One of the things I think is important for people who are transgender and choose to be public about their gender identity is that they do their best to present a positive image of transgender people in public. What one does in their private life is generally of no interest to me unless they are seriously violating the rights and the safety of others.
I was very disappointed to see news reports that this past week on a Headline News Network episode of Dr. Drew. Breitbart news journalist Ben Shapiro and Zoey Tur, a reporter for the television show Inside Edition, who is public about her gender identity, were debating whether Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner Olympic Decathlon Gold Medalist, deserved to be given the honor of being awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. This award is given to sports figures who exemplify courage off the playing field by ESPN sports network.
While it is evident that Mr. Shapiro is uninformed about the condition of Gender Dysphoria (formerly called Gender Identity Disorder), some comments he made towards Ms. Tur were extremely insulting and demeaning (He called her "Sir"). Her retaliatory behavior by grabbing him by the neck on television and threatening to "send him home in an ambulance" was grossly inappropriate and by putting her hands on him, she committed an assault and battery upon his person. Anyone who touches someone else without their permission meets the criminal definition of assault and battery.
Ms. Tur's bad behavior did not end live on television. She further threatened him saying "I'll see you in the parking lot" and several days later tweeting that she would like to "curbstomp" him.
Not only did Ms. Tur represent herself and others who are transgender poorly in a very negative light, she generated some significant negative attention to the transgender community as a whole by her impulsive and thoughtless behavior. She squandered an important opportunity to distinguish herself from someone who is ignorant and bigoted towards others who suffer from gender dysphoria. Mainstream society will not remember his comments, but they will remember Ms. Tur's comments and behavior.
The vast majority of people are not transgender, nor to their knowledge have they ever met someone who identifies as transgender. There just aren't that many of us. Most of us who experience gender dysphoria are rather secretive about it, fearing negative reactions from others. Ms. Tur certainly didn't help the community join and be accepted into mainstream life by her actions. My opinion is that she failed us all badly whether one is transgender or not. No one should carry on and act the way she did in response to verbal comments, no matter how distasteful the recipient of such remarks find them. There are better ways to handle bigots and transphobic people.
For those who do know about my former life as a male, I want to be a positive role model for other transgender people. I want to be seen as someone who is more like anyone else in our culture than different. I want to be seen as making a positive contribution than being seen for my differences and negative actions. Yes, it is an added burden, a consequence of having had a transgender identity, but it really isn't one that is so difficult to carry.
What do you think?