Bruce Jenner no longer exists; with the end of Bruce in 2015 was the birth of Caitlyn Jenner. And despite her having bravely transitioned in her 60s after decades of inner conflict trying to marry her identity with her body, there is still a lot of misinformation and ignorance about transgender people. From little things like using the wrong pronouns to larger things like insulting them with slurs, the lack of education around transgender issues is unacceptable in this day and age.
To help, we’ve put together these five lesser-known facts about trans people, inspired by someone who is probably the most famous trans person ever, Caitlyn Jenner.
1. Caitlyn Jenner was not “a girl stuck in a guy’s body”: Jenner admitted to hating this misconception and she’s not alone. The idea that a transgender person is just born in the wrong body is a gross over simplification of fact. Being transgender doesn’t just mean transitioning from male to female (or vice versa). Transgender has a bunch of different meanings and since gender is no longer something that is seen as binary, being trans is seldom ever as simple as one sex “trapped” in the body of another sex.
2. Caitlyn has been transitioning since the ‘80s: A lot of people claim that Caitlyn Jenner is just transitioning as a publicity stunt, which is not only insulting to her struggle and transition, but it’s also a little ignorant. Transgender people do not just wake up and decide that they no longer want to be the sex everyone considers them to be. Transgender people often struggle inwardly for years before gaining the courage to reveal their true identities. It is never a decision made on a whim. Before officially letting go of her identity as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn admitted that she experimented with cross-dressing and thought about transitioning as early as the 1980s.
3. Caitlyn prefers female pronouns (she/her): A transgender person’s choice of pronouns for him or herself is something that should be taken seriously. Even if you don’t see them as their identified gender, you should still try to use their preferred pronouns. Using the wrong pronouns can be insulting, and if you’re ever unsure of which pronouns to use, there is never any harm in asking.
4. Caitlyn is not just Bruce Jenner a cross-dresser, a transvestite, or a drag queen: Every one of those words has a specific meaning and it’s important to differentiate them, as these terms all refer to someone who dresses as the opposite gender. Caitlyn is a transgender person, she is not Bruce Jenner just dressing as a woman; she is a woman. RuPaul is a drag queen; he is a man who dresses as a woman for entertainment. Caitlyn used to cross-dress, but she no longer does, because she has revealed her real identity as a woman.
5. Just because Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, that doesn’t mean she’s attracted to men: Sexuality is not dependent on gender; so even though Caitlyn Jenner has revealed her true self as a woman, that doesn’t mean that her sexual preference has changed as well. Gender and sexuality are two separate things and are almost never correlated. Jenner has admitted that she’s still navigating her own sexuality in relation to her new identity, telling Diane Sawyer in an interview, “Sexuality is who you are personally attracted to. But gender identity is who you are as a person and your soul and who you identify as inside.”