A brief comment on David Bauder’s level-headed coverage of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner – See HuffPost Living: “Bruce Jenner Comes Out As a Transgender In Interview With Diane Sawyer”
Where to begin? There are so many issues to address here. There is the actual issue of transgenderism. I know little about this, but nonetheless feel compassion for those who suffer. The socio-political and legal spillage cannot be neglected, however, and I think that one cluster of reactions concerns how to “newly” formulate our understanding of gender identity, how this in turn compromises, if at all, “cherished” assumptions regarding sexuality and the impact that this may have on familial structures. Homosexuality, gay marriage and the like seem uncomplicated in comparison. A transgender “male” may identify as a woman but nonetheless be heterosexual. So, for instance, when a male transgender marries a woman is this a gay marriage or not? The moral issues are without a doubt often the source of grief because such values orient us, ground us and provide meaning for human lives. Quite literally, morality steps in to make sense of human life. So transgenderism is like philosophizing with a hammer and undercutting everything familiar, everything grounded, and everything that makes sense. It is no surprise people struggle with this. Still, it is in acknowledging the fluidity and ambiguity of the standards that ground moral outlooks that a willingness to address real human suffering will take precedence over any sense of comfort one has drawn from old idols, so that change may foster. As for the accusations regarding the disingenuousness of Bruce himself, I know not what to say. An overarching, general comment might be that the culture of disingenuousness is a culture of disenchantment and alienation. Perhaps, we might all think what part we play in all of this….