Following statements made in an interview with Time Magazine, where she urged transgender women not to look like a ‘man in a dress’ as it makes people uncomfortable, Caitlyn Jenner has written an article for The Huffington Post in which she apologises for any offense she may have caused.
‘I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I’m truly sorry.’
‘What I was trying to say is that the world really is still a binary one, and that people who look ‘visibly transgender’ sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others. And while this may be true, it’s also something that needs to change.’
‘Some people look gender non-conforming because they want to look that way – they don’t want to conform to society’s expectations. Those people have every right to look and present how they choose. And then there are people who don’t have the resources to access the medical procedures that would help them look the way they would like to look. Procedures, incidentally, that most health insurance plans refuse to cover. All of these people are my brothers and sisters, and I am fighting alongside them too.’
‘My comments probably made it seem like all I care about is fashion, or makeup or appearance. I can tell you I really enjoy all of that – it’s who I am. It’s the world I come from, and as a person in the media I have certain expectations for myself. But I am only one person. There are lots of way of being trans. And I want to help create a world in which people are able to express their gender in any way that is true and authentic to them. And most importantly – a world in which how a trans person is treated isn’t dependant on how they look.’
‘I am guessing that this is probably not the last time I will say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way. I promise to keep learning, and to try to be more articulate in the future. We have a lot of hard work to do. I am looking forward to doing it together.’
Caitlyn has acknowledged what she said was wrong, and has given a public statement of apology. She has tried to explain what she says she meant in that one statement.
One thing that confuses me though, is if when she said ‘If you are out there and, to be honest with you, you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable’ was supposed to mean that whole long statement about the world being binary, and wanting to get rid of a world like that, I fail to see how those two are the same.
Yes, she has apologised, but I personally feel that the follow up statement is perhaps more an attempt to explain away saying something stupid, rather than clearing up some kind of misunderstanding about what she ‘was trying to say’.
Whether you believe what she is saying or not, whether you like her or respect her or not, please, please don’t engage in transphobic messages when talking about her. One of the things I’ve seen in abundance over the last day is a lot of people, including trans people, saying that she looks like a man, that she sounds like a man.
It might feel good to strike back at her like that, to respond to her comments with an attack, and you have every right to express yourself that way, but please do it without making those kind of comments. By turning around and countering her ‘man in a dress’ statement by saying that’s what she is, is only doing you a disservice. Engage in criticising her by all means, but do it as the bigger person. Do it without using transphobic language.