Caitlyn Jenner Is Problematic, But So Are All of Us

Caitlyn Jenner Is Problematic, But So Are All of Us

Originally published on out.com

On my Facebook timeline, where I was busy deleting the same reposted cat video from BuzzFeed again, I saw the latest Caitlyn Jenner catastrophe. Well, let’s be fair, it wasn’t a tsunami wiping out Indonesia or famine in Africa, but people certainly were treating it similarly. Caitlyn, in one part of her interview with Time, said:

“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,”

That sounds pretty problematic. Though, if most people had bothered to read the interview in its entirety, because context is sexy, she talks about how, yes, she is a privileged rich white woman. She says that while she has learned a lot, she still has a lot to learn, and she wants to present more than her own story. Still, to say that looking like a man in a dress makes people uncomfortable is problematic. But then, everything is problematic. Caitlyn Jenner is, but so are you, so am I, so is everyone. I could hop on the Hate Cait Train, but let’s talk about the trans community for a moment.

So many people complain, “She doesn’t speak for me!” “She doesn’t represent me!” Well, no, duh. No one elected her, unless there was a vote I missed. Was it on one of those midterm elections most people never participate in? The reason why she is the “face of the trans community” is because the media made her. Even if she didn’t star in a TV show and receive awards, she’s been a celebrity since before most of her critics were born, and with her step-kids being huge celebrities, she was going to get dragged kicking and screaming into the public eye if she wanted to or not. No one as famous as Caitlyn Jenner has transitioned publicly since Christine Jorgensen over 60 years ago. Now, you could argue that she should “just step away,” as I’ve heard it put, but again, she’s connected to arguably the most famous family in America. Barring life in a cave or a Cold War fallout shelter, the media isn’t letting her step away. And the obsession with following her every word — many are afflicted — isn’t helping that argument.

When I question people about who would better represent them, they of course list names of other trans celebrities of lesser fame. Or better yet, people who look, dress, and act like them. It’s almost like a lot of these people complaining about needing a better representative have someone already in mind. Themselves.

A lot of the celebrities or people they describe don’t look, act, or dress like me, so what about me? Who’s going to represent us overweight, late 30s, tomboyish girls from the Deep South who have a penchant for swearing and scrambled egg sandwiches? Well, unless that person exists, I don’t have a spokesperson for my experience, unless it’s me. Sure, I’m a vet just like Kristin Beck, but I was never close to being a Navy Seal, and most of the community aren’t veterans. I’m not a teenager, so Jazz Jennings doesn’t represent me.

It almost seems like, and call me crazy on this one, there is no such thing as a perfect representative. Ah, but you might say, “Well, there are better representatives out there!” Maybe so, but the reasons we give seem to show that we’re putting qualifiers on who is or is not a worthy enough trans person to speak for us.

Here’s another thing I’ve noticed — a lot of these other famous trans celebrities being named as “better representatives” are, quite frankly cis-acting, hetero, and/or gender-normative. If they weren’t out, they could live what they call “stealth” lives. People want to criticize Caitlyn for being obsessed with clothes and carrying outdated attitudes about women, but give a lot of these other celebrities a nice wide path to be just as “regressive.” I’ve seen Laverne Cox tweet about the fancy designer labels she wears on the red carpet. Isn’t that just as problematic as complaining about Caitlyn talking about having men carry her shopping bags? Just because Laverne talks about trans advocacy and issues facing trans women of color doesn’t exactly give the stereotype of being a glamour and fashion-obsessed woman celebrity a pass. Talking about wearing Christian Louboutin is not exactly a shared experience for the vast majority of trans women. Janet Mock is an editor for Marie Claire, a fashion and beauty magazine, so same song and dance there. So ripping on Caitlyn Jenner for being obsessed with fashion, passing, and heteronormativity, while praising Laverne or Janet, is frankly a huge ball of hypocrisy.

Candis Cayne and Calpernia Addams both started off as drag queens, and I know a lot of trans women hate being compared or identified with drag. We won’t even get into talking about people being excited about Carmen Carrera and wanting her to be an underwear model for Victoria’s Secret. I thought sexual objectification of trans women was a bad thing, yet we’re excited about the possibility of her becoming a model for sexy lingerie?

