“Why is there a media circus about a group that represents such a tiny part of society?” “Aren't there more important subjects to talk about than Caitlyn Jenner’s sex change?” These are questions I’m seeing again and again.
Transgender people are an important group. We open up the opportunity to question and debate something that is so fundamental in everybody's life: traditional gender roles. In many places in the world, gender norms favour men. Everyone knows that, but since we were programmed to think that way, we don't question the status quo.
Transgender people are a living, breathing statement against gender norms. We not only break them and put them into perspective, we are a true danger to the establishment as well. That is why Caitlyn is dangerous — her celebrity status and being a highly regarded sports icon, as well as part of the Kardashian Empire, gives her a massive platform that challenges the status quo. That is why we need her. Because as long as norms don't evolve, we are never going to be free. None of us, neither men, women, nor trans.
Caitlyn Jenner is what very few people in the transgender society are: a privileged person. She is an insider at the top of the food chain and in an incredibly powerful position. You know what they say: if you want to make a change, it has to come from within. From her privileged position she can make such a change. She has the power to do so, and she does it by exposing her life to the world.
My question then is, is it really that big of a privilege to be a man? I don’t think so. The backside of being a man is seldom talked about and it is the root of everything. Our gender norms are old fashioned and outdated. They repress both men and women, even in one of the most equal countries in the world: Sweden.
The hardest thing I found about being a boy was that I wasn't allowed to have any kind of emotional expression because it symbolized weakness, something that only women were expected to do. But is it really a weakness to be knowledgeable about your own feelings? How are you going to develop empathy and compassion if you are expected to never cry and always be macho and tough? How does it affect a person to be conditioned to not have any emotions? How does it affect a human being to not be a human? If we look at statistics we can see that men represent the majority of violence crime. Is there a correlation here? Why do men die before women? Do boys really not cry? Why are men ripped from the most valuable human experience?
How do we solve this? How can men start to be more human? Maybe we should have an international day of social gender exchange?
A very important spiritual practice that originated in many different native tribes in America that still performed today is that men and women exchanged clothes with each other. That way, men and women can share the experience of being in each other’s position. It’s a very valuable spiritual practice that we should implement into our society today. Men need to know what it feels like to be treated like a girl. They would not only get a female perspective, they will also understand better what norms apply to be in the masculine shield. They would experience how vulnerable you can feel like being a girl, and they would also understand what norms and pressures that they too are under, being men.
Men can start expressing their feelings and have more empathy toward women. And then maybe men can start appreciating and taking transgender people more seriously. So the bottom line for men is: if you want to grow both spiritually and emotionally, challenge your "manhood" and go into a feminine shield if you dare to. Then you will not only know what it feels like for a girl, but you will know what it feels like to be a transgender person, some of the strongest people in the world!
Thank you, Caitlyn Jenner, for exposing your heart to us and showing us all the true colours of the world.
We are unstoppable!