A few thoughts about Bruce Jenner

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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.

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.