When Bruce Jenner made his brave announcement on that Dianne Sawyer special, I was in tears. At that point I had read the gossip regarding Jenner’s alleged transition but given the Kardashian’s slate of rumors and fake stories, I never took it serious. Watching the reality star explain that after over 60 years he was finally going to be his authentic self was heartbreaking. Imagine living a life you’re not supposed to live for so long. Imagine being unhappy with your gender and putting everyone’s happiness ahead of your own for over 60 years. Witnessing this announcement made me beam with pride for the former Olympian. Meeting Caitlyn Jenner on that iconic Vanity Fair cover was surreal. Caitlyn looked sensational, she was glowing, she was who she was supposed to be. On a slightly selfish note, I was happy the LGBTQIA+ community added a new voice with such a huge platform. It’s unfortunate that presently, I wish that voice would just shut up.
Many people might assume that my problem with Caitlyn is our opposing political views. But honestly, I have no problem with Caitlyn being a Republican who voted for Donald Trump. My problem with her is how tone deaf she is. Caitlyn has previously stated that part of the reason why she’s a Republican is merely financial. In fact, the Republican Party has a larger amount of affluent supporters who feel this institution will work harder to protect and maximize their assets. But also, Republicans have a documented history of problematic views against the LGBTQIA+ community, specially with transgender individuals. Between the bathroom laws, the indifference towards the increased rate of suicide amongst trans folks, and now the trans ban in the military, Jenner’s response to it all has been a whiny “but… you promised!”
Rather than being the voice for the movement that she claimed she would be, Caitlyn has become a metaphorical Judas to the community. By expressing her support towards the party and members like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Mike Huckabee, she’s saying that she cares more about her lavish lifestyle, her increased tax-breaks, and her old-school ways, than the safety of a trans girl in high school. Caitlyn Jenner is a trans-woman who is still holding on to the problematic views of Bruce Jenner, an affluent, conservative, traditionalist man; a man who if it wasn’t for his own inner struggles, would probably be against all trans rights. To call Caitlyn an activist would be a disservice to those who actually seek social change. Caitlyn’s brand of activism is that of making meaningful speeches only when receiving awards, that of posting a vaguely supportive message on a selfie and call it a movement, that of writing her name on a check when feeling charitable.
Caitlyn Jenner’s privilege blurs her perception towards the community that needs a loud voice to make their rights (lack there of) noticeable. In fact, Caitlyn believes trans individuals should do their best to not be visible. To the former Olympian, trans women should all look extremely feminine and try to blend in with biological women.
“If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good.”
– Caitlyn Jenner to TIME Magazine
Trans visibility is extremely important, especially in Trump’s America. Visibility inspires people and gives them that hope, that extra push, to unapologetically be their most authentic self. Visibility also breaks stigmas, opens minds amongst society, and allows even the most ostracized individuals to pave the way for generations to come. The majority of trans people in America don’t have access to proper healthcare, let alone access to extensive feminizing procedures, designer clothing, and quality products to help them “blend in.” If your appearance makes society uncomfortable, society should work on adjusting that. Caitlyn regressive statement is the equivalent of parents telling their gay son to be more masculine because his flamboyance is embarrassing. It’s a toxic mentality.
Following the trans ban from days ago, and her “but Trump, YOU PROMISED!” social media statement, Caitlyn Jenner was photographed wearing a Make America Great Again cap in her luxury car after a golf match. This perfectly encapsulates why as a society, we shouldn’t listen to what Caitlyn Jenner has to say anymore. Her constant actions and statements make it clear that not only does she not understand her fellow trans brothers and sisters, but also, she can’t be trusted to learn or know better. She can’t properly advocate for something she doesn’t understand. I am hopeful that at some point (hopefully soon) Jenner will have an enlightment. Maybe soon she will understand the importance of visibility, the hypocrisy of her actions, the importance of actual activism and standing up for the rights of those who don’t have her privilege. But until then, Caitlyn Jenner kindly shut the fuck up!