It appears that Caitlyn Jenner is beginning to lose support in the Trans community over a couple of recent public incidences that ring of male privilege and perpetuating Trans stereotypes.
On the Sunday September 6, 2015 episode of I Am Cait, Jenner struggles with her name change and call upon the help of Drian Juarez from the Transgender Economic Empowerment Project to help fill out the paperwork. Determined to get her name and gender marker changed, Caitlyn, Drian and Ronda [Caitlyn’s assistant] begin the task of filling out the 18 pages of paperwork required by the state of California.
California is a state that does not require GCS as a requirement for name and gender change, only clinically appropriate treatment. “After hearing all the struggles that people go through because they don’t have the proper documentation, I realize that I should be a bit more aggressive in dealing with this issue of my identity. I think it’s time to get the process started.”
It’s a quick two minute segment but an important part of the show, Jenner is correct when she says that people in the transgender community struggle with the documentation changes for gender and name, but what’s not mentioned is that the number one barrier being cost. Averaging $350.00 to complete the full process, this price can be extremely prohibitive for a community that struggles with poverty as a result of high unemployment/underemployment.
The show moves forward in its typical manner when the conversation turns to Jenner filling out an application for a new golf course while her current course is under construction. At this point, Caitlyn declares that she will be signing up as Bruce when her assistant Ronda begins to question her motives and intentions.
Ronda: “I don’t understand why you are putting Bruce down as opposed to Caitlyn, I mean really?”
Jenner: “My membership is under Bruce and my little Sherwood is down for construction on the golf course and it will be down for a long time, and there is another golf course, part of Sherwood, a par 3 golf course actually, but you have to join that one, it’s like separate from the main club.”
Ronda: “Why can’t you go in fresh as Caitlyn?”
Jenner: “It’s just not going to work, I want to delay that.”
Ronda: “Can’t you just wear your hoodies and pretend?”
Jenner: “Yeah but once I get on the course I’ll take that off.”
Ronda: “Are you going to wear a skirt or shorts or are you going to be wearing [interrupted]…”
Jenner: “No no no no no not right now, so let’s just put Bruce down and its fine!”
Ronda: “Alright, I’m just saying it doesn’t make any sense to me because everyone is going to know that you are Caitlyn [interrupted]…”
Jenner: “I just don’t want to worry about locker rooms and all that crap right now, which I don’t want to worry about, I’ll worry about the locker rooms down the line.”
Ronda: “I understand but everyone is going to know that you are Caitlyn.”
Jenner: “I know I know I know.”
Ronda: “And then they’re going to be like we don’t want Caitlyn in our locker room.”
Jenner: “We’ll deal with all those issues down the line.”
It appears as though Caitlyn is trying to hold on to her male privilege to maintain her status with her Country Club, a move that the transgender community is accused of every single day just because of our perceived gender status. Most people within the community can tell you the day they lost their male privilege [June 30, 2015 for me] and once that disappears, going back to retrieve it is a level of privilege that in most cases is labeled as inner transphobia.
Caitlyn seems completely oblivious to the fact that in an earlier segment she was empathetic to the obstacles others face with legal identity changes while insisting on joining an exclusive club as Bruce.
Three days later, Caitlyn seems to be siding against the transgender community concerning the Spirit Halloween Costume debate stating to Matt Lauer, “I’m in on the joke. I don’t think its offensive at all.”
In a two part interview to air Wednesday September 9, 2015, with Today Show host Matt Lauer, Jenner states, “I know the community does and they’ve gotten a lot of criticism for doing it. I think it’s great.” According to the preview clip released this week, it seems that the only issue Caitlyn has with the costume are the quality of its material.
Laughing, she told Matt, “”They could have a better looking outfit for him, you know?” She continued to joke about it saying, “We could have done my own costume, I mean that was a serious bustier on the cover of Vanity Fair, you know?”
We do know, but the bustier on the cover of Vanity Fair isn’t the central focus of the costume debate; Addison Rose Vincent, who started a petition on change.org to get the Spirit Halloween Company to pull the item from their shelves stated to me on Facebook, “I also hope that ceasing production of the Call Me Caitlyn costume can be a first step in a greater change to stop promoting transphobia, racism, and cultural appropriation through their other various costumes. We need to remind Spirit and their wholesale, retail companies that Trans is not a costume, and neither are other marginalized communities and identities.”
Naturally, Spirit Halloween took advantage of the good news and began marketing the costume, now called the “Caitlyn Corset,” as aggressively as possible. Up to 50% of current Spirit Halloween ads are now populated with the “Caitlyn Corset.”
When asked for her response to Caitlyn’s approval of the costume, Addison told PlanetTransgender, ”
“I’m disappointed by Caitlyn’s response, but many of us weren’t surprised. She has been and continues to be very problematic and counterproductive to the community’s progress, and fails to recognize the level of her privilege. This costume portrays her but represents so much more than her. It’s marketed to cis-men as a joke costume under the guise of “celebrating a hero” with the purpose of eliciting transphobic and transmisogynistic humor, rhetoric, and responses. This costume will lead to yet another hostile night for our community, specifically Trans women and femmes of color, yet Caitlyn will remain safe behind her financial privilege among others.”
“To be honest,” Addison continued, “I’ll always support her and my other Trans siblings for being brave enough to be themselves in a world designed against us, but I can no longer look to her as a leader for our community. It’s time for me to move on from Caitlyn Jenner, and instead channel my energy, love, and time to those most stigmatized and marginalized within our community.”
In one-fell-swoop, all of the advocacy behind the costumes appropriation on Trans folk and other minorities will be eliminated and promoted by the one person the media has deemed the “spokesperson for the trans community.” Suddenly, appropriation and transface has been given the green light by Caitlyn Jenner.
In case you were wondering, although Cailtyn may have filled her country club application out with her male dead-name, she swings off from the women’s tee. Let’s just hope she can dig herself out of the sand trap she seems to be floundering in.