Caitlyn Jenner is a name that has circulated the world of news, social media and beyond this year. The former Olympic decathlon winner and ex-husband to Kris Jenner revealed that she identified as a transgender woman in an interview with Diane Sawyer in April 2015.
The announcement was met with praise and admiration as well as criticism; but what ever way you choose to look at it, Caitlyn has opened up discussions about sexual orientation, gender identity and promoted openness and acceptance for the LGBT community in doing so.
This November when Glamour Magazine honored Caitlyn with their annual 'Woman of the Year' award, they received some unfortunate backlash from the husband of former winner Moira Smith who wrote an open letter saying he’s “shocked and saddened to learn” that Jenner won it this year.
"[A] slap in the face to the memory of our Hero"
Moira Smith, a New York City Police Officer, was killed on September 11, 2001, as she attempted to lead people out of the Twin Towers following the attacks on the World Trade Center. She was deservedly awarded Glamour's 'Woman of the Year' in 2001 for her acts of heroism.
James Smith apparently Fed-Exed the award back to Glamour with a letter stating the following:
Was there no woman in America, or the rest of the world, more deserving than this man? At a time when we have women in the armed forces fighting and dying for our country, heroic doctors fighting deadly diseases, women police officers and firefighters putting their lives on the line for total strangers, brave women overcoming life threatening diseases…the list of possibilities goes on…is this the best you could do? I can only guess that this was a publicity stunt meant to resuscitate a dying medium. After discussing this slap in the face to the memory of our Hero with my family, I have decided to return Moira’s award to Glamour Magazine.
Moira Smith is indeed a modern day hero, but that certainly doesn't discount the struggle Jenner has experienced and the social barriers she has challenged in the last year. Both of these women have done something special and it seems narrow-minded and petty to belittle one of them.
Mr. Smith unkindly refers to Jenner as "this man" which is ironically the kind of insensitiveness that Jenner speaks out against. He also forgets to be insulted by the other 2015 award winners, Reese Witherspoon and Victoria Beckham; not to mention the list of celebrities that have won before them including, Cheryl Cole, Kate Hudson and Lady Gaga. As inspiring as these women are, I do not recall them saving any lives, yet they have escaped scrutiny. Why are they deserving of the award and Caitlyn is not?
Glamour recognizes women who have made "a significant difference in the world"
Admirably, Glamour Magazine responded to Smith's letter in a statement saying they were proud to honor both women:
Caitlyn Jenner has helped shine a light on the problems faced by transgender youth and given voice to a community that is often unheard. Women of the Year Awards recognizes brave, bold women who in their individual ways have all made a significant difference in the world.