It was one hell of a week for Caitlyn Jenner. In an interview with Time Magazine, she made some statements that caused the transgender community and the Internet to go off the rails. Caitlyn was being interviewed by the magazine as she was a runner up for their person of the year award. Her statements caused a stir and some negative responses from both Cosmopolitan and The Advocate.
Jenner was asked what her goal of normalizing transgender was. She then went on to discuss what a good image was. Here is the full excerpt that has everyone up in arms:
You’ve said that “normalizing” being trans is a goal of yours. Where are we now and how far do we have to go for that to be a reality?
The only way you can normalize it is to expose it. And I’m trying to do my best to expose it, and expose these people. I love my girls on my show. Why? Because they’re so normal. They’re just great girls, who are smart, who love working within the community to make a difference, who all have their lives. I love that. And I love hanging out with them. We just laugh and have such a great time. But the more as I proceed and go forward, it is important for me to try to project a good image for this community.
And what is a good image?
One thing that has always been important for me, and it may seem very self-absorbed or whatever, is first of all your presentation of who you are. I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role. So what I call my presentation. I try to take that seriously. I think it puts people at ease. 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. When I go out, as Kim says, you’ve got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there. The second thing I want to do in living my life authentically is be intelligent on the subject. Hopefully as time goes on I’ll learn more and more and more and get better at that.
This had Cosmopolitan’s Alex Rees stating “(the interview) it’s peppered with a lack of awareness bordering on prejudice — which Caitlyn’s been taken to task for in recent months — born of her privilege and, let’s be honest, an often conservative and disconcertingly gender-normative worldview.”
In an article for The Advocate, Dawn Ennis talks about Jenner’s recent meeting with Ambassador Samantha Powersat the United Nations in an online video. Jenner discussed transgender violence in the United States stating she was “pretty comfortable with the issues here in the United States,” conceding that, “we have a long way to go,” and then moving on to discuss the international problem with transgender violence.
I am not her apologist. Although I am her friend, I am also her critic. https://t.co/AQgVJg77uL
— Jenny B. (@JennyBoylan) December 12, 2015
She speaks of the violence against TWOC here in all its horror. https://t.co/AQgVJg77uL
— Jenny B. (@JennyBoylan) December 12, 2015
Caitlyn’s man in a dress statement has certainly setoff many in the transgender community, but as Jenny Boylan points out she was at the UN meeting with the Ambassador. They were discussing transgender issues. In spite of all the controversy we do have that to be excited about. Caitlyn Jenner responded today in her blog stating, “This week a lot of attention was brought to my comments in my TIME interview, in which I said that my appearance is important to me, that I want people to be at ease when they encounter me, and that people are still uncomfortable if a trans person looks like “a man in a dress.” I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I’m truly sorry.”
Wow! I am honestly not sure how to feel about Caitlyn’s statements. I know it is unfortunate but I don’t feel up in arms either. I guess with the good there will always be some bad. She is just learning who she is. Many of these statements seem like internalized transphobia. I do believe that everyone is also hanging on to every word she says and she is bound to put her foot in her mouth. Many in the community are down on her because of her privilege. And to some extent that point is valid. She is however raising awareness on a level that has not been previously achieved. I really wish I could talk to her. I would have a lot to say. She needs to be more aware of what she says regardless. For now I am going to give it a pass but Caitlyn, can you please just listen to Jenny?