SUNYLGBTQ2AI MATTERS

A space for sharing stories, ideas, and concerns for the SUNY LGBTQ2AI community.

‘I am Alena’: Life as a Trans Woman where Survival Means Living as Christopher

Alena“At 8pm on Sunday, Alena Bradford will settle down like millions of other Americans in front of her TV set for the start of I Am Cait, the reality show following the gender transition of Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner. The eight-part series on the E! channel will tell a story, as Jenner puts it, “about getting to be who you really are”.

“It promises to be a gripping viewing experience, given the controversial and deeply personal nature of its subject matter. But there will be few people across the country who will be watching quite as intensely as Alena.

“If Jenner has become today’s figurehead for an elite gender transition, in her case from sporting male hero to female pin-up on the cover of Vanity Fair, Alena represents those who have been left behind. To her family and associates in her south Georgia town she is Christopher, an African American man with a round face, pronounced cheekbones and short black hair.

“But that isn’t who she is at all.

“I am Alena,” she says in an unconscious echo of the title of Jenner’s TV series. “I may not be externally, but I am Alena. Unfortunately, I live as Christopher.”

“Alena is one of tens of thousands of trans people across the United States still forced to live in the gender they were assigned at birth, stuck in a half-life in mid-transition. It’s a lonely and dangerous place to be, as Caitlyn Jenner pointed out in her ESPY awards speech last week. “They’re getting bullied, they’re getting beaten up, they’re getting murdered and they’re committing suicide. The numbers are staggering, but they are the reality of what it’s like to be trans today.”

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This entry was posted on August 2, 2015 by in CULTURE MATTERS: ART, TRANS* MATTERS and tagged , , .
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