A year ago while giving my keynote at Frederick Pride I posed a question to the listening crowd. “How many of you know a trans person?” Only a few hands shot up. I asked, “Well who am I then?” Suddenly all of their hands went up. They realized that they now knew at least one trans person – me. And so with Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out and reveal we now have millions of people in our county and around the world able to raise their hand in response to that question. That is a very good thing.

The time from Jenner’s interview in a rumpled shirt to her spectacular reveal as a “pin-up” girl likely seems like a magical transformation to some. It is not. I can assure you that Ms. Jenner has been working toward that end for a number of years. This did not happen “overnight.” Transition is a long, twisting, and bumpy road for most persons who embark on that journey. It is important to note this was not a chrysalis-and-butterfly moment. It just feels that way to the general public and media. So if you know a person who is in transition do not expect their transformation to be instantaneous. Even for Jenner this was not the case. Caitlyn’s transition is all new to us, not to her, and every transition road is different.

Is she lovely? Most certainly. And I am very happy for her. However please consider that the image you see was the result of not only Caitlyn’s efforts but those of a small army of stylists, make-up artists, skilled surgeons, and perhaps the best photographer in the world. It is a contrived image prepared by experts. I would argue that with that kind of team and resources a potted plant could be made to look sexy.

What must be understood is that many, perhaps most, trans persons do not even have a fraction of the resources that Caitlyn Jenner has had available to support her transition. This is the stark reality for many trans people and most assuredly for trans persons of color. Caitlyn Jenner is the far-reaching exception, not even remotely the “rule.” And those who do not, in their post transition life, fall neatly into some idyllic view of a man or woman frequently end up the focus of jokes, ridicule, and too often violence, sometimes paying with their very lives, simply for existing.

Here is what I am really disappointed with in the Jenner reveal. Sex. What could have been a fantastic teaching moment has just merely played in the media’s hands by once again objectifying the female body, and in this case a trans woman’s body. It seems so sadly common to qualify a woman’s value based on her looks rather than what she says or does. To quote Jon Stewart from a recent bit on Jenner, “Congratulations, welcome to being a woman in America.” It could have been different.

Jenner, having found cover in being the “ultimate male,” now seems to have needed to present herself at the opposite end of the spectrum. I am happy that she has unveiled a presentation that makes her happy, however contrived it may be. Of course I suspect that in “everyday” mode she looks a lot like most other 65-year-old trans women and will have to move in the real world in the same manner as the rest of us. Had she shown up in professional garb, or even workout clothes, I might have been more impressed.

I can only hope that her upcoming TV series tells an authentic story and makes some effort to show the world that the less “perfect” among the trans community are equally valid persons with their own stories. The promo for the show found online does not bode well for that. It features Jenner in the typical tabloid coverage of putting on make-up and getting dressed that we have come to expect from media focused trans narratives. Let’s hope that it is more than that.

I was also dismayed by some, and one media person in particular, who have declared Jenner a hero and the de-facto spokesperson for trans people. Let me offer you that nobody gets the right to determine who your heroes are except for you. Is Jenner a hero? I would say we need to wait and see. For me, I have many trans heroes and in large measure they are those who took the journey before me and showed that it was possible. In reality Jenner being able to do this at this time has been enabled by all of those who have transitioned before her. We need to acknowledge those persons and their efforts too.

There is a silver lining in all of this and that is these events finally have people talking about being trans and moving that dialog into the mainstream. It has made available to all of us who are trans a teaching moment and an opportunity to speak openly and honestly about our lives, stories, hopes, and dreams. At the end of the promo for her new show Jenner utters a phrase which I have been using for the last few years: The new normal. I could not agree more with that sentiment and it is incumbent on all of us, trans or not, to make existing as trans the new normal in everyday society.