I was advised that I needed to be sensitive about transgender issues before I knew what the heck it even means. Well, that could be now as well because I still don’t have a very good understanding. Anyway, now that I have your attention, I will explain.
Before I started law school, I spent a year in seminary and, as part of that program, I was sort of an intern on the campus ministry staff of a university, providing “pastoral care” as an amateur. The campus pastor who was training me for counseling students at this selective school recognized that I was a simple lad with a naive view of life, lacking experience in many societal issues. Consequently, he was apparently worried that I would put my foot in my mouth due to a lack of sensitivity were I to encounter problems that certain students might want to talk about. Maybe he used the example I am about to relate as part of the orientation for each divinity student in the campus ministry, but I had the feeling that I was targeted as one in need of this particular example. I suppose I am glad that the chaplain assumed I had no experience with this issue. He was correct. I did not have any such experience and could well have said the “wrong thing.”
The chaplain said to me, “If a male student shares with you that when he is alone in his home, he likes to dress in his mother’s or sister’s clothing, don’t say that is sick, say, ‘Some people do that. Does it bother you that you like to dress in women’s clothing? Is that why you are here?’ ”
No, Bruce Jenner was not a student at that institution.
The cross-dressing issue never actually came up with any student during my stint at campus ministry. I decided to leave divinity school to go to law school. However, if Caitlyn Jenner wants to talk about it with me now, I am prepared. I will just say, “Some people do that.”
Then I might add, “You need professional help. You seem to be dealing with a serious mental illness.” Is that okay to say? Or must we all say, “I’m okay, you’re okay, and, by golly, it’s okay to think you are Napoleon too.”