Spare me the argument of “these people have been living as a trans women longer or have done more for the community or are saying or thinking the right things.” Caitlyn has been out as a trans woman for all of about a year now, and I defy you to name one single trans person who came out fully educated in the field of gender studies. Find me a person who, as they put on their first dab of makeup, understood the issues of cis and hetero privilege. What about judging other people for their ability to pass? Even brave Janet Mock talks about “passing” as a survival mechanism. Why? Because trans women who do not pass are without a doubt more often ostracized and more easily the subject of violence. Yes, “passing” puts people at ease, because of the ingrained discomfort about questioning gender roles.

Of course we are overlooking that because so many of us decided long ago that we simply weren’t going to like Jenner no matter what she did, what she said, or what she thought. Some of the animus seems to derive from envy. Not long ago, I saw a petition about Jenner being passed around that had some interesting word choices. Right off the bat, it stated that she “need(ed) to actively donate some of your vast wealth to the community” and recommended specific charities (to include the charity that the author founded and leads), but “wanted” her to read some specific books. As if Jenner having money makes her less of a worthy trans person or the wrong kind of activist. Then I remember that one of the most important feminist activists in recent history, Gloria Steinem, charges $30,000 to speak to a college. I don’t see people passing petitions around about Steinem or Ta-Nehisi Coates saying they need to donate their money to feminist or black causes respectively. Having a leader donate money as a condition of your support makes you no better than a mercenary and sycophant.

Let me leave this op-ed off with one final comment derived from a book that, for as problematic as it can be, still has some wonderful gems: “How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?”

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60 Comments

  1. sinnex
    December 21, 07:53 Reply

    Overly long piece of trash.

    • Mandy
      December 21, 08:08 Reply

      Sometimes, I really do agree with Chizzie on the standard of your intelligence. To finish reading this and that baseless piece of oipnion was what you saw to express just goes to show how prejudice can keep some people ignorant.
      Overly long piece of trash, eh? Can you come up with a more scintillating point of view to refute the trash?
      What am I saying. Of course you can’t.

      • sinnex
        December 21, 09:50 Reply

        I am supposed to care because…?

        Dude, I am entitled to my opinion. If you don’t like it you can go and kill yourself or better still commit suicide.

        Nonsense!

        • Mandy
          December 21, 09:53 Reply

          Of course you are entitled to your opinions, even though you have proven time without number that most of that opinion comes straight from your ass to your mouth. The very definition of shit.

          • sinnex
            December 21, 10:16 Reply

            You know my opinion comes straight from my ass to my mouth, yet you took your time to comment on it.

            If you see a man fighting with a mad man on the street, won’t you think both of them are mad?

            Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner is a farce. His/Her opinions do not count as far as I am concerned. Writing about him/her is worthless as it doesn’t make any difference. You guys should stop creating the false impression that he is doing the LGBT a favour.

            Now, young man, I don’t know you and I don’t care about you. Your opinion about me doesn’t count. Fuck, nobody’s opinion here counts, except maybe some peeps.

            You cannot foist your opinion on others.

            Dude, please swerve.

            • Mandy
              December 21, 10:31 Reply

              Typical. To miss the point of something before jumping all over it like a rabid dog. I wasn’t trying to foist anything on you. I was merely pointing out how limited your intelligence is that after reading this piece, all the depoth you could express was the cryptic nonsense you typed.

  2. Mr. Fingers
    December 21, 08:10 Reply

    Seriously if the kardashian/jenner clan is the most famous family in America I fear for that country.

    • Mandy
      December 21, 08:26 Reply

      Fame can result from any number of reasons na.
      But seriously though, why exactly are the Kardashians so maligned? It’s not like they’re the worst clan of people to ever be in the business of making money.

      • #Chestnut
        December 21, 08:41 Reply

        @Mandy: don’t u know that d Kardashian/Jenner hate is congenital? It’s like ppl were born with a dormant “K/J-hate” gene that was waiting to be activated when they first came on tv. Funny enough,they seem to have more fans than haters (as evidenced by their social-media following) just that d haters are just as vocal as the #BeyHive.

