BY GENEVIEVE KURTZ
Halloween is a time to dress up in costume, carve pumpkins, eat too much candy and celebrate our spookiest holiday. But every year, this holiday comes along with costumes that provoke widespread controversy.
Over the years, we have seen our fair share of gypsy costumes, Native American costumes and others that appropriate races, ethnicities and cultures. There have even been costumes in recent years that satirize mental illnesses, like the “Sexy Anna Rexia” costume, which lets people to dress up as an eating disorder.
The most recent controversial costume this year jabs at the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) community. A few weeks ago, I was strolling through the aisles of Spirit Halloween at the Salisbury Mall, and I was appalled to see an “I am Caitlyn” costume, based off the Vanity Fair cover photo of Caitlyn Jenner.
Jenner is a cultural icon and a hero in the transgender community, but this costume does not reflect that. Instead, it reduces Jenner into a stereotype and marginalizes the transgender community.
While the LGBTQ community gradually moves towards equal rights, the transgender community is still plagued by extreme inequality and transphobic acts of violence. Those who choose to sport this costume are making a mockery of the lifelong physical, emotional and psychological challenges faced by transgender people and others struggling with their gender identity.
While it is possible to create a respectful Caitlyn Jenner costume, the mass-production of this costume emphasizes the false conviction that transitioning solely involves an external physical transformation. Not only does it belittle the challenges faced by transgender individuals and the entire transgender community, but this costume also comes only months after Jenner publicly came out about her gender identity.
Though Jenner received widespread support and validation from the public, she was also frequently criticized and mocked in untasteful ways by a large portion of the population. This costume plays on those criticisms and encourages transphobic attitudes.
Those who endorse the Caitlyn Jenner costume and justify it as humorous, though they may be doing so unintentionally, are displaying signs of disrespect and ignorance.
Bottom line, when it comes to the Trick or Treat day, dress tastefully.