Is Caitlyn Jenner good for America?
ESPN took a lot of heat for announcing that it would present the former Bruce Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage next month at the ESPYs.
The heat came from people who thought that there were many more deserving athletes, such as Lauren Hill, a Mount St. Joseph basketball player, who stayed on the team while battling brain cancer and helped to raise millions of dollars for cancer research, or double amputee Noah Galloway, who was injured in Iraq and still competes in extreme sports.
Did Jenner declaring his transition from man to woman and showing up as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine really require that much courage?
By all accounts, people close to him knew about his transgender tendencies for years. Who was the last celebrity to come out as gay or transgender who wasn’t exalted to near sainthood?
Look at the reaction to Jenner.
She will be given one of the loudest and longest standing ovations in television history when she receives her award at the ESPYs.
Do you think he/she didn’t know what the reaction would be?
Questioning the wonderfulness of it all, on the other hand, requires a certain amount of courage.
That’s why you don’t see too many in the media going against the grain on this one.
The conventional wisdom seems to be that Jenner’s story will help young people, who have been dealing with confusion about their gender, to come forward and make them more likely to make the gender transition.
Excuse Walt Heyer for bucking that conventional wisdom.
Walt was a man. Then he was a woman. Now he’s a man again.
He underwent a gender change when he was 42. He transitioned back to a man at 56 and has been married to a woman for the last 18 years.
Heyer isn’t buying the media narrative about Jenner. That Bruce is gone and Caitlyn has finally been set free.
He told CNN, “As long as the television lights are on and the cameras are rolling, being in the spotlight he enjoys, Jenner will be fine. But when the lights go dim and the cameras are no longer rolling, he will face the most difficult time of his life.”
“His celebrated change of gender could turn on him and become the cause of deep depression, which left untreated, according to those who study suicide, is the number one cause of suicide.”
And don’t tell Dr. Paul McHugh about what Jenner’s courage will do for gender-confused kids.
McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hosptial, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last year, “[Yet] policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusion as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.” (RELATED: The Price Of Transgender Acceptance)
Studies at Johns Hopkins found that gender confused patients, who were surgically treated, did no better psychologically than those who weren’t.
That’s why Johns Hopkins Hospital, the first American medical center to do sex reassignment surgery, no longer offers it.
So, Caitlyn Jenner will receiver her award.
She’ll get her reality show on the E Network and, according to the people who booked Jenner as Bruce, the 1976 dectathalon winner, she’ll quadruple her speaking fees as Caitlyn.
ESPN will get a bump in the ratings for the ESPYs from curiosity seekers tuning in to see what Caitlyn will wear and the media will slobber over her for as long as slobbering over her sells.
Then Caitlyn Jenner will go back to being just another Kardashian.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com