Caitlyn Jenner At Odds With Transgender Community Again

By on September 9, 2015
'kaitlyn jenner at the espy awards'

Caitlyn Jenner has taken some heat while transitioning to a trans woman. Most of her critics have been outside of the trans community with some believing that her transition was about money or publicity. Caitlyn has scoffed at those claims saying she needs neither and hopes to raise awareness for the issues many trans people face and that she hopes to get it right. She has used her power in the media to shed light on the trans community through her docu-series I Am Cait yet she has caused some friction within the very community she hopes to represent. So what’s the problem?

Poor Caitlyn has had a tough time of it. She has tried to ease into her transition hoping to cause the least discomfort for her family as possible. But it isn’t just her family she has struggled with. She has also been taken to task by some of her friends on her show over her reluctance to use the word “we” when talking about the trans community. While it is repeatedly stressed that everyone’s transition is different, Caitlyn’s has highlighted the privilege she enjoys whether it is the surgeries she was able to afford, the ability to hire stylists and even her ability to pull in high profile media experts to help control the image she wants to pull out. Yet, she still appeared to be in a “me” and “them” sort of attitude causing friction within the community.

Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair

Pronouns are important for the trans community and while “me” and “them” are not the same as the pronouns attached to gender, the use of “them” was sending a message that Cait was not part of the community. Still, it is new to her and her failings are public making her an easy target.

She has suffered other criticism, coming from someone featured on her show. Miss Ross, a trans woman appeared on I Am Cait reluctantly. She wanted to raise awareness for her business Trans Tech Social Enterprises to show some of the positive empowerment in the trans community. Instead the focus was on former sex work, something that frustrated her enough to write an open letter to Caitlyn placing the blame on her as an executive producer of the show.

In her Espy speech, Caitlyn addressed the ridicule she faces in the form of jokes telling those who make fun that she can take it while defending kids and teenagers, saying that they shouldn’t have to. One of the latest attempts to mock Caitlyn is a Halloween costume that mimics the bustier she wore when coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair.

The costume has been called trans phobic but Caitlyn doesn’t mind it. She told Matt Lauer on Today, “I don’t think it’s offensive at all,” claiming to, “be in on the joke,” while acknowledging that the transgender community probably disagrees with her.

Caitlyn’s show is not doing well ratings wise and often comes off more as a public service announcement than a show that shows the human side of someone transitioning. The family interaction has been brief with what feels like a few family flare-ups thrown in to remind us that she was once a part of the famous Kardashian family. Even her face to face with Kris has been teased for weeks now but appears as if it may fall short with her ex-wife’s comment about her “nice shoes” getting the most press.

Did Caitlyn Jenner make a mistake with this docu-series? While her desire to raise awareness is admirable, is she the person to do it? She shouldn’t have to apologize for her privilege. After all she worked hard for what she has but there is an inequity with her and much of the trans community, especially trans women of color. She tries, but often seems at a loss. Her flubs aren’t meant to be harmful but is she helping the trans community? Let us know what you think here at Haveuheard.

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