Unless you've been living under a rock lately, I'm sure that you've seen the hoopla created by Caitlyn Jenner's magazine cover. I usually try to avoid commenting on controversial stuff just because I don't like the drama, but there's one aspect of this one that I just can't shove under the rug.
Let me start off by saying this - I fully support Ms. Jenner's right to do whatever she wants with her body. It's her choice. I may not "get" it and I may not understand it, but at the end of the day it's her body.
I fully support equal rights - for everyone.
I don't care what religion anyone is.
I don't care what color anyone is.
It all boils down to this - if you're a good person, you and I will get along just fine. But if you act like a dick, go and do it elsewhere. Period.
I'm also going to say this - my cousin is in the process of transitioning from female to male. So if you're going to bash anyone in the transgender community, you're screwing with my family. Trust me - you do not want to go there.
Now that all of that is out of the way.....
I've seen several memes floating around questioning whether or not Ms. Jenner is a "hero". Generally, it's a picture of her side-by-side with a picture of a war veteran who has obvious injuries.
Is that veteran a hero? Damned right he is - no question about it in my opinion. My father, my brothers, my nephews, and too many of my friends to count have served (or are still serving) in the military and every single one of them is a hero to me.
Does everyone agree with that? No. There are some people who are anti-war or anti-military for various reasons, and they don't believe that these people are heroes. Do I agree with them? No. Do they have the right to believe what they do? Yes.
What about a police officer? A man who had an officer rescue him from an armed robber might consider that officer to be his hero, while a man who was wrongfully arrested for a crime he didn't commit might not think that officers are heroes.
How about a teacher? She might never put herself in physical danger in her classroom, but the little girl who looked up to her and decided to be a teacher herself might consider that woman to be her hero.
What about the neighbor who called 911 when she saw smoke coming from a nearby home? Because of her call, the house was mostly saved from destruction. I wouldn't be surprised if the homeowner referred to her as a "hero" during an interview later that day.
What about the child who was climbing around on his brother's bed and got his leg caught between the mattress and the headboard and had to yell for his mother to come and "rescue" him? What if he brought this piece of artwork home from school a few weeks later and handed it to his mom, proudly saying to her "you're MY hero, Mom"?
Are you going to tell him anything different?
Caitlyn Jenner might not be a hero to everyone. She might not be a hero to the majority of people in the world. But I promise you this - somewhere, there is someone struggling with his/her sexual identity who is looking up to this woman and who is thankful that she has had the courage to take a very private journey and share it with the world. And that someone might just consider her a hero for it.
We don't have the right to tell other people what to do with their bodies.
We don't have the right to tell people that their belief system is wrong.
We don't have the right to dictate who can or can't be a hero to someone else.
What we do have the right to do is simple -
Stop judging. Be nice.
Seriously. It's that easy.