Caitlyn Jenner on her politics: ‘They said I’m ‘too controversial’ and that hurt’

Caitlyn Jenner at the after-party for El...

This month marks the five year anniversary of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. I covered most of those stories five years ago, and I have mostly positive memories of that moment in time – I personally learned a lot about how to write about trans people and trans issues through covering Caitlyn, and I enjoyed her reality show, I Am Cait, because it introduced me to many amazing trans women doing incredible advocacy work. Long-term, my big problem with Caitlyn was that she could never see past her own narrow political interests, and she thought “Bruce’s privilege” would carry over to Caitlyn. In the past five years, she’s said inane things about politics, but overall, I don’t know, I still consider her a trailblazer and one of the most significant people in the world for getting transgender issues on the front pages of magazines and newspapers. To celebrate her transition anniversary, Caitlyn spoke to People Magazine about the past five years:

The first time she felt truly seen as a woman: It was when she got her new driver’s license photo in July of 2015. “It was so emotional. There I was. Caitlyn Marie Jenner. But then, I wondered, did Bruce deserve to be thrown away like this? He did a lot of good things. He raised 10 kids. But I wasn’t turning around. Bruce did just about everything he can do. He raised 10 kids. Now what does Caitlyn do?”

Why she decided to talk about her transition publicly: “I thought, what a great opportunity to change the world’s thinking; 51 percent of trans people attempt suicide. The murder rate — we’ve been losing one trans woman of color every two weeks.”

Being rejected from progressive, inclusive communities because she’s a Republican: As a lifelong Republican, she held political views that didn’t match those of most in the LGBTQ community. She was uninvited to fundraisers she’d donated to. “They said I’m ‘too controversial.’ And that hurt. I think I had been wearing rose-colored glasses. I thought I could change the world. Now I know I can only try and change one person at a time.”

Making progress: “I’ve changed my thinking in a lot of ways,” she says. (She now identifies as “economically conservative, socially progressive” and believes “we need equality for all, regardless of who’s in the White House.”)

She really wants to help: “I love my community. I truly want to help,” she says. To that end, she has been quietly giving trans students college scholarships over the past three years and has realigned her foundation to focus on trans youth. “This is my journey. Yes, it is different than other trans people. I get it. But the bottom line is this: When I wake up in the morning, I’m happy with myself.”

[From People]

As I watched I Am Cait, I was often struck by two things. One, her heart often was in the right place, especially when it came to trans kids, and she genuinely wanted to help. Two, she didn’t want to actually listen to anybody. She never wanted to open her mind and grow and change mentally and emotionally and really hear people’s stories. She thought she could buy her way into legitimacy within the trans community without having to do the bigger work of understanding the trans community. I’m sure her money and donations have helped, and maybe that’s the best we can hope for at this point. Last thing: “Bruce did just about everything he can do. He raised 10 kids.” He really didn’t? Most of Caitlyn’s kids don’t speak to her, and most of them were raised by their mothers.

Sophia Hutchins and Caitlyn Jenner arrive at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Ann...

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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26 Responses to “Caitlyn Jenner on her politics: ‘They said I’m ‘too controversial’ and that hurt’”

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  1. Eleonor says:

    She is a rich white Lady who doesn’t want to understand her priveledges.

  2. Tpoe says:

    Economically conservative just means “I’m rich so I don’t think rich people should pay taxes”

    • Ellie says:

      In her case I don’t disagree, but I also worked with a journalist who said this and we’re all poor. When he said it, I always thought he was really trying to say “I’m a Republican but I don’t want people coming at me for being against LGBT people, POC or women.”

      • detritus says:

        Ellie, I’ve seen this one frequently.
        I volunteer at a soup kitchen style outreach, which is in a church.

        There are quite a few people who identify as social progressive economically conservative. It means they want the systems to stay the same way, but they do have some empathy for vulnerable populations. It’s honestly a pretty cognitively dissonant stance, and I can’t imagine anyone truly introspective holding it for long.

      • Kebbie says:

        When people say that it just makes me think of Dennis Duffy on 30 Rock describing his political views as “social conservative, fiscal liberal” and then I laugh lol

  3. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    I didn’t know she had 10 kids. :o I thought she was referring to the Kardashian girls and her own.

    I have a question about statistics for anyone who’s more familiar with trans issues. It’s often said suicide attempts are at 49%, but she says 51%. Is she using the same statistic but the opposite result for some reason, or have the numbers gone up?

    • Léna says:

      I think she is counting the Kardashians sisters as her own children. From what I know (and I’m a bit lazy to Google it sorry) she had 4 kids from two marriages, 2 girls with Kris Jenner + 4 kardashians

  4. bub244 says:

    She ALWAYS says this thing about raising 10 kids and it sadly isn’t remotely true.

    • Ellen Olenska says:

      The “ raising ten kids” comment is the tell that she was once male and hasn’t totally lost that mindset. Men consider “raising kids” paying for them. Women count the emotional, physical and financial labor. It’s the same logic where men talk about splitting household chores because they grill out dinner on Saturday night. They don’t bother to think about where the other 20 meals of the week came from. Or how the food got in the house. ( I’m presuming she paid for them, hopefully she at least did that!)