        • Mr. Fingers
          December 21, 08:51 Reply

          @mandy it all boils down to how they got to where they are today. They would do anything for fame and money, and that’s exactly why most people in the trans community don’t believe cait speaks for them.

          If there was no money and opportunities out there would Bruce even think of transitioning?

          For the average trans out there its not about the fame or fortune.

          • Mandy
            December 21, 09:31 Reply

            Are you actually impying Caitlyn transitioned because of fame and fortune? Really, Fingers? Because she didn’t already have it as Bruce.

            • Mr. Fingers
              December 21, 09:48 Reply

              Mandy am not implying, that exactly what am saying.

              More money, more fame.

  3. Delle
    December 21, 08:43 Reply

    Lmao…Caitlyn is so problematic, that’s all I got from the post and I love it!

    • Colossus
      December 21, 08:48 Reply

      We choose to see that which makes us more comfortable.

      • Delle
        December 21, 12:25 Reply

        Really baby, I’m amazed at your wisdom

  4. Teflondon
    December 21, 09:25 Reply

    Post like this should come with a disclaimer.
    “You run the possibility of wasting a few minutes of your life reading this”

    There should be some sort of warning when post like this are put up. I mean, who write stuffs like this? are white people really that jobless? For a grown up to wake up, with all the responsibility and problems in the world and think the next thing is to argue for CaitlynJenner (who is a fraud by the way) about such mudane issues. I’m worried for world really.

    • Colossus
      December 21, 09:35 Reply

      So which would you prefer? A argument against her? If PP finds that and posts it, should he put the disclaimer also? Should the disclaimer be put up on all posts or only those you don’t approve of? Does this mean your consent should be sought on all posts before they are posted? Does everybody here think alike or share the same views as yours? Please help me with these answers so PP can read and take heed. Yeye man always posting what doesn’t suit you, don’t mind him you hear? Here, have a lollipop.

      • Teflondon
        December 21, 10:46 Reply

        Colossus I remember when I first started commenting on KD, I use to fall for your sacarsm everytime. Like you get me Everytime then but I know better now.
        I know better than to acknowledge the sayings of one of the pioneer members of the ass kissing-cum-Kumbaya Clan. I know better colossus.

        • Colossus
          December 21, 16:20 Reply

          Pioneer members? Oh stop, you flatter me so. I wish there was actually ass to kiss, it’s been a long while.

    • sinnex
      December 21, 10:07 Reply

      I think some people have the false idea that posting news about Caitlyn(Bruce) Jenner and Beyoncé would automatically mean that everyone would just accept/like them and we’d all become one big family while singing Hallelujah.

      OAN I saw something on Beyoncé and I was like WTF!!!

      • Pink Panther
        December 21, 11:02 Reply

        My dear Sinnex, I can only publish on this blog what interests me. To imply that you feature in my plans when I fashion my updates would be to flatter yourself. I have no desire to make you like any celebrity. The mere fact that you’re suggesting it is even laughable. What am I, a jedi mind controller? Oga, abeg hate on whoever you want to hate on. Spit your vitriol all you want on Beyonce and Caitlyn Jenner. Come tomorrow, if they make news, this blog will feature it, whether you want to sing kumbaya or not.
        This kumbaya singing you and your cohort have taken to talking about around here sef. Someone must give me the memo to the venue where y’all are singing it.

  5. Chizzie
    December 21, 11:01 Reply

    Im really tired of reading about this hybrid of a woman. I don’t like her. I don’t care for her. She looks botched … I don’t see why you keep posting about her, she isn’t a good representation of trans ppl, and she’s probably the very reason why I’m not pro-trans. She really makes me sick to be honest

    • Pink Panther
      December 21, 11:03 Reply

      Luckily, what makes you sick is really none of my business. 🙂

      • Chizzie
        December 21, 11:32 Reply

        Really? Is this a recent development? Because you seem to make it your business when a certain shoehorn dweller whose borderline slum city houses the world’s most derelict airport, and a particular pro Jesus senescent harlot are involved.

