Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Yesterday Caitlyn Jenner revealed to Ellen that she's been gaslighted and called it tradition

I'm sure that you (like me) have been following (either to a greater or lesser extent) the transformation of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner. If not, you've at least probably heard of it whether or not you actually care. I wanted to speak out about one thing in particular with regard to Caitlyn Jenner, and that is that she has been gaslighted. Because of that I don't think she's the best spokesperson for the queer community. This became all too clear on an interview Caitlyn did with Ellen on her show that aired September 8th. Caitlyn told Ellen "I'm a traditionalist. I'm older than most people in the audience. I kind of like tradition, and it's always been a man and a woman. I'm thinking, I don't quite get it." Ellen's response was perfect on Howard Stern when she said, "She [Caitlyn] still has a judgement about gay marriage." This despite her being a part of the community. Sigh.

Gaslighting. Are any of you familiar with the term?

Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse. It's essentially the attempt of one person to overwrite another person's reality. Gaslighting does not require deliberate plotting. For example, every time an obvious hate crime is portrayed as an isolated case of mental illness, this is gaslighting. The media is saying to you, what you know to be true isn't true.

Gaslighting does not always involve anger or intimidation. And a person that is engaging in gaslighting does not simply need to be right, they also need for you to believe they are right. It's an especially terrifying tactic because the manipulation makes a victim feel as if they cannot trust their own mind, that their memories and experiences are not valid or trustworthy, and that their reactions are illogical and irrational. Common ways to gaslight someone are using terms like:

"You're too sensitive."

"You never remember things correctly."

"You're always making something out of nothing."

Gaslighting. It's awful, but it happens every single day. I guess my only point in bringing this up is that Ellen is spot on and should continue to be influential as far as queer politics go. But Caitlyn is not a reliable spokesperson. She's clearly been gaslighted, and I think that once this has happened to you it makes it very difficult for a person to stand up for others when they're having trouble finding the strength to even stand up for themselves.


  1. He became a woman to justify wanting to be with a man - yeah, probably not the spokesperson you want.

  2. I already aired my thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner last week.

  3. I can't help but feel that this entire transformation has been pushed for attention and celebrity. He could have made this transformation privately and spared his children discomfort, but instead you see him/her everywhere. I have no problem with people choosing to become the person they are most comfortable being, but I'm just tired of hearing about this.

  4. It is clear Caitlyn Jenner did not spend much time researching the transgender community before her announcement. Words and ideas in the LGBTQ community have been in constant flux in Jenner's lifetime and it is obvious she hasn't spent much time talking to people with similar struggles. Given that, it shouldn't be a surprise that most of her interviews contain misstatements which along with her political background, makes her a bad spokesperson..

    It is also clear her internal struggles are going to take much longer than the relatively quick external change. No transgender female would ever say that her sexuality is heterosexual if she only dates women - her lack of understanding of terminology is clear here. (So far she has only dated women and claiming Caitlyn is doing this to date men is not only insulting but also ridiculous. Statements like this only divide the LGB and the Transgender parts of the community and should have no place in the discussion).

    In addition, few among us can imagine the the emotional toll of being seen early in life as the pinnacle of masculinity while feeling completely different on the inside. It is too bad her transition is happening in the spotlight as she is making many missteps. While she brought some of this on herself this story was always going to be huge.

    Instead of running from her past, Caitlyn ran towards it and a part of me applauds her bravery. The other part isn't sure if her motives are pure and I know I won't watch any of the shows on E!. It will be interesting to see her adjust after a lifetime of hiding. I do think in time, Caitlyn can become a good spokesperson and, in the process, find a bit of inner peace.

  5. So Caitlyn Jenner is against gay marriage? That's ridiculous. How can someone want so much understanding and then be closed minded on other similar issues? I don't get it and can only conclude her mind is not all there.

    I've never heard the word gaslighted before, but I've experienced it. I'm not sure how Caitlyn has though, but I suppose it can happen to anyone.

    1. She's definitely been gaslighted. Example, she's been told all her life "Marriage must be between a man and a woman only." This is a gaslighting statement meant to change the reality for a person. For example, babies aren't born with the preconceived notion that marriage is between a man and a woman. They are brainwashed to this by statements made within society from people who have "strong opinions" and want it as truth.

  6. Gaslighting is something I have to constantly avoid (and be on the lookout for) at my employment (you know where I work). But avoiding it in general is a good idea all around. :)

  7. I've not followed her much, but only because I feel all the attention is a form of bullying and she should be left alone. I find a lot of people have views contrary to their own self interests. It's baffling.

  8. Let me get this straight (no pun intended)... she's allowed to switch genders, but still likes relationships traditional? But doesn't she like females? I've seen her flirting with them as Caitlyn when she was handing out condoms. So doesn't that now make her gay?

  9. I had never heard of gaslighting save for references to the wonderful Ingrid Bergman movie. Interesting.

    I've been avoiding all of the Jenner stuff. It just doesn't fascinate me as much as it seems to fascinate some people. I've always been of the opinion that one should seek their best happiness (so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else). I wish her well, but I don't feel the need to watch her journey. I hope that makes sense.

  10. I'm very familiar with gas lighting. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, but we are all okay now. Lots of therapy and the need to actually sever ties with some family members for the sake and sanity of the rest of us. I really am confused by her objection to gay marriage. It doesn't resonate with me at all. Am i missing something? I agree with Ellen's response.

  11. I've pretty much avoided all news of Jenner because a) there's just too much of it and b) I really feel uneasy with the emphasis (which she seems to have encouraged) on how she looks, what she wears, all the makeup and posturing and fashion. I mean, much as I love fashion my idea of a real woman is Jane Goodall, not someone who now resembles the female Kardashians.

    Years ago the famous English writer/biographer James Morris became Jan Morris, and her idea of womanhood is much more real. Before the surgery, James was a writer and looked like a country gentleman. After the surgery, Jan was a writer and looks like a country lady--sensible shoes, just a touch of makeup, tweeds and sweaters. The heart and essence of Morris the human being remained unchanged, but then she seems a person of intellectual and emotional depth. Jenner, in contrast, is pretty shallow and her views on gay marriage are silly and hypocritical.

  12. She did say she was a Conservative Republican Christian. The irony is strong with this one, but the logic is not.

  13. Heard the term before, Micheal, but never knew what it meant. Now, thanks to you, I have something of an education. :)