You may have done a double-take in reading this article’s title: “Caitlyn Jenner– transphobia?” She is a transgender woman, for crying out loud! How can she be transphobic?
It does feel surreal that one of the most famous transgender people is herself majorly on the fence about LGBT rights. She appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show and discussed her Republican beliefs and her thoughts on same-sex marriage (which she insisted on calling “gay marriage“). She said:
“I kinda like tradition. It’s always been a man and a woman.”
Ellen pressed her, and she eventually agreed that same-sex marriage should be legal. It’s strange that Caitlyn separates out “gay rights” and “trans rights” in her mind, demanding the latter, while holding on to her staunchly conservative views about the former. Regardless of who wins the GOP nomination in 2016, it’s practically a guarantee that they will be anti-choice, anti-birth control, anti-sex education, anti-LGBT rights, and anti-maternity leave.
Because Caitlyn was born biologically male, she doesn’t have to worry about the birth control and maternity leave stuff (and even if she were born female, she would likely be well into menopause). So I guess she can justify to herself that those issues don’t affect her. Although I still find it baffling when women vote for misogynist policies.
“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.”
Whoa, back up, Cait.
First of all, no woman is responsible for not making people uncomfortable. Important women have been doing things that have made people (and society in general) uncomfortable for hundreds of years. No woman is responsible for looking or acting a certain way in order to keep more privileged people from feeling discomfort. Period. In this way, Caitlyn is seriously showing her misogynist GOP sensibilities.
Secondly, all of the above, but for a trans person rather than a woman. The only things a trans person should do are the things everyone else should do: be themselves, be kind, and follow the Golden Rule.
Thirdly, Cait, please don’t use the phrase “looks and plays the role” in regards to a trans person. It makes it sound like it’s a show– like a trans person is living his or her life for an audience, and may be living inauthentically. Caitlyn Jenner lives her life in front of an audience– that is her choice. But others don’t, and they shouldn’t feel that they deserve extra scrutiny for being trans.