5 Reasons Why Caitlyn Jenner Is Most Certainly An American Hero

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
It's easy to be cynical in this day and age, particularly in an era when self-promotion runs rampant and celebrity is placed on far too high a pedestal. It's even easy, to a certain degree, to see why some people would think that everything Caitlyn Jenner is doing, and has done up to this point, is all part of the fame game. (Though, it's hard to imagine why anyone would ever put themselves through such an emotionally daunting life change for the sake of E! ratings.)

But even with all this — and so much more — working against the public's impression of her, it's impossible not to see her as a glorious trailblazer. Not only did Caitlyn Jenner deserve the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at this year's ESPY Awards, she also deserves to be called heroic. Caitlyn Jenner is an American hero, and she is changing the face of what we define as such. Here are five reasons why.

She's A Crusader For The Transgender Community
One of the most poignant aspects of Caitlyn Jenner's powerful speech last night was her call to arms for people to pay greater attention to our country's transgender youth, many of whom are struggling to simply stay alive and thrive in a society that rejects them. The statistics of deaths among transgender Americans is staggering and heartbreaking, and, as Jenner urged, something must be done. There must be education, and there must be tolerance. For every cause and crusade, there must be people to lead the charge. Jenner is one of those people.

She's Using Her Fame For Good
It's rare that people who have fame, fortune, and a platform in front of a large audience consistently use their status to effect positive change, but that's exactly what Jenner is doing. That's pretty damn heroic if you ask us. You don't have to love everything the Kardashian clan does with the media's attention, but Jenner is clearly using the spotlight for something else entirely — and that in and of itself is a bold move.

She's Courageous
A true hero needs to have courage, right? Well, it's safe to say Jenner it in spades. Like other notable, groundbreaking transgender stars like Laverne Cox and Chaz Bono, Jenner has carved out a path that was never there before. It takes courage to come out as transgender in the relentlessly scrutinizing age of digital media. It takes courage at 65-years-old to become the person you were truly meant to be. Jenner could have easily continued to live a life-not-truly-lived in the shadows, but instead decided it was better late than never. That's courage.

She's A Classic Rags-To-Riches Story
Jenner, at her core, truly embodies the American dream: the ability to come from so little (Jenner grew up modestly in upstate New York) and achieve so much. Jenner became a world-class athlete, a recognizable name, and continues to achieve personal and professional accolades. She paved her own way, and it's lead to some rather incredible accomplishments.

She's An Olympian
Athletes, particularly Olympic athletes, get a lot of love in this country and around the world — and with good reason. Their marvelous feats of strength, athleticism, drive, and bravery inspire us. Jenner is, unquestionably, one of the greatest American athletes of our time. Jenner broke Olympic records, became a household name, and galvanized a nation — now, she's repeating the latter feat for a second time.
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