How Jenner Jokes Will Play an Important Role in Bruce’s Battle

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(Photo credit: AKM-GSI)

There will be lots of jokes this week about Bruce Jenner. Morning radio hosts like me will play parody songs and drop crude one-liners. Late night TV hosts will work Jenner into their monologues. People will laugh. And there certainly ARE humorous aspects to his story.

But the overwhelming sentiment I took away from Jenner’s special interview on ABC Friday night was sympathy. Bruce Jenner is a highly sympathetic figure. He worked hard to earn his spot at the top of the athletic universe. He’s been a loving and active father, it seems, to his children and stepchildren. And he’s a likable guy. Or girl now, I guess.

And before you criticize me for being a hypocrite, Jenner said it himself in his exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer: he wants to go through this process with a sense of humor. So, let’s give him that, but let’s be careful with the type of humor we use. Let’s leave the hurtful gay or homophobic material out of it, because Jenner’s gender issues simply do not apply to sexuality.

One of the statements Jenner made that was heartbreaking to me was when he admitted he doesn’t really socialize very much. He loves to golf. He goes to the golf course and sees men or women who are comfortable in their own skin. He’s envious of them, but doesn’t know where to fit in.

Let me say this: As an avid golfer, who enjoys the game and also the conversation and good-natured needling that goes on during a round on the links, I would play a round of golf with Bruce Jenner any time–whether he’s wearing shorts, slacks, or culottes. And I’d be willing to bet he’d participate in the give and take about his outfit or other topics, just as I do with my regular group when I hit a horrible shot, show up in a horrible shirt, or when my buddy Eric tees off in knickers.

Jenner is an excellent, single-digit handicapper. For our round of golf together, we’ll need to determine whether he plays from the men’s or women’s tees, something he’s still sorting out, along with a lot of other issues. He says he wants to dress and live as a woman, and choose a female name, but he prefers to be called “Mr.” for now, and still wants to be “dad” to his kids. Wow! And you guys thought your wives’ mood swings were extreme!

He’s got a lot on his plate. My heart goes out to him. He’s been conflicted about these feelings since he was a young boy. And he still went out and won a gold medal.

Jenner says he now believes God’s special mission for him might involve illuminating the world about transgender issues. The public portion of his campaign thus becomes one of the most fascinating human interest stories of my generation. His help certainly would give confidence to others who’ve been suffering or conflicted for years.

One thing’s for sure: One of Jenner’s toughest missions ahead may be settling on a new name and finding fashionable shoes in his/her size. I have a hard time finding size-13 in MEN’S kicks!

And who knows what other famous folks may emerge from the shadows and shame? Macho boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who admittedly enjoyed dressing in women’s clothes? Sports broadcaster Marv Albert, who at least once donned panties and a garter belt for an infamous and illicit affair?

On my Twitter page, I asked folks to speculate what celebrity might follow in Jenner’s footsteps. One person said, “I’m holding out hope for Rush Limbaugh.” The conservative radio talker would, of course, have to become Ruth Limbaugh. Any other good ones? What would YOUR name be?

Dave Coombs is a longtime morning radio host. His transgender name would be Davée.

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