        • Pink Panther
          December 21, 12:11 Reply

          Yes, your being sick has a way of becoming my business when you puke a little too close to home. Who won’t pay attention to someone else vomiting all over his premises, hmm? 🙂

    • ronniephoenix
      December 21, 16:02 Reply

      At last, chizzie almost spoke my mind. Yes, I agree with chizzie on this one, she is the worst thing that has happened to the trans community.

      Pink, I understand you are pro trans, but caitlyn is and will-for a long time- be the worst representation of the trans community. The fact that she is very popular makes it worse

      • Pink Panther
        December 21, 16:50 Reply

        Until you start doing something for the trans community which shows good representation, I really think you should calm down with this your unrestrained venom.

        • ronniephoenix
          December 21, 17:58 Reply

          ……And pink fires the first shot, now I will take mine.

          I think you should up also, shut the fuck up about me helping trans people, like DAFUCK!!!!!!!, you stay here advocating queer rights, gay rights, but quite frankly there is no fucking thing you’ve done for gay people.

          I am freaking going out of my mind, going crazy, contemplating and attempting suicide. But what do you do, you and all other gay people (who are quite stupid bastards by the way) go all out one, calling me names, insulting and pushing me inches closer to my death.

          You are as useless to the gay community as I am to the trans community, but you infact are worse. I told I am sorry for my attack on you the other time, but right now I don’t give a fuck about that.

          I hate people like you, two timing snakes, hiding behind the mask of goodness to perpetrate hate and bully weak people.

          I hate cait for her misrepresentation, I love larverne and co for their representation. Simple, fucking simple.

          I am not in anyway sorry for all I just said, I hate the bunch of stupid gay people in this damn godforsaken country.

          Let me live my life or whatever remains of it, I can’t fucking enjoy christmass, I hate the stupid clothes I bought, I hate the shoes, I hate everything.

          I fucking hate everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          I will totally start my yoga meditation now, otherwise, I just might get suicidal thoughts this night.

          Bye bitches

          • Francis
            December 21, 18:03 Reply

            You really need to fire your shrink and get a new one. The current one is doing NADA ??

            • ronniephoenix
              December 21, 18:07 Reply

              Oh francis, I respect you and people like keredim and the rest, so please just leave me alone.

              I am fucking manic and ready to lash at anyone.

              • Pink Panther
                December 21, 18:31 Reply

                You’re sad.
                You really are.
                A sad, little, lonely, confused child. who knows not how to do anything perfectly but throw tantrums.
                Sad really.
                Hopefully, as you pass out of these troubling teenage years, you’ll outgrow all this confusion that seem to be wrecking you.

              • ronniephoenix
                December 21, 19:02 Reply

                Awwwww, it’s the grown ass cry babies going at it again, oh shut the fuck up stupid.
                I am sad, depressed and suicidal, yes. But hello bitches, I don’t fucking need your sympathy.

                And yes tef, you are a stupid idiot, a stupid grown ass bitch.

                I have an opinion and I will say it whenever. I am suicidal but I won’t give in, I will shove it in the faces of idiots like you, you bastard.

                Pink, keep ur useless sympathy, you also are two timing, maybe not as much as bastards like tef, but you are.

                I hate it, I hate this blog, I hate all them stupid gays in this pathetic country.

                I fucking hate all of you, you all are bastards (okay, maybe not you all).

                And now the stupid cry babies will cry more, cry bitches, cry.

                I hate cait, I hate you.

              • ronniephoenix
                December 21, 19:12 Reply

                Okay guys, I will be the bigger person and totally apologise for everything I said, I made a vow to lord brahma, to keep myself in place, but I keep on falling out.

                I am sorry guys for everything, but please if I see any more hateful comments, I won’t be able to stop myself.

                Goodbye.

          • Teflondon
            December 21, 18:36 Reply

            Well here we go again.. The pity party about to go on full throttle.
            A quick question Ronnie, why haven’t you just proceeded with the suicide already? I mean, it’s taking like ages already.
            You know I use to be on your side and shii, when chizzie and posh were on your case but I have seen you for what you are today. To be honest I dont know who is more pathetic at your theatrics of getting notice or being talked abt. You or Delle. its a real struggle between you two.

