Caitlyn Jenner Haters Petition to Revoke Her Olympic Gold Medal

Bruce Jenner

A few thousand people with a lot of time on their hands have petitioned the Olympic Committee to revoke Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner's 1976 Olympic gold medal because they erroneously argue that she wasn't a man when she won and doesn't deserve it. Theirs is a flawed, ignorant argument and a sad waste of energy — but it has opened up a discussion we can't deny about whether Jenner truly deserves her past achievements because of her gender identity.

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Jenner, who caused a complete sensation this week by appearing for the first time as "Caitlyn" on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, has apparently upset a lot of people who may not be able to rid every store in the nation of copies of VF, but are trying their damnedest to ensure she doesn't go down in the history books as someone who broke a world record in the late '70s by scoring 8,616 points in the decathlon at the Montreal Olympics. Hers was a huge accomplishment and it's petty to think a petition posted on Change.org and signed by more than 9,000 is going to rewrite history.

But they're trying. Here's an excerpt from the petition letter, which was written by Jennifer Bradford on June 1 — the same day Jenner was unveiled as Vanity Fair's cover model:

It has recently come to light that gold medalist Bruce Jenner is in fact transgender, and therefore, identifies as a woman. We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men's sports and vice versa. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we must ask whether or not it is proper that Ms. Jenner should retain her olympic records in light of this, as we must now either claim that Bruce Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner are two entirely different people (which we know is not true), or that Bruce Jenner was, in fact, a woman participating in a men's event. It is only fair to all involved that women receive their credit as champions of the Decathalon and that the men racing Ms. Jenner are not expected to compete with a superior, streamlined being such as herself.

Look, I don't know Bradford. I give her credit for referring to Jenner using feminine pronouns and she brings up a talking point that I'm sure many are discussing with their friends or in their homes, whether they publicly admit it or not. My issue with this petition is that it reminds me a lot of a discussion I had with someone when I was younger about whether homosexual couples have the right to get married (I believe they do). Her response each time I tried to have a reasonable debate about it: "What's next? Are we going to let people marry goats and chickens?"

One thing has so little to do with the other it's offensive to bring them up in the same discussion. And that's how I feel about any talk of stripping Jenner of her medals. I understand that she has always felt like a woman, but the cold hard fact is that she was living her life as a man when she won the gold — which means she participated in the men's event as a man and deserves the medal. Why must this point be argued? Ah, yes. Because when people feel powerless and scared, they try to take control over something — I think lots of people are frightened by Caitlyn's mainstream popularity, and here comes an attempt to regain control. 

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Caitlyn was "born" this week. She was still Bruce in 1976. I understand this can confuse people, make them shake their heads, and just want to fight it with all of their might because it goes against the grain of what they feel is normal and acceptable. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when they are carried away by fear and act in ways that will only hurt those people, we have to see it for what it is. I wish people would just stop and show a little compassion for Caitlyn and her struggle, while understanding that a negative act like trying to revoke her gold medal isn't really helping the transgender community or any community.

Do you think the Olympic Committee should revoke Caitlyn Jenner's gold medals?

 

Image via Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images

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