A few thoughts about Bruce Jenner

Bear in mind that I have not watched any of the Kardashian’s TV show(s) for more than a few minutes. I find all of the “reality TV” fare unbearable: Some cash in on a person’s weakness (Lindsay Lohan), on substance abuse (Osborne family), and general depravity (The Real Wives of – wherever), I find them all repulsive.

For people of my generation – especially for us who don’t follow sports, Bruce Jenner was THE celebrity athlete. Olympic records, fame, looks, he was IT. There are athletes who made life-long commitments to both sport and integrity (Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente come to mind); Jenner was a star, a party guy, the guy on the cover of Time and People magazines.

Over the years we all got older, and somewhere along the way Bruce Jenner became weirder. He looked like he had plastic surgery, and not in a good way. He even got listed (along with Robert Redford) in the men who look like old lesbians website. I figured he had partied too much with the wrong sort of people.

For a while Jenner disappeared from the front pages of the supermarket tabloids, to now re-emerge with news of his gender change, which is not good news. Walt Heyer, who underwent sex-reassignment surgery and lived as a woman for several years, explains why

After my surgical gender change failed to relieve my distress, I was diagnosed with a dissociative disorder that had been there all along. My desire to be a female was a symptom of something else. Surgery and transition, while it made me happy at first, did not treat the dissociative disorder. In fact, surgery compounded my difficulties and made it harder to recover.

I restored my male identity but it required that I be properly diagnosed. As the underlying disorder was appropriately treated, my desire to change genders faded away like a mist in the bright light of day. One of the hardest things was to admit to myself, my family, and my friends that the whole surgical change had been unnecessary. I had been so adamant beforehand that I needed it.

Jenner has the added complexity of being a celebrity in the glare of the media spotlight. We see so many examples of celebrities who can’t cope and end up pushed to their deaths, like Michael Jackson and the misuse of propofol, Elvis Presley, Whitney Houston, and now perhaps even Whitney’s only daughter and the excessive use of drugs. Trying to cope with personal problems while living in a public fishbowl certainly intensifies stress.

Read the entire article.

Last year Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, wrote that Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution
A drastic physical change doesn’t address underlying psycho-social troubles.
His article focused on the Department of Health and Human Services review board ruling that Medicare can pay for the “reassignment” surgery:

. . . at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a “satisfied” but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.

He concluded by saying,

At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. “Sex change” is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.

A better blogger than I would reflect on what this means to society at large. For now, all I can come up with is a silent prayer for those, like Jenner, who are in such turmoil. May the Lord help them find peace.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.