When my 12-year old son Tomás Eugenio got home from school, he was surprised to find me in front of my laptop, eyes welling up with tears. He asked me what had happened, and I told him that, finally, Bruce Jenner had come out as a woman. I told him that mine were tears of joy. We spoke about the winds of change finally blowing through our country. I told him about how Bruce would now go by Caitlyn Jenner, and how good she looked on the cover of Vanity Fair that will come out on June 9th; shot by Annie Leibovitz, no less. Tomás smiled and we high-fived, our fingers interlocked in a sign of approval.
I didn’t tell him this, but when he found me crying, my tears also fell for the woman trapped in a man’s body, the little girl who could only wear her mother’s dresses at home, in secret. To think that her own inner-struggle was so arduous that it took her all the way to the Olympics, where she won the 1976 decathlon gold medal in Montreal. “One of the boys,” and trying so hard to bury the most essential part of her being with what was, ultimately, the ultimate masculine triumph.
I celebrate that Caitlyn Jenner is finally free to be what she always was and wanted to be. I also celebrate that such influential media as Vanity Fair and ABC have served as a platform for her to be heard. Above all, I want to thank Caitlyn Jenner for putting the struggle of transgender people on the forefront of the conversation. By doing so, she’s made clear how wrong transphobia is, and she’s taught the world a lesson of compassion, tolerance, and, above all, respect for others.
I think that for the first time, we’re seeing her as she is. Not as a former athlete past his prime, not as the stepfather of the Kardashians, or the father of the Jenners. We’re talking about a human being: a woman who lived trapped for years in the wrong body, who had to lie to herself, her loved ones, and the entire world and who, after 65 years, is free to be exactly who she is and wants to be.
Welcome to the world, Caitlyn. Thank you for your courage and God bless America, the land of the free and home of the brave.