Power of the people can create a brand new world

Bruce Jenner.

Bruce Jenner.

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I remain absolutely astonished by the power of social media and its influence upon our world and social mores.

There is no doubt that Facebook in particular has had more influence inprogressing human rights, values and tolerance than many a politician, campaign or individual ever could.

One issue that has absolutely found its wings - powered by the great and the good - is the issue of gender tolerance. While the collective internet does tend to rise in voice to the point of ridicule and sometimes self-parody on occasion, on this issue the power of the people has given a difficult debate the oxygen and exposure it needed.

In the past year, one issue that has progressed in leaps and bounds is the issue of gender identity, particularly of those children who do not conform to their expected gender roles. Even five years ago, it is unlikely a young girl identifying as a boy would have been taken seriously by wider society - even if his or her parents accepted their child’s status. It was only the bravery of parent, children and adults online that brought this issue into the public arena, supported by mainstream media.

Now this week – and love or hate the celebrity Kardashian clan you have to admit they are omnipresent – the father figure formerly known as Bruce Jenner has presented himself as Caitlyn, the identity she has established from now on. It is possible to scoff at the Kardashian’s general attention seeking through their reality TV series, but the impact this has made can only ever be an incredibly positive step toward greater tolerance and acceptance of the trans community. It helps to normalise and make mainstream issues which were previously sensitive.

It it is incredibly heartwarming this week to see a prominent member of the church here in Lancaster take a stance to back this up – calling for change through the church in recognising the trans gender community. His move was influenced by a local member who wanted the blessing of the church in his new identity. But this is just one establishment – the are many fences to be torn down yet.