What is a hero? Webster’s Dictionary defines a here as a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. With Caitlyn Jenner making her debut, the term has been thrown around social media lately, not as praise, but a question. Instead of Caitlyn Jenner, hero! My feed has been filled with Caitlyn Jenner, hero? What does hero mean to you?
There is a post going around showing a war veteran performing an act of military valor. It is captioned with the phrase “this is what a real hero looks like” is hero a black and white term? Can someone winning an internal war against themselves not be put in the same category as someone fighting a war against other countries?
I come from a strong military family, both of my grandfathers as well as many uncles and cousins have defended our country and for that, I will always thank them for their service. I also come from a generation lusting for change. Change of thought, change of tradition and change of how people are received by society. I share in that lust. Some of the greatest people I know are members of the LGBT community and seeing the leaps and bounds we, as a society, have made lately has filled me with such hope for a better future of acceptance and equality for all.
That is, of course, until I saw the negative backlash being vocalized at Caitlyn having the strength and courage to publicly fight her battle and win. I pose this question to those so full of hate: Did a man putting on a dress disturb your breakfast today? Were you directly impacted by Caitlyn choosing to wear lipstick? No. I am sure you were able to go on business as usual. What about the boy in the seventh grade who felt trapped in the wrong body his whole life? Maybe seeing that cover displaying Caitlyn’s act of bravery was the difference between accepting who he is on the inside or him deciding to take his own life. Is that not an act of heroism? Perhaps Caitlyn didn’t save this boy intentionally, but did so as a result of her actions.
We are all fighting different battles whether it be on the battlefront of war, the football field trying to win the big game (growing up, how many of your heroes were on posters around your bedroom?) or maybe the war you are fighting is with yourself. I celebrate and honor all of you heroes. If you got out of bed today and fought for the greater good, then you are my hero.
If we can start as a society to build each other up instead of breaking each other down, then we can all be heroes and I salute you.