I detest Caitlyn Jenner. The list of reasons starts with her association with the Kardashians whom I find deplorable. I detest that she believes the hardest part of being a woman is deciding what to wear. I detested the pretentious speech she gave when she accepted the Arthur Ashe Award. I detest how she only passingly mentioned how black trans women are being murdered at alarming rates during her special with Diane Sawyer. I detest Caitlyn Jenner.
I detest the media’s infatuation and pedestaling of Caitlyn Jenner. I detest that Caitlyn Jenner’s transition has been chronicled with the dignity and tenderness that poor trans women are never granted. I hate the way she’s been made the face of transgender women when her experience coming into her womanhood has been anything but typical. I hate that she’s been all over magazines exalted for her fashion sense as if most transgender women have the luxury of $5,000 dresses and a full beauty team. I detest the media’s infatuation and pedestaling of Caitlyn Jenner.
I detest Caitlyn Jenner. I detest how she’s used her platform irresponsibly. I detest that any press she does is self-indulged. I detest that she’s a proud Republican. I detest that she refuses to acknowledge the intersections of race and class that have afforded her a level of protection that poor black and brown trans people are never given. I detest how aggressive and arrogant she’s been with urging trans people to step out and live their truths when she took more than six decades to reveal her truth to the world, having the wealth to make whatever cosmetic changes and alterations she felt would make her more comfortable, as well as the celebrity status which brought her more acceptance than most transgender people will ever attain. I detest Caitlyn Jenner.
So I will call her an elitist, but I will not call her Bruce. I will call her narcissistic, but I will not call her a tranny. I will call her selfish, but I won’t call her a man. I will call her self-absorbed, but I won’t call her “shim.” I will call her callous, but I won’t call her “him.” I will call her phony, but I won’t make reference to her genitals. I will call her an oppressor, but I won’t call her a freak. I will call her delusional, but I won’t call her a dude. I criticize how she uses her voice, but I won’t criticize the tone and texture of her voice. I will call her a poor role model, but I won’t call her sick.
Caitlyn Jenner is everything I detest, but my disdain for her has nothing to do with her trans status. Fact is, Caitlyn Jenner will never read much of the criticisms and bigotry printed about her. She won’t hear the slurs and jokes about her, but the trans people without celebrity and support will. Black trans women like Islan Nettles, Zella Ziona and Kiesha Jenkins did hear those violent words and crushing punchlines. They will be the ones tortured and traumatized by the vicious attacks and reactions to Caitlyn’s transition.
Caitlyn Jenner’s position as a rich white trans woman has carved out a whole new brand for her, one that’s secured her TV shows, awards and endless opportunities to expand her celebrity and bank account. So she’s good, despite how hurtful the comments she may hear or read are, but poor black and brown trans women are, unlike Caitlyn, punished and penalized for their transitions. Trans women who are not independently wealthy are not being contacted to pose on magazine covers and pitch reality shows. These women have to work. And they’re being discriminated against with such malice that 1 in 8 trans women are unemployed and 1 in 4 black trans women are unemployed. Trans women without the security of Olympic medals and money are being forced into sex work to survive.
Caitlyn Jenner had more than a half century to develop the courage to step out and be herself. She’s had the time to overcome some of the insecurities and fear associated with transitioning. She’s fully grown and lives a comfortable life. So while she’s gushed about the support of her family and mother, she’s good on housing and food, but the teenage trans girls who get caught in dresses and makeup, and are kicked out of the house by their parents who cannot understand their children’s identity are not. These girls are forced to make a choice between being true to themselves and having a place to stay. These girls are homeless and afraid. They are the ones hearing and reading your hateful comments, not Caitlyn.
Despite all the abusive slurs hurled her way, Caitlyn Jenner has attention and status that act as somewhat of a shield from the violence poor, unknown trans women experience. She will most likely never have to walk down the street and have a brick thrown at her because some transphobic savage can’t respect her right to live in her truth. She will most likely never have to look straight ahead avoiding eye contact and ignoring the people yelling slurs and threats at her. She can afford security if necessary. She won’t have to protect herself like CeCe McDonald, only to be charged and imprisoned for being trans and having the nerve to stand up for herself.
Caitlyn Jenner won’t hear your disgust over whatever augmentations she’s made to herself. She has the money to buy the best medical care and cosmetic surgery, so she’s good. But the poor trans women who cannot afford to make the augmentations they may want or need are hearing your disgust. They’re the ones who cannot afford a Beverly Hills doctor to help them look the part. They’re the ones going being humiliated and demeaned by a physician who asks the most invasive and disrespectful questions. They’re the ones being forced to buy hormones from street dealers because they don’t have insurance or the insurance they do have won’t cover them. These poor trans women are the ones injured by your words. They’re the ones who feel forced to take whatever measure they can, no matter the health risks, to become cis passing and avoid the constant mental terror and harassment.
Your words and callousness aren’t hurting Caitlyn Jenner. She’s largely been accepted. Your words are hurting your classmates who have to keep reminding people of their proper pronouns. Your words are hurting your loved ones who want to tell you they’re ready to transition. Your words are oppressing trans women who aren’t cis passing, who don’t have the financial means and fan base of Caitlyn Jenner. Your words are triggering and bruising black trans women who are already legitimately afraid they’ll be killed for walking out of the house in makeup and a stilettos. Caitlyn Jenner is not the one you’re hurting.
So please, call Caitlyn out on all her bullshit. I welcome it. I encourage. I do it. Lambaste her for her politics in direct opposition to what’s best for the trans people she has a responsibility to help protect. Mock her ridiculous one liners about the superficial shit she thinks being a woman means. Drag her for her neglect of the trans community. CALL.HER.ASS.OUT. But please, call her Caitlyn.