stunning than Kris Jenner *sips tea*…hehehe)

  4. Okay….

    I couldn’t help but skip some lines, waiting to find IT, but IT was no where to be found. I assume the author knows what he/she is writing about.

  5. What’s the difference between the heterosexual who thinks there exists heterosexuality alone, and the gay who thinks it’s just the gay and heterosexuality alone in existence???

  6. Had an argument with my classmates yesterday in support of her decision and even I couldnt bring enough arguments.

    The general opinion of the class was that if she was gay it would have been better than for to change her gender. A lot of people find it creepy that anyone can do that these days and that someday you could wake up in the morning and find out that your father, that your bosom friend you have, or that your colleague you secretly crush on could decide to be a woman

    Let us be honest with ourselves, no matter how enlightened we think we may be, there is always be something to boggle the mind. All these talk of standing with her is just the proverbial following of crowds and being politically correct. Deep down we still try to imagine what it is all about.

    OAN: The look on Kris’ Jenner’s face when she finds out her ex-husband is more beautiful than she is. Purrfect!!

  7. Its so refreshing to see.
    Its a given that people will receive her arrival with mixed emotions but that’s okay *you can’t win them all*
    I’m actually Jealous of her *cmon she gets to live a new life as Caitlyn after finishing a life as Bruce. So not Fair and she’s damn good looking @ 65*
    Besides she’s set a world record: 1m twitter followers in 3hrs 36mins.
    I will her all the best in her new journey.

  8. I’ve been trying to wrap my head arnd dis for days nd I still don’t get is it dat he’s been gay all along or wat nd will he b attracted to men or women complicated nd weird

    • You know, to clear your confusion about a transgender, you could simply read up on them. just saying. There are lots of materials and information that strives to make one understand the transgender struggle.

  9. In a world where you are taught to conform and not be true to yourself I’ve come to see it as refreshing when somebody seizes hold of their life and lives it the way they want to even when they are no longer young.

    I didn’t get it at first, why a man would feel like he’s a woman.. I still don’t fully understand.. But she’s done a very brave thing and I applaud her for that.

  10. My christain daily devotion (ODM) for today reads
    “It is wonderful to know that courageous people still exist in a world of copycats and conformity. It is exciting to discover that few people can dare to be different in a generation of few risk takers. I leap in joy when I find men who dare to do something that has never been done.”
    Coincidence? I think not. Maybe, I am being ministered to by God. Maybe being different, being gay isn’t a struggle or a curse (like Francis says). Maybe it’s a blessing. (In disguise) maybe we are the few chosen ones. Maybe? I’m still not sure. But I’m constantly asking God for answers.

    Let me leave with this final words by Kurt Cobain “They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they are all the same”
    Dare to be Different people!

  11. As someone once said “we’re only open minded to the extent at which it makes us comfortable”(might not be the complete quote but u get the drift). I have my issue which is sexual orientation.. she has her own issue which is gender identity. The world is filled with grey areas, you don’t ve to understand it but you ve to accept it. I’m an example of this I’m not straight, bi or gay(like referring myself as gay, easier to explain to other gay people). Is she man, or a woman? it is very simple. I don’t know. I don’t care. And neither should anyone care.

    • And yes. OAN: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation are two different things. Gender is who you are, and sexuality is who you are attracted to. Caitilyn Jenner identities as a woman(gender identity) and has said she is attracted to women(sexual orientation).

  12. In the 90’s I use to have a close friend who believed he was trapped in a man’s body and actually hated himself or being alluded to as a man.all his mannerisms then was lady-like and he liked to see himself as a woman.
    Fast-forward 10 yrs later and my friend is now living happily as a beautiful,post-operative woman in faraway Canada!
    We’re still the best of friends and I’ve come to understand her struggles. the lack of support he got from her family even made her stronger.tho,now the mom and siblings who also resides in the west has come to accept her.
    So people,it is what it is!don’t judge but accept and love them for who they are.

  13. It took me a few days of deep thinking to come to terms with his transition. I figured out why I was finding it hard to accept him.

    I was looking at his past.. Thats why… I have also formed an opinion about him over there years, so for him to be Unveiled as Caitlyn threatens the very idea of him which I’ve already nurtured over time. Once I was able to let go of the past and recalibrated my mind( after all, most people aren’t actually what we see them as… We create an idea of them in our mind), I was able to understand.
    She’s Caitlyn. She’s been hiding in the past.. Now She’s been emancipated…Now she’s here and here to stay.

  14. Education is the best religion to me… Simply google transgender people and you can find enough for every class of mind…
    I must confess that at the beginning, I wondered ”whats’up with these weird things”? And even now, I find it easier to understand the male-to-females more than the female-to-males. But I love them. And I understand their struggles…
    Now, I know we are all weird in our own ways… TThe homophobic is weird to me too…lolz. And the gay transphobic???
    For those who think what an uncle or father, as a woman would look like, I guess that is why they should be given an opportunity to clear the confusion from the beginning. If only Bruce became Caitlyn at age 12-19…
    At the end of the day, some human beings prefer to be selfish as long as it won’t affect them…

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