The Media and Bruce Jenner: Mainstream Transphobia

If you have read any tabloids in the past year or so, you have probably heard the rumours of Bruce Jenner supposedly transitioning into a woman. Although Jenner if a former Olympic athlete, there is no doubt that he owes his current fame to his famous step-children, The Kardashians. The Kardashians are seen all over the tabloids on a daily basis which have now become the new source of all of Jenner’s rumours and abuse.

At this point it is important to point out that neither Bruce, nor his family, have confirmed that he is in fact transgender. However, whether he is or not this still is no excuse for the tweets and headlines regarding his gender. Only a quick search on Twitter or Google can reveal how little the general public knows about transgendered people and how little respect they have for them. These acts of transphobia from the media can essentially be summarised in this video by TMZ.

The media have become so obsessed with Jenner’s possible transition that they will do anything to get a story on it. Last month, US Weekly published a story claiming that Bruce’s daughter, Kendall Jenner, spoke to them and confirmed that her father was in fact transitioning. Kendall quickly took to Twitter to deny the story, saying that she never spoke to them. US Weeky have since retracted the story.

One of the most shocking acts of transphobia on Bruce Jenner was when an Australian betting site, Sports Bet, started bets on what Jenner’s female name would be.

Belinda ($15) and Brigette ($16) have been regularly linked as potential choices for Bruce but if he wants to go all Alfred Hitchcock and take his mother’s name of Esther, that’s a $51 shot.

While we love the idea of it, Bruscilla is $101 while Dame Edna rounds out the market at $501.

“Fair play to Bruce, it takes a lot of balls to em…cut off your balls. We expect a lot of interest in this market ahead of the big reveal,’’ sportsbet.com.au’s Will Byrne said.

What makes it that bit worse is that the bookmaker initially refused to take down the bet even after issuing and apology. The online bets have since been taken down but the blog post from their website still remains here as lasting proof of Will Byrne’s and SportsBet.com’s public transphobic acts.

If this is what the mainstream media publishes transphobic articles on a daily basis, then the public are likely to believe that it is perfectly acceptable for them to act in the same way, when it’s not. Some impressionable members of the public will think that, because the read so many harsh comments and jokes about transgendered people, they think that they can act the same way too. I’m not saying that everyone will react to the media in this way but many people do, especially young impressionable people. I’m also not saying that the media is the reason that people are transphobic because many people are with or without media.

Not only does the mainstream media make certain people more accepting of their own ignorance, imagine how these headlines make transgendered people feel. According TSER, 41% of transgendered people have attempted suicide. This statistic, of course, has many contributing factors. However, constantly seeing this level of transphobia in the media every day must make many transgendered people feel ashamed and unsafe. Yet the people at TMZ don’t seem to have a problem with this.

Whether Jenner plans on transitioning or not, there is no excuse or need for the media to dissect every aspect of his life and appearance for everyone to see. Jenner does not deserve to have his “before and after” photos broadcasted constantly especially if he is in fact transitioning as this can be very harmful. Nor does he deserve to be the butt of every comedian’s joke. Some people might think that they’re “only having a laugh” if they joke about Jenner or any transgendered person but it’s not something to joke about. Transitioning is a very personal journey in someone’s life. This is not how transgendered people, or anyone, should be treated.

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