The Cult of Caitlyn

By Richard Nelson

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June 4, 2015

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It is difficult and sometimes dangerous to comment on someone's intimate personal choice. But when the discussion lands on the front pages of Vanity Fair and dominates the news, a response is necessary–especially when strident voices demand agreement and approval of that choice, however controversial it might be. Of course, we're talking about Bruce Jenner who has transitioned into a woman and now identifies as Caitlyn.

 

Much has been said and much will be said, but Brendan O'Neill at The Spectator made some poignant observations worth sharing. Within hours of Bruce/Caitlyn's new Twitter account there were over a million followers.  Bruce/Caitlyn was hailed as a goddess and approval shared in religious terms. Here's what O'Neill says in The Cult of Caitlyn confirms that there is nothing progressive in transgender politics
 

"There is a palpable religiosity to the wild hailing of Bruce/Caitlyn as a modern-day saint, a Virgin Mary with testicles. Within four hours, more than a million people were following Bruce/Caitlyn’s new Twitter account, hanging on her words like the expectant horde waiting for Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. Her every utterance, all banal celeb-speak, was retweeted tens of thousands of times. Celebs and commentators greeted her as a kind of messiah. ‘We’ve been waiting for you with open arms’, said an overexcited editor at Buzzfeed. Across the Twittersphere Caitlyn was worshipped as a ‘goddess’, a ‘goddess in human form’, a ‘goddess made manifest on Earth’. ‘Caitlyn Jenner could f***ing stab me right now and leave me for dead and I’d die f***ing overjoyed we are not WORTHY OF THIS GODDESS’, said one trans tweeter, and she wasn’t joking.

In the media, the talk is of how Caitlyn and her iconic likeness might give an adrenalin shot to humanity itself. A writer for the Guardian describes Caitlyn as a ‘queen’ and instructs us to ‘bow down, bitches’, telling us her icon on the front of Vanity Fair is ‘life-affirming’. Treating Caitlyn as a kind of Christ figure, only in a push-up bra rather than smock, Ellen DeGeneres says this goddess brings ‘hope for the world’, and we should all try to be ‘as brave as Caitlyn’. Susan Sarandon celebrated Bruce/Caitlyn’s mysterious ‘rebirth’ while Demi Moore thanked him/her for sharing with humanity ‘the gift of your beautiful authentic self. A writer for the Huff Post says the name Caitlyn means ‘pure’ – ‘what a perfect meaning, right?’ Truly, yes, for St Caitlyn, reborn to educate us all, is most pure."

 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center