Turns out, in this particular moment in time, there's one letter that separates two very different viewpoints. That letter is "s."
In the past few days, my social media feeds have flooded with positivity toward Caitlyn Jenner. There's been a great spark of educational, productive discourse surrounding her transition; celebrities Instagrammed and tweeted Jenner, people shared her Vanity Fair cover, and her twitter reached 1 million followers in record time.
With all of this support, one thing is clear: we are getting closer. We are closer to acceptance, closer to being a world wherein people can live as they please. Our society is finally beginning to understand that gender and sexuality are fluid spectrums, and Jenner's bravery has definitely aided in this quest by making it more visible.
However, we still have a long way to go. Though there were plenty of positive tweets and statuses about Jenner, there's also been a fair share of memes , articles, and media segments that derail everything the trans movement has been fighting for.
And they're all marked by their lack of the letter "s."
Every time a media source tweets about "Bruce" Jenner and how "he" is now a woman, they make a violent act of transphobia. Every time a Facebook post discusses Jenner without bothering to use her preferred pronouns, it denies her the right to identify as she pleases. Every time someone doesn't put an "s" in front of "he," they are saying that they refuse to acknowledge Caitlyn Jenner as she wants to be acknowledged.
But the thing is, this isn't just about Jenner. This is far bigger than just spreading hatred via social media, because every misgendering, ignorant comment hits more people than just the visible celebrity targets. This is directly attacking a movement that needs support, and it's echoing all of the hatred that trans people face on a regular basis.
To everyone carelessly misgendering Jenner: you are contributing to the genocide of trans women of color by voicing the same ideas as their bigoted murderers. You are contributing to the high suicide rate of transgender people by openly opposing their identities. You are sending the message to every single one of your followers and friends that you don't support transgenderism, and people are listening.
Regardless of what religious belief or skewed media source you're standing by, the message you're sending is one of hatred.
Transgenderism is not limited to magazine covers or news broadcasts. I have transgender professors, family members and friends. It's time to acknowledge that these identities exist and are valid and are everywhere. There are so many trans voices not being heard and transitions that aren't publically broadcasted, and we can't forget about them as we focus on one famous woman.
Caitlyn Jenner is the tip of the iceberg. Insulting Jenner and refusing to accept her identity is insulting every trans person who came before her and who stands beside her.