Caitlyn Jenner will be writing a weekly editorial column focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and the issues they face.
According to Alan Nierob, Jenner’s spokesperson, the column will appear on WhoSay and is part of Jenner’s effort to explore “matters of concern to the LGBT community.” In fact, her first column is now live on their site.
Jenner, who made quite a splash with her big Vanity Fair reveal as Caitlyn, has quickly become a beacon of hope and a voice for the community, which has sometimes struggled to make themselves heard in the mainstream media. And with many substantial issues facing the LGBT community these days, there are almost infinite topics from which Jenner could pull content. Here are a few we are hoping to see discussed.
1. Violence against the LGBT community
Violence against people in the LGBT community, according to reports produced by the NCAVP, has been on the rise. And for people of color, they have been unprecedented. Everyone has the right to feel safe, and the fact of the matter is that there are still places and times when people in the LGBT community do not. It would be great to see someone with such a far-reaching voice shed some light on such a deadly issue.
2. LGBT health
This is a multifaceted topic that could involve anything from HIV/AIDS awareness and acceptance to spousal rights in making medical decisions. Glaring disparities exist between heterosexual health care and health care for the LGBT community. These disparities come from discrimination and societal stigmas and can even lead to denial of people’s civil and human rights. It is an issue of extreme importance and one that we hope Caitlyn brings up in her column.
3. Economic equality/justice
All people have the right to marry now. Unfortunately, you could get married one day and be terminated from your job for it the next. In many places, employment discrimination is still legal. This brings with it a host of other issues, including lack of access to affordable health care, income inequality and an increased chance of living in poverty. Most people don’t realize that it is perfectly legal in “Right to Fire” or employment at-will states to terminate someone’s employment without cause. It is a serious issue that forces many in the LGBT community to still live in the closet professionally.
4. LGBT homelessness
There is nothing more terrible than the thought of a young person having no other option than to leave their home because of who they are. I can’t imagine being in such a situation. But for almost half of homeless youth, that’s the case. Forty percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, according to a report published by UCLA, and a staggering 68 percent of those were kicked out of their homes just for their LGBT identification. More depressingly, almost 60 percent of those are survivors of abuse. If you are going to discuss issues facing the LGBT community, you have to address homelessness and the host of problems it brings.
As a person who used male pronouns to describe herself and now identifies publicly using female pronouns, it would be great for Caitlyn to tackle the issue of terminology — simply to help people out and clear up an obnoxiously large number of misconceptions. “Gay marriage,” “gay rights,” “gay adoption,” “admitting he’s gay” — all offensive and insensitive. Opening people’s eyes to the way words can hurt and their proper use would be a really great service.
6. Conversion therapy
This is exactly what it terrifyingly sounds like. It’s also sometimes called reparative therapy. There is actually an organization of therapists who endorse and practice this abhorrent form of torture, I mean… “therapy.” It is dangerous and has been deemed so by all of the nation’s leading therapists. But it is still practiced, and telling people of its dangers would be something of merit Jenner could touch on.
7. LGBT adoption and parenting
Same-sex couples raising children face greater economic challenges, according to a report published by UCLA. Discriminatory practices are rampant against same-sex families. Same-sex couples still face giant hurdles in overcoming the stigma that they aren’t fit to be parents and there is still a lot of discussion that needs to be had about accepting LGBT people as the same type of parents the rest of are.
8. Faith/christianity and the LGBT community
Of course, an elephant in the room is always going to be Christians and the LGBT community. There’s no shortage of topics to focus on here and we hope that Jenner takes the time to discuss some of them. Acceptance, denial, outrage, love, the relationship between the two communities and how people’s lives have changed now that love has finally won in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling — the topics are endless.