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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Don't Have Anything Nice To Say? Keep It Closed!

I am an unapologetic fan of "Big Brother".

Ever since the show debuted in July 2000, I have watched nearly every episode and watched every single season of both the American and Canadian versions.  It's not so much because of the voyeurism aspect of the game - truth be told, I'm not so sure that I would want 177 cameras all focused on me as I ate, slept, and went to the bathroom - but because of the gameplay.

From Head of Household competitions to Power of Veto competitions, to the newly created Battle of the Block competitions, the game is known for making players "expect the unexpected".

And those words could also be used to describe some of the houseguests that have entered the house over the last fifteen years.

Some seasons, we've had former players come in to be coaches to the other players, only to have them join in the game themselves.  Sometimes, they would bring in family members of former players to see how they would fare for mixed results.  Sometimes they would even bring in relatives of semi-famous people, as was the case with Frankie Grande (he's Ariana Grande's half-brother).

And in the upcoming season of Big Brother - which debuts on CBS on June 24, we're learning that one of the houseguests on the show is transgendered.

This is Audrey Middleton.  She's a 25-year-old digital media consultant from Georgia who was born a male.  She transitioned from Adam to Audrey a few years ago and never looked back.  She is going to be the very first transgendered person to ever play the game of Big Brother in the United States, and I have to say, with her describing herself as a superfan, I get the impression that she could potentially go far in the game.

But Audrey's inclusion in the game of Big Brother seems to be rubbing some people the wrong way.  And, sadly I've noticed on some comments sections on websites, not to mention random comments on social media sites, that people have become complete jerks.  They cry out that they will never watch the show again because of Audrey being transgendered.  Some claim that as Christian people, they feel that Audrey's transitioning from male to female is morally wrong and goes against their religious beliefs.  Some have even made the claim that the show is jumping on a bandwagon of sorts by "conveniently" casting a transgendered person shortly after Caitlyn Jenner's daring "Vanity Fair" cover was released to the public.

Okay, so let's go ahead and tear this argument apart, shall we?

First things first, I have absolutely zero tolerance for people who use religion as a weapon.  The ones who claim that their religious beliefs give them the right to judge how other people live their lives.  News flash.  They don't.

You have to look at it from the eyes of the person who is transgendered.  Imagine going through most of your life feeling that you were born the wrong gender.  It would be hard enough dealing with that fact alone.  But imagine being a part of a family that would be less than understanding, or having to deal with people in your community who are closed-minded, bigoted, or just plain mean towards anybody else who isn't like them.  That would make it even harder.

I mean, let's look at Caitlyn Jenner for a moment.  Of course many of us knew her best as Olympic hero Bruce Jenner.  Back in those days, he was one of the most celebrated athletes in modern American history and had his face printed on millions of Wheaties boxes.  But even though he had achieved Olympic fame, he went through sixty-five years of struggling with who he was. 

And in Bruce Jenner's case, he felt like he was meant to be a she. 

And as we all know, Caitlyn Jenner made her daring and bold entrance into the world on June 1, 2015.

I have to say, the cover of Vanity Fair does her justice, and I think it is a beautiful cover.  But of course many people had to make non-constructive comments about it and saying a whole bunch of thoughtless comments.  I believe one politician callously remarked that the only reason Caitlyn Jenner underwent the gender reassignment surgery was to sneak a peek at the women in the locker room.  Absolutely disgusting - and quite revealing about some of the perverse thoughts that some of the people that were elected into office by the people of the United States had.

Or, going back a little further in time, how about Chaz Bono?  Many people who grew up watching the Sonny and Cher variety show knew him as Chastity Bono, the only daughter of the pair.  But in adulthood, Chastity came out as being a lesbian, and just a few years after that, Chastity became Chaz.  And once again, she was raked over the coals for it with thoughtless people making all sorts of disgusting comments. 

The thing is that Caitlyn Jenner and Chaz Bono have basically been in the media spotlight for well over forty years.  They've gotten used to any scrutiny for their choices.  They really don't care about what people have to say about them.

And you know why?  Because both of them have a strong family support system to help them through it all.  Chaz Bono had his mother, Cher (perhaps one of the biggest icons for the LGBTQ community) on his side.  I imagine that while the transition must have been a shock for her, she still loves him no matter what. 

The same deal with Caitlyn Jenner.  I know that I tend to poke fun at the Kardashian clan, but I have to give them a ton of credit.  Although they initially struggled with the news, all of them have stood by Jenner's side and still very much consider him a part of the family.  Again, I don't make it a point to keep up with the Kardashians, but kudos on them for sticking together.

And, I have to believe that Audrey's family is supportive of her as well.  I imagine that they struggled with it at first, but in the end, the love they have for her outweighed everything else.

And I honestly think that love is the answer.  Why spend so much time hating someone when they could be loving them instead?  There's way too much hate in the world as it is.  You think that it's "morally wrong" for people to change their gender?  Well, I think it's morally wrong for people to bully someone else for being who they are to the point where they do physical harm to themselves.  But hey, I guess that's only my opinion.  Some may disagree and want to distance themselves from me.  I say...I'll pay for your bus ticket.

So, to those of you who feel the need to tear someone down for being who they really are, I have one thing to say. 

Shut up.

Seriously, just f@#$ing shut up.

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