On Caitlyn and Costumes…

I love Caitlyn Jenner. There. I said it.

Never have I ever been a fan of The Kardashians. I don’t keep up with them. I can’t stomach Kris.

But Caitlyn is a different story. I like her humor. I like the fact that she is choosing to help younger transgender people by telling her story in a responsible way. And I love the fact that, even in her 60’s, she had the courage to become who she truly is. I’ve learned so much and gained such respect for the transgender community from her reality show.

Those that spoke out when Caitlyn received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs were wrong. Are there other acts of courage that might be more courageous than stepping out as a transgender person? Of course. Is she still courageous for doing this? Is she still a hero? You ask that question to a transgender teen that has contemplated suicide.

Recently, another firestorm is brewing over a Halloween Company creating a Caitlyn Jenner costume. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it shared 50,000 times on your newsfeed:

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Apparently, this costume is, “offensive” and, “transphobic.”

Now George Takei, of Star Trek and Facebook fame, has weighed in:

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I am convinced, Mr. Takei. Name me a pop culture phenomenon that hasn’t been replicated come Halloween time. Do you know how many little Donald Trumps, complete with fish lips and combovers, are going to be running around this October? Is the controversy about the costume itself or the fact that a company is producing it? I’m sure there will be much better homemade Caitlyns at Halloween.

Can I see how someone could be offended by this? Sure, I can. I have a nuanced opinion about lots of things that could or should be offensive.

But it all comes down to who is wearing the costume…

Last month, a controversy erupted in Toledo, Ohio about this billboard:

n4denny

People were genuinely offended by this, including me. Denny Schaffer is a bigot. He’s made homophobic remarks on his radio shows. He wraps himself up in the pages of the Bible. In fact, when I was 19 and applying for an unpaid internship at his radio station, he conducted the “interview” live on the air, while making fun of my hair and my voice, even going so far as to play an audio clip of Barbara Walters asking, “Do you wear women’s underwear?” (I got the last laugh and was hired by the station less than a year later— in a paid position.)

Denny wasn’t just having fun with this billboard, which has since been removed. Denny was being blatantly offensive. If he came trick-or-treating while wearing the Caitlyn Jenner costume, I would agree with anyone who found it to be “trans-phobic.”

On the other hand, I have a whole world of friends that could wear this costume and pull it off. Friends that are supportive and understanding and funny. Not judgy.

I like Caitlyn. I support Caitlyn. But I think even Caitlyn would have a little giggle at seeing grown men walk around dressed like her Vanity Fair cover.

Speaking of offensive Halloween costumes… do you really want to be offended? Really, really, really offended? You would have been last year, when I saw Ebola patients at Halloween parties. You would have been in 2001, when I saw postal workers wrapped in plastic, at the height of the Anthrax scare. And you will be right now, when I share with you these two photos that I found while researching this article:

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Folks, this is offensive. Particularly the kids. Some parent thought this was acceptable.

Next time, before we get all up-in-arms about being offended, let’s take a deep breath and put things in perspective.

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