      • SM says:

        Yes. My point exactly. She still holds strong to an identity of white male and this comment about the kids reflect that. Above all what matters is that it also informs her worldview, mainly her Republican stance.

    • Holly hobby says:

      She didn’t raise 10 kids. I know she’s estranged from the kids she had with Linda. Linda and the other wife (did they have kids?) pretty much said she dropped out of their lives when she moved on.

      Baloney. Also, did she get her face done again? It looks really smooth and wrinkle free

  5. Alexandria says:

    She is really raising them or just producing them?

    You’re not controversial, you’re two faced.

    • Lexilla says:

      Yes, I’m sure controversial is like a badge of honor in her mind. She is a trailblazer, and also an ignorant narcissist.

    • Geeena says:

      Dead on, two faced is right.

      I remember that video where she went to the nonprofit for poc lgbt youth and when the kids started educating her on the ways her conservative beliefs harm them, both as poc in poverty and lgbt poc youth, (and the power she holds as a rich white former man by supporting these beliefs) she flipflopped and tried to say they couldn’t be mad because she just supports the bigots for some policy, not the bad stuff, basically what she’s doing her, AGAIN. Might as well be Karen Jenner ffs. She runs away from responsibility for herself like it’s one of the many children that she’s abandoned.

      but i really really hope there’s a trickle up affect somehow and her visibility and republican bullshit somehow help us progress to the better world we all deserve.

  6. Lanie says:

    Nah. Caitlin didn’t raise her kids with the first two wives. She was a deadbeat.

    Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re socially liberal while still voting for conservatives who are not. I always found that “fiscally conservative/socially liberal” line to be a massive cop out. Just admit you’re conservative and quit being two faced.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      Dunno, I always vote left, eventhough I’d describe myself as “fiscally conservative/socially liberal” as well.
      I think it depends on which part of these two is more important to you in the long run.

      I have no idea where Caitlin stands these days, but if she has to choose between mucho money and health/safety of other trans people, it would be nasty if she chose the former. She’s in much less danger of loosing her money under left government than trans people are of loosing their rights under a right government. And it’s not like trans people are a distant, “irrelevant” topic for her.

    • GreenTurtle says:

      I think “fiscally conservative” has had an identity crisis now that the Republicans have show that they’re not fiscally responsible whatsoever. They fight to either maintain or cut personal income tax, but they don’t reduce spending, and so the national debt goes up. That’s nuts. Fiscally conservative used to mean reduce govt spending/reduce the deficit/don’t socialize healthcare. Now it’s cut taxes, give more loopholes to billionaires, and overfund the Defense Department.

  7. Arb says:

    On a pain scale, did it hurt more or less than knowing that her careless driving killed someone? Did it hurt more or less than abandoning the children of her first marriage for their entire childhoods?

  8. Queen Meghan's Hand says:

    I watched a few episodes of I Am Cait and wished that it focused solely on Candis Cayne and Jen Richards and their friends and activist partners. All the transwomen who Cait was introduced to as part of her education sparkled and were so interesting. Cait was the least interesting part of the show and also completely clueless and obstinate. It gave more color as to how she must have been as a partner.

    All this to write: Cait Jenner is a low-key Karen.

  9. lucy2 says:

    Is she still voting for Republicans? Because currently the GOP is trying to take away the rights of LGBTQ people – they want them to be allowed to be fired for their sexuality, they want them to lose access to health insurance, they want stupid bathroom laws which make transmen and transwomen unsafe.
    I do hope Caitlyn has come to realize all that, but until she’s VOTING for and supporting candidates that don’t want to hurt the LGBTQ community, she’s not going to be too welcome.
    The donations and the scholarships are awesome, but those mean little if you help the bigots stay in power to protect your own wallet.

  10. Dear dear says:

    She didn’t raise them or was a good parent to them, she just helped support them with money. There is a reason she doesn’t have a good relationship with most of her family, she is a Karen on steroids because her upbringing gave her extra privilege in life. I find it very telling her closest relationship is with a person who’s a work associate she probably wishes she had been when she was younger plus Sofia said on a podcast Cait seems to have boundaries issues cos she once knowingly opened the door while Sofia was getting hot n heavy with someone else in the house they share, it screams loneliness, unchecked personality disordered traits and mid life crisis. I miss her reality show because of the other people in it, they were so interesting, I felt really enlightened and delighted by watching them and I always felt Cait didn’t seem very comfortable and open to learn more about her privilege, she was text book butt hurt white fragility at times and was very shallow, it was all about the looks and the other women really brought substance, depth to the show.

  11. JennyJazzhands says:

    “Bruce raised 10 kids”
    Me” Did he though?
    As a daughter that was abandoned, I can’t ever get on board with caitlin acting like transitioning erased Bruce’s abandonment of 3 sets of kids. And making them feel like they’re obligated to support the transition when he wasn’t ever there for them off camera.

  12. Ms. says:

    Uh, duh, the Republicans don’t support trans issues. This makes as much sense to me as the people who voted for Trump in 2016 and then said “I didn’t know he would be a racist.” I have a hard time feeling sorry for her alienating HERSELF and then feeling unaccepted.

  13. Becky says:

    I didn’t like Bruce and I don’t like Caitlin.