            • Delle
              December 21, 20:15 Reply

              Tef, I’ve been avoiding having a fracas with you, but please put one of your smelly socks against that hole on your face. If you have a problem with someone, deal with it squarely and do not make a mention of my name again! I take God beg you.

    • Whisperer
      December 21, 21:11 Reply

      Seriously? Hybrid? Dude now you just sound like a hypocrite! Why do you think you should be gay and she shouldn’t be a woman? I’m pretty sure you stand against homophobia, what makes your situation different from hers? If you want your hate then hate on yourself too…..after all the world isn’t totally accepting of gay people so hey you might not be a hybrid but you’re a flaw in the system

  6. Khaleesi
    December 21, 11:33 Reply

    ***draws blinds shut with a decisive flick of wrists and goes back to brushing hair****

  7. Francis
    December 21, 11:39 Reply

    *sighs* Exhausted. Early week depression coming on. Tufiakwa unu

  8. Stranger
    December 21, 11:58 Reply

    That last paragraph; referring to the bible as problematic too? My respect for the writer just sunk.

    • Maximus
      December 21, 12:41 Reply

      Can’t say I’m surprised…

    • Francis
      December 21, 18:05 Reply

      It’s a tough pill to swallow but it’s the fact. Religious texts are part of the world’s major problems

      • ronniephoenix
        December 21, 18:37 Reply

        You’re right, but my hindu isn’t a part of that.

        *winks*

  9. Maximus
    December 21, 12:42 Reply

    I’ve come to realize something, gay people are their own biggest problem. Tufia unu..

    • Mr. Fingers
      December 21, 12:49 Reply

      Babes, caitlyn has repeatedly said he is not gay.

      For me it’s not about his sexuality. But the principle of putting everything out there all becos of money.

      • Maximus
        December 21, 14:04 Reply

        Except, I wasn’t talking about Caitlyn.

  10. ronniephoenix
    December 21, 15:53 Reply

    I will totally call this thrash, I don’t hate (actually I don’t hate her) cait cause she is obsessed with clothes, far from it. I hate her cause she is either just stupid or this is a fucking publicity stunt for her.

    She fucking did and said a lot of stupid and prejudiced things, that’s why I fucking hate her. Laverne, mock, julie, gigi, etc. They all talk about clothes, but they don’t make stupid comments.

    • Maximus
      December 21, 17:42 Reply

      A hater will always be a hater.. Doesn’t matter if you give 2655727 reasons for it.

    • ronniephoenix
      December 21, 18:03 Reply

      I am not a hater, I love everyone, I give everyone second chances, but cait is not getting any, unless, she proves she isn’t some stupid transphobic and homophobic cis gender man, trying to make money off trans people.

      I give love, lots of it. I love trump, carson, hillary, beyonce etc, even though they are all just stupid. I am a lover.

      *winks*

  11. Tarter
    December 22, 18:06 Reply

    ronnie when are u commiting suicide? I’ve missed some good ol’ jollof rice…biko do and die ehn…

    • ronniephoenix
      December 22, 19:43 Reply

      Oh did someone miss the party? Oh yes for a moment I forgot. It’s the stupid senseless bastard who has been living under a rock.

      Bye senseless bitch, bye bastard. Continue living in poverty dear, actually I sypathize with you, you haven’t eaten jollof in a long time. Sorry dear.

  12. REV: HOT
    December 22, 19:24 Reply

    not tryna be a hater or anything, but sometimes I think cait became ‘a woman’ because of the physical features… and not because he felt that way internally…

      • Pink Panther
        December 22, 23:43 Reply

        What you think is the truth, Ronnie. Not fact. Stop projecting the things that go on in your mind as fact. It’s not truth. It’s what you think.
        And I think you’re hypocritical. Here you are, lashing out at anyone who so much as breathes negativity in your direction, and yet, you think nothing about constantly maligning Jenner. And it just doesn’t make sense, how spiteful you are.

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