Jenner’s reported attendance at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration once again calls into question the divide between her words and her actions with regard to the trans community.
By Jamie Neal
Caitlyn Jenner. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Nederlander)
Caitlyn Jenner, a long-time supporter of the Republican party, has reportedly accepted an invitation to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration. Jenner’s acceptance is more than slightly problematic, given both Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s views toward the LGBTQ community. Jenner’s decision to support Trump shows her true colors and privilege — both of which often don’t align with those of the LGBTQ community.
Unlike many other transgender people, Jenner had the ability to disappear for months and reappear closer to the person she always wanted to be. While Jenner had to deal with tabloids speculating on her gender identity, the average trans/non-binary/GNC person has to endure that transition in the eye of the general public too, whether it’s a trip to the nail salon or a quick errand to the grocery store. There’s still a worry over whether a five o’clock shadow might be poking through make-up; still a worry about having to deal with all the long stares.
While Jenner was hardly immune from gendered speculation herself, the many advantages she continues to have, as well as the claims she’s made about immersing herself in the trans community, have put her in a position to be a face for the trans community. This is why Jenner’s speaking at the Republican National Convention in support of Trump was so troublesome — and it’s why her attending Trump’s inauguration doubles down on the problem even further.
On her reality show, I Am Cait, Jenner stated that she was “not a big fan of Trump” because of his “macho attitude.” Yet even then, her position on Trump’s views on women were murky at best. “I think he would have a hard time with women when he doesn’t even realize it,” Jenner said. “ It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be good for women’s issues. I think he would be very good for women’s issues.”
A president-elect who supports the First Amendment Defense Act, who has stated he will not create federal regulations protecting which bathrooms trans/non-binary/GNC people can use, and who plans to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court in hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade is going to be good for women’s issues?
Filling Justice Antonin Scalia’s open Supreme Court seat, vacant since February, will likely be one of Trump’s first priorities. It also has the ability to directly affect women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community for decades to come.
Jenner joked at the Republican National Convention that it was more difficult to come out as a Republican than it was to come out as trans — a stark comparison given Trump’s policies toward both women and the LGBTQ community.
Jenner admitted shortly after her April 2015 interview with Diane Sawyer that she had isolated herself from the trans community but that she wanted to get out, hear the stories, and give voice to the community. Since then, she’s been on a bus tour with several prominent trans women, and sought advice from actresses, authors, and political activists within the community. Little seems to have made an impact.
Jenner’s continued support of Trump and his administration shows how out of touch with the trans community she is. Jenner got what she wanted, though: aRepublican in the White House. Unfortunately for many women and LGBTQ people, that reality will likely have disastrous consequences.
She may not have asked to be the spokeswoman for the trans community, but Jenner has assumed that role by using her platform to express her desires to do more for the community. Yet, in aligning herself with a president who has refused to protect trans people in any significant fashion, Jenner contradicts statements she’s made in the past about wanting to be a public face for the trans community.