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Cervantes: Narrow cycle of ignorance

BY CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES | JUNE 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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When school let out for the summer, I expected to enjoy myself in the warming sunlight of my home state of California. It was supposed to be a summer of relaxation and hometown comforts, where the usual controversial topics of my weekly column would be out of my thoughts.

I guess it really was a silly notion, wasn’t it?

During June, Olympic athlete and reality-television star Bruce Jenner officially débuted to the world as Caitlyn Jenner. Thus, she began associating herself with the feminine image and pronouns that go hand in hand with the female gender. As with all titanic news stories and subject matters, there are polarizing viewpoints that conflict with one another. 

However, when it was announced that Jenner was to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 Espy Awards because of her transitioning, the criticisms and negative comments toward the newly fulfilled woman became more hurtful and insensitive. Social networks were lit aflame with messages referring to Jenner in male pronouns and calling her undeserving of the award.

Furthermore, there is a newly created petition that was birthed in order to take away Jenner’s Olympic medals because of her transitioning.

I have to ask, when will our nation, and in turn, the world, finally grow out of the intolerance that makes up a good chunk of small-minded media.

The many posts and publications that denounce Jenner’s rightfully assumed gender are all quite uninformed. They use barely any scientific reasoning and knowledge (those they do use are barely credible, at best) and then fall back on the foundations of religion in order to hang on to some semblance of a valid argument. It is a familiar formula that we should all know. Why? Simple: It has been used before.

If we look at the history of the United States, we see something that I like to call the cycle of ignorant reasoning. It seems that whenever a minority group either works for any type of recognition or somehow gains mainstream attention, the instinct of ignorant people is to attack the aforementioned group with as much devout ammunition as their personal holy book supplies them. 

Whether the question be segregation, interracial marriage, or the judicial rights of homosexuals, there will always those who fall back on the groundless legal weapon of scripture, which is an argumentative strategy that I have found to be used only in the direst times, when no other good reasoning can be given.

Jenner is brave. She has opened herself up to the world knowing full well of the number of people who will turn their backs on her and condemn her for her actions. She has entered a new world in which the public subjugation and ridicule is part of daily life, and all because she no longer wishes to be a prisoner of her body. If facing down a group of hostile people in order to preserve your way of life is not courageous, then what is?

Throughout this process, Jenner has received more than enough support to counteract any negativity sent her way. In response to several insensitive and ignorant tweets, American television personality and LGBT advocate Michelle Visage said, “Educate yourself, or at the very least, ask and you will absolutely be taught. Instantly.” 

At the end of the day, that is what I challenge all of Jenner’s haters and those who bash the transgender community. Put down the Bibles and educate yourselves. It is the only way to grow out of the cycle of ignorance that holds us prisoner.


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