Caitlyn Jenner’s notion that she can be trans ambassador to the President – to Ted Cruz of all people – sickens me. Here is a report of her interview with The Advocate:
She called Cruz a ‘great constitutionalist’ and said she would like to advise him on questions relating to her community.
“Yes, trans ambassador to the president of the United States, so we can say, ‘Ted, love what you’re doing but here’s what’s going on,'”.
I have supported Caitlyn’s right to tell her story – even though her views are different from mine. But the notion that she can speak for the rest of us is insensitive and ill-informed.
Jenner says that she considers her greatest asset her mental rather than her physical ability. Well I’m sorry. Olympian she may be, but she has proven repeatedly in recent comments that intellectual decathlete she is not. The things that come out of her mouth stun me:
On the Ellen Show: “When the whole gay marriage issue came up, at first I was not for it. … I’m a traditionalist. I kinda like tradition. It’s always been a man and a woman.”
On I am Cait, she argued that transgender people do not need social welfare services: “they can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job”.
To Time Magazine: “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.”
For the record (according to Injustice at Every Turn):
- 15% of transgender people live in extreme poverty (less than $10,000 a year) – 4 times the rate in the population.
- 57% experience family rejection.
- 78% report being harassed in grades K-12.
- 90% report experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination at work.
- 26% report that they lost a job owing to their gender variance.
- 19% reported having been refused a home or apartment.
- 19% were refused medical care for failing to conform to gender norms.
- They are twice as likely as the rest of the population to be homeless.
These rates are typically 2 to 4 times higher for transgender people of color.
These are not lifestyle choices. To even imply that they are is ignorant. Here are some lifestyle choices transgender people have made:
- 89% are registered to vote – compared to 71% for the general population
- 20% say that they are or have served in the military – twice the rate for the general population
- 47% have college and/or graduate degrees, compared with 27% for the general population.
These are admirable citizens – especially when you consider their educational accomplishment in light of the harassment they have faced. Especially when you consider that the military has treated them like dogs. We need more brave, educated patriots like these. Olympic gold is nothing compared to what these people have braved their entire life. I wish that Caitlyn would spend more time on these amazing people and less on her wardrobe.
Speaking of wardrobes, most transgender women I know do not embrace Jenner’s notion that we should have to wear sexy dresses in order to be accepted for who we are. I support Caitlyn’s right to dress any way she likes. But it shouldn’t be a requirement. An ambassador should be educating society, not flaunting her wealth and wardrobe.
Caitlyn is welcome to her views. But serve as our ambassador? No way! Caitlyn no more represents me than do Sarah Palin or Anita Bryant. At least she proves that we aren’t all of a type. We are as diverse as the rest of womanhood.
- Make your support of marriage equality clear to all.
- Wear what you damn well please.
- Stand up for your identity – and know that others support and celebrate you.
- Don’t confuse “I am Cait” with transgender education. In spite of all the talent, it offers a dangerously narrow lens.
Note: an earlier version reported the wrong statistic for transgender poverty rates. Readers have pointed me to a few additional statistics that tell a more complete story.