New Bruce Jenner Transgender Reality Show Is Probably Bullshit

Illustration for article titled New Bruce Jenner Transgender Reality Show Is Probably Bullshit

Okay, guys, Bruce Jenner speculation has officially become Too Much™ now that there are rumors of a Jenner/Kardashian E! network reality show documenting Bruce's transition from male to female. This is peak bullshit capacity, folks. We have jumped the fucking shark, and that shark is the size of Jaws. We're going to need a bigger boat.

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Despite the fact the Gossip Cop seems to give this a 7o% chance of being real, I'm throwing another flag down on the play. The gossip website is apparently drawing this from the ridiculous Us Weekly claim that Jenner has given the tabloid "a major sitdown interview." Uh huh, yeah, and I'll believe that when Bruce actually gives an interview to someone reliable (New York Times? Washington Post?), or, you know, does so in an on-camera interview (or reaches out to me directly, for that matter. Bruce, please have your people call my people, I'm looking for a quote about three words long. Something like, "fuck this noise" or "total bullshit, people" would work). In the mean time, y'all reporting on it are still doing it wrong.

Why do I not believe it? Well, first because I don't believe Jenner is transitioning, and even if I did, it's none of our fucking business. But, since you asked so nicely, I especially do not believe it because unlike his various family members, Bruce has never really hogged the spotlight. Or even really sought it out. His various appearances on the Kardashian Fun Times Variety Hour are not the type of foundations one would need to suggest that Jenner is interested in being the center of attention. Sure, he's there, and sure, he's technically the "patriarch," but anyone who thinks the show is about him hasn't paid any attention to the Kardashians at all (you lucky bastards, by the way, very jealous, much envy, wow). Hard to take centerstage anyway when you married (and divorced, but still sort of sometimes hang out with) Kris Jenner and have a bunch of family members like the Jenners/Kardashians (Jendashians?), with which to compete.

What it really boils down to is this: when asked directly, Bruce has denied the rumors. When TMZ asked him about the trachea shave, he said, "I just didn't really like my trachea." Plenty of cisgender men get plastic surgery. More than I think a lot of people want to think about or wish to admit. Is it so fucking hard to believe that a rich white dude whose current source of income is based on being famous and living in Famousland, USA might be interested in the same sorts of cosmetic surgeries available to many others in his social group? Is it really that farfetched? More farfetched than the idea that Bruce just keeps lying to us about "her" gender identity (because if Bruce really is transgender, then Bruce's pronoun wouldn't be he, him, or his anyway, something the tabloids always seem to conveniently forget)?

Is Jenner testing the boundaries of gender expression? Absolutely, he is. He's doing things which are clearly at odds with his athletic manly-man image our society wants to hold up above all other images. Yet, embracing a more so-called feminine gender presentation or even expression doesn't make one transgender. Having a gender identity which is distinct from the gender you were assigned at birth is what makes one transgender. It can mean that your gender identity is simply more complicated than your assignment (genderqueer individuals), it can mean you are totally binary and reject your assignment in the strongest possible terms. But there are plenty of cisgender men (usually gay, but not always, and that's an intersection with homophobic stereotypes) who manage a feminine gender expression without having a gender identity which is in disagreement with their assignment at birth. They're still men.

Bruce Jenner has told us he is a man. He has not told us anything different. He has had explanations for his cosmetic surgeries. He is just as free as the rest of us to experiment with gender presentation and expression. None of this, not any single piece of it, individually, nor combined, is evidence of transgender status. And it's none of our business. I hate even having to write about it. And as you can see, I take it about as seriously as it deserves.

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Now, kindly shut the fuck up about Bruce Jenner.

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Image via Getty.

DISCUSSION

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John Walker

The way the media's talking (while simultaneously NOT talking) about how Bruce Jenner might be transitioning is so gross and fascinating to me in the same way that the media's way of talking (while simultaneously NOT talking) about Kristen Stewart's alleged bisexuality is so gross and fascinating. The implied message behind both stories is that being trans or being non-straight are inherently center-ring, gawk-able, freak show qualities. Yet, the way the subjects are explicitly avoided in such coverage ("Bruce Jenner Paints His Nails," "Long-Haired Bruce Spends Dad Time With Kendall," "Kristen Stewart Oozes A James Dean Aesthetic With Gal Pal") implies that being trans or non-straight are taboo and inherently bad. And you know that a couple of scrolls down past "Let's Laugh At Bruce Jenner's Trappings Of Femininity," there's a Super-Serious Issue piece about a young trans or non-straight person being bullied or committing suicide. Why don't these outlets connect the dots and realize that the former creates a culture that allows the latter to happen? Whyyyyyyyy are their editorial directors so damn dumb?

Ugh, I'm rambling. But back to your point, yes — everyone shut the fuck up about Bruce Jenner until Bruce Jenner declares otherwise.