Esther Jenner Talks Caitlyn Jenner & Her Commitment To Respectfully Adjusting To The Transition Is Praiseworthy
What's in a name? For some transgender individuals who choose to change their names, quite a bit. No one knows this better than Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, whose debut Vanity Fair appearance as "her authentic self" broke the Internet with a simple quote: "Call me Caitlyn." And someone else who now understands the importance of the name change is her mother. Caitlyn Jenner's mom is learning not to say Bruce, as she explained to the New York Daily News.
Esther Jenner, 89, told the Daily News that it will take some time for her to learn to say the name Caitlyn. “Think about it. It’s a difficult thing when it’s habit. But I will accomplish this,” she said. She said she whole-heartedly supports her child moving forward in publicly identifying with the gender she had privately identified with since childhood. Esther added, “Bruce/Caitlyn has handled this in a very respectable and respectful way. She’s made comments true to her heart. I have nothing but admiration for my child."
First of all, it is worth applauding Esther for her kind words about her child. It is also worth commending her honesty about the struggles with the name change. But what is most praiseworthy is Esther Jenner's commitment to learning in spite of it being difficult for her.
Esther is setting a great example for family members and close friends of trans individuals in terms of adjusting to a new name. She shows that, while it can be quite challenging to adjust to a new name and new pronouns for a transgender person, it is worth putting forth the extra effort to do so, in order to fully respect their wishes. After all, the American Psychological Association says that one of the most helpful ways for family members and others to be supportive of trans people is to use names and pronouns that are appropriate to the individual's presentation and identity.
The APA also notes that it can definitely take some time to adjust to seeing someone you know well transition, and it can be challenging, so Esther is certainly not the first family member or friend of a trans person to experience this sort of struggle. And it seems like her child is understanding of struggles that others may have with the name. "I don't really get hung up," Caitlyn said in her interview with Vanity Fair. "A guy came in the other day and I was fully dressed — it's just habit, I said 'Hi, Bruce here,' and I went, Oh f--k, it ain't Bruce, I was screwing up doing it."
As with many big changes, it takes time to adjust to a name change. But for all involved, keeping the lines of communication open during the adjustment can only be a positive thing. And it seems like that is what Caitlyn and her mother are doing. Kudos to them!