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Rock band Pale Waves, rapper Quincey White and the parents of Trayvon Martin (Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin) sat down with ‘TRL’ hosts Sway Calloway and Nessa this morning.
You can be an Olympian, a cover model and a fashion icon, but if you’re transgender, the criticism will come.
Caitlyn Jenner strode on stage at the 2015 ESPY Awards on Wednesday to accept the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. It was her first public appearance since she announced her widely lauded transition to the world in an interview with Diane Sawyer earlier this year. She gave an impassioned speech, with a simple request for viewers and her fellow athletes — show trans people your respect.
Enter Peter Berg, director of the 2004 film “Friday Night Lights” and creator of the Emmy-winning series of the same name. Berg took to Instagram early Thursday to criticize the decision to select the athlete for the award, posting a photo mashup of Jenner with U.S. Army veteran Gregory D. Gadson, who lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb. “One man traded 2 legs for the freedom of the other to trade 2 balls for 2 boobs,” the caption reads. Berg’s addition to the post consists of one word: “Yup.”
The Huffington Post has reached out to Berg for comment.
The Arthur Ashe award “is meant to honor individuals whose contributions transcend sports through courageous action,” ESPN said in a statement when it was forced to address criticism of its selection. “We are proud to honor Caitlyn Jenner embracing her identity and doing so in a public way.”
Award nominations are controversial — some worthy nominees get snubbed and others overlooked. Individuals like Lauren Hill, the inspiring 19-year-old basketball player who died from brain cancer earlier this year, are equally deserving of praise and admiration.
But the criticism surrounding Jenner’s selection hasn’t been based on her athletic prowess, her activism or her courage. It’s based on deeply seeded transphobia perpetuated by those who focus on genitalia rather than gender identity — people who ask invasive personal questions that fuel dangerous tabloid voyeurism.
The world of sports is still a notoriously unaccepting place for many trans athletes. States like Virginia and North Carolina require students to play on teams based on the gender listed on their birth certificate, and no openly transgender competitor has ever participated in the Olympics, though they may be allowed to.
Jenner’s actions unequivocally transcend the nature of a sports landscape that’s still struggling to accept gay athletes, let alone transgender ones. Her bravery compelled a room of many of the world’s most celebrated athletes to give her a standing ovation.
“Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect,” Jenner said at the event. “And from that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”
The criticism may be inevitable now, but it won’t be for much longer. A better world, Caitlyn’s world, is right around the corner.
Take note, Mr. Berg.
UPDATE: 6:25 p.m. — Berg espoused support for Jenner and “trans people everywhere” in a Thursday evening Instagram post. He wrote that he’d intended for his original post to shed light on “our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country.”
You can watch Caitlyn Jenner’s entire speech below.
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Marilyn Manson is streaming his latest album, Pale Emperor, in full ahead of its January 19 release. It’s the ninth studio LP from the shock rocker, who says that it’s his best since 2000’s Holy Wood. “The album feels tied in to the fable of Mephistopheles, where life is fated. I haven’t felt this way since Holy Wood, where fate has brought things together.”
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