I, along with the rest of social media, have watched the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner debate unfold over the past couple of days.
Some of what I have read has been kind. Some has not.
And it’s left my mind spinning.
I cannot relate with Caitlyn or the rest of the Jenner family.
I have never struggled with transgender feelings. As far as I know, neither has anyone in my immediate family. Or extended family.
But what if they did?
What if it was my father? My daughter? My brother?
I’d like to believe I’d treat them with love. Truthfully, knowing so little about a transgender lifestyle, that’s all I could do. Love them.
I am not related to the Jenners.
Nor is it my responsibility to judge their actions. Do I form my own opinions about the situation? Sure. Do I have strong beliefs about it? Yes.
At the end of the day, it’s true: I am not my brother’s keeper.
But as someone wise recently said, I am my brother’s brother.
Or in this case, my sister’s sister.
Right now, it doesn’t matter how I feel about transgender issues. It doesn’t matter how I feel about same-sex attraction. Whether I share my opinion or not, it’s not going to change the fact that Bruce Jenner has asked to be known as Caitlyn Jenner.
What matters is how I act.
I’m not trying to glorify the transgender lifestyle. The media has done that enough.
I am talking about love. About kindness.
I’ve never regretted being kind. I can’t imagine that would change with the newest cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
But I offer this caveat. Showing love toward someone does not mean I agree with their actions. It does not mean I agree with their lifestyle. I believe in the family. But that shouldn’t get in the way of kindness.
In fact, kindness was how I first came to know my Savior, Jesus Christ.
My family was introduced to the LDS church when I was five.
Before my parents were officially baptized into the church, I attended meetings with my aunt, Marney.
I loved going to church. I loved attending Primary, the children’s Sunday school.
I trilled with excitement each week as we learned new songs that came with fun, sometimes silly hand gestures.
The first song I learned while attending my beloved Primary class was simple.
“If you don’t walk as most people do, some people walk away from you, but I won’t. I won’t.
“I’ll walk with you, I’ll talk with you, that’s how I’ll show my love for you.”
This was my favorite song for years.
I have never struggled with transgender issues.
I have struggled with depression. With anxiety. With the pain of making bad choices.
I’ve struggled through a parent’s divorce. Through countless personal battles fought within the depths of my own heart.
Through them all, I had people who embodied the lesson I learned as a child.
They walked with me, they talked with me. That’s how they showed their love for me.
I don’t understand why God gives some of his children trials that are viewed so controversially.
I don’t know why God gave me the trials I’ve had.
But I do know that he sent a Savior to be the example for us.
A Savior who teaches 5-year-olds and 50-year-olds to love one another.
And so, to the woman I’ll never meet, I say this.
I’ll walk with you. I’ll talk with you. I’ll call you Caitlyn.
That’s how I’ll show my love for you.