It should go without saying, but guessing someone's gender identity isn't a great idea. If someone says their pronouns are something, then those are the pronouns that should be used. And whether or not a person is trans is really just no one's business but theirs and that information is theirs to decide what to do with it.
But, unfortunately, not everyone treats others with that understanding and gender stereotypes can place a huge role in people guessing others' gender identity. Case in point, Jenny West of The Challenge has, unfortunately, had to address rumors that she's "a man" or trans for years. Why? Because she's really, really strong.
Jenny West from 'The Challenge' has had to say multiple times that she's not trans.
Jenny made her debut on MTV's The Challenge in 2019's season, "War of the Worlds 2," and she's back for this season, "Total Madness." The fierce competitor made it pretty far in her debut season and is back to fight hard for the title. Over her time on the show, she's made quite a few fans. But, unfortunately, with reality TV fame comes some sad realities, like blatant bullying.
The 33-year-old has been outspoken about her love of weight lifting and she even has guides to help others learn how to do it themselves. She's a bodybuilder who greatly enjoys what she does. But what she doesn't love is what can come from people who don't understand the idea of a female bodybuilder.
Recently, Jenny has become more outspoken about the kind of bullying she faces online due to her body. In a post shared on Instagram on May 11, 2020, she shared a picture of herself with some of the kinds of words she faces online written around her like, "You look like a man," "You're disgusting," and even, "Go kill yourself."
Alongside the post, Jenny shared a caption describing the kind of messages she gets, along with a hopeful message to anyone who goes through it too:
Ugly. You look like a man. Too muscly. Fat. I don't care what people say about me and YOU shouldn't either! I love being 'too' muscly. I love how strong my body is, I don't care if some people feel it makes me look manly. Those people are intimidated. All my life I've been told that and it is like an old record player. Lifting weights makes me feel strong inside as well as outside and those comments that once hurt me now make me feel stronger. I know it's not true. I know it comes from a place of insecurity. Please know that when someone says anything nasty and negative about you that it reflects on them. They are insecure and they say those things to tear you down. DONT LET THEM! DO YOU! And do you UNAPOLOGETICALLY!
She posted again on May 15, specifically addressing her female followers. She shared a photo of herself from the back and shared that she "discarded it straight away as too much. You can see a lot of definition in my back and I worried that it would put my female followers off! Especially when I get people messaging me telling me [I] look like a man and that they didn't realise MTV were 'letting trannies on the show.'"
However, she opted to share the photo to show that she is proud of her body and will never change it because others don't like it.
She posted again on May 20, this time with a focus more towards her male followers. She shared a story in which she was helping to train a man at the gym who asked her, "Does your boyfriend sometimes wish you weren't so muscly?"
The confrontation made her question whether her boyfriend really did feel the same way as the man she was training. It made her consider losing muscle just to be what society deems is "more attractive." She concludes the post, though, the same way she concluded the others: advocating to love your body as is.
So, no, Jenny does not identify as a man or trans and neither of those words should be used to bully or demean someone. Jenny, you go kick some butt and we're rooting for you on The Challenge!
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.