Act Two: Quantifying Caitlyn

The Transgender Flag

The Transgender Flag

I started out not wanting to be the hating son-of-a-bitch telling everyone to take a step back from the adulation going down and look at the whole picture.  I knew that wouldn’t fly well.   In the beginning, it’s almost like a mass hysteria where even the most benign critique or question is met with savage and unconditional reproach.  Instead, now it seems I may not have to.  You see, what we’ve just witnessed was act one and act two is about to commence.  Incidentally, I think they are a total of three acts in all.

It’s both funny and sad in an ironic sort of way.  I don’t think Caitlyn recognizes yet how much America and her residents have a) a short attention span, b) the need for constant affirmation and approval of their innate benevolence and c) a hell of a temper when whatever one’s doing or selling stops affording her citizens said approval as well as the complementary right to feel good about themselves.

It is after all, all about us as citizens, isn’t it?  No one will admit it but it’s true.  We bask in our superior tolerance when we’re given the chance and ridicule those who we see as not as intellectually savvy enough to recognize and appreciate the differences that encompass humanity.  The problem arises as many of us do this while at the same time letting loose the same types of vitriol we criticize when it suits us or when we’re within our comfort zones.  In the end, it’ll be the same media machine that she’s using so Kardashian-like that will ultimately be her undoing in the public eye. And it may have already started. 

You google Caitlyn Jenner on the news feed now and it becomes apparent right away that the joy-fest might be waning.  Time does that; it gives individuals courage to speak their minds and the opportunity for water to find its level.  Unfortunately when that happens and you have a particularly dark mind, well, what comes out is equally dark.  Then on the other hand, we want discourse, right?  Sometimes discourse can begin in the strangest of places and can stem from the harshest of words.

But even before the discussion, the public will begin to remember and once that happens, a bit more gild will slide of the lily.  They’ll recall that it wasn’t that long ago that Bruce Jenner’s trailer-laden Cadillac Escalade rear-ended wealthy philanthropist Kim Howe’s Lexus on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu causing her vehicle to cross into incoming traffic where she had a head on with a Hummer.  Her stepchildren have filed a wrongful death lawsuit citing vehicular negligence on the part of Jenner.

At the time, there was the question of whether or not he (yes, at the time we hadn’t yet been given instructions to call him “she”, so I’m cool) was on the phone when the accident occurred.  The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department’s investigation is ongoing.  That was February 7th; only four months ago, how soon we forget. Then again, it’s probably OK because, well, she’s a much better person now than she was.

And even as we continue to encourage and wish her good fortune, I think many in America will all of a sudden notice the 4 ton elephant in the room.  It’s that huge, cumbersome and unwieldy beast that will ultimately assist the former Olympian in navigating the costly waters of gender reassignment but it’s also the beastie that will turn the minds of public sentiment.  In the immortal words of Howard, Fine and Howard, I’m talking about the moolah.

At the very least, the fact that Jenner is rich may give some pause as to the depth of his courage and his willingness to put it all out there.  They’ll ask themselves would he have been so eager to do so if he were just one of the estimated 700,000 citizens who happen to identify themselves as transgender, desire sexual reassignment surgery and are of limited means; possibly with no health insurance.

If they are then their road ahead is one fraught with highly prohibitive costs.  According to the website CostHelperHealth, the total typical cost of a transition usually includes: expenses incurred in the year before surgery, during which hormone therapy, counseling and living full-time as the target sex are recommended; the cost of the surgery and follow-up care; and ongoing costs after the surgery, including hormone therapy for life and continued doctor visits.

Without insurance such surgeries can range in price from $15,000 to $50,000.  In the year before alone, during which time the patient would undergo therapy and live as the intended opposite sex, the cost of therapy and the documentation signifying it can be up to $5000 for the year.  If hormone therapy is required/needed then that amount can be anywhere from $300 to $2400 for the year, additionally.  And we haven’t even begun to talk about the whole “for life” and “continued” thing yet.

Even while acknowledging the fortitude of those making such a change when the public takes a sustained look at Caitlyn, they may not see extraordinary courage at work.  They may simply see a man using his resources to get along in life; resources that many of us must do without.  And that will be the rub, so to speak.

Jenner right now is riding high on a cloud of public approval.  Personally, I think a lot of it has to do with his tenure on “Keeping up with the Kardashian’s”.  I think many in America saw him as a stranger in a strange land and most want to wish her happiness now that all of that is over with.  Still, if she continues to thwart the siblings of Kim Howe and others in their wrongful death lawsuits, public opinion will swiftly change.  Come to think of it, maybe all of this is just an out of the ordinary legal strategy.

Either way soon, I think we’ll begin to have more off the wall comments ala Clint Eastwood and others.  The good part about it is that hopefully such basically human reactions and responses will lead to some serious discussion of differences.  Like I said before, even the harshest of criticisms can spur a talk.  And that’s because such reproaches come strictly from the heart; albeit often bypassing the brain before heading out to see the world.

So to those like Snoop-Dog, Timbaland, Drake, Clint or others who oppose these human butterflies who unequivocally shed their skins and leave behind their birth trappings, I say hold on, your time is coming.  America’s not quite there yet but she’s working on it.  It takes her a while to get up the gumption to allow everyone to have a say.  And to those such as Timberland who might be wavering in their disapproval, I say, stay strong!  Your naysaying is a necessary thing in order to fully appreciate what we’re doing.  I would only suggest that you curb your censure with as much empathy as you can muster.

Act two is about to start and act three, The Diss, is right around the corner.  I’m just saying…

Medical cost facts taken from the webpage CostHelperHealth

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