Caitlyn Jenner opens up about her transgender transition in an interview with TIME magazine and some of her comments have sparked controversy. She was among those on the short list for the magazine’s coveted Person of the Year issue, and she reflect upon the year that has brought both her and the transgender community much attention.
The Olympic legend and star of the ‘I Am Cait’ reality TV show continues her trailblazing banner year. While she was shortlisted for TIME Person of the Year — ranking in at No. 1 — that honor went to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Also on the short list, as everyone knows, was Donald Trump.
But Jenner was on that list too, for her history making year, after the landmark Diane Sawyer interview, followed by the unveiling of her new identity as Caitlyn Jenner in a cover story for Vanity Fair and a photo by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. It’s not everyone who transitions who gets such a high profile or who receives the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and that’s among the topics Jenner addresses.
Asked what she wanted to accomplish with her show for transgender advocacy and acceptance, she told TIME, “The only way you can normalize it is to expose it. And I’m trying to do my best to expose it, and expose these people.” She continued, saying, “I love my girls on my show. Why? Because they’re so normal. They’re just great girls, who are smart, who love working within the community to make a difference, who all have their lives.”
She added, “But the more as I proceed and go forward, it is important for me to try to project a good image for this community.”
When asked what this “good image” meant, Jenner 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.”
She elaborated, saying, “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. When I go out, as Kim says, you’ve got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there. The second thing I want to do in living my life authentically is be intelligent on the subject. Hopefully as time goes on I’ll learn more and more and more and get better at that.”
As the interview makes the rounds, and this particular passage goes viral, it’s sparking backlash on social media; you can see a huge roundup of such responses here and a commentator at Cosmopolitan also weighed in, calling the remarks transphobic.
Yes, she has inadvertently sparked a controversy. The interview is quite lengthy, but it’s those few hundred words that have people talking. But as we all know, there’s power in the spoken word both positive and negative. Jenner herself has not commented on the controversy; if she does we will update.
Earlier in the discussion, Jenner speaks of what it’s like to embrace her true identity when the interviewer points out that she approaches the TV series with the determination of an athlete. Of that, she reminisced about her years back in the 1970s of training hours a day for the Olympics while living very modestly, economically speaking.
Jenner took a moment to reminisce about her hours of training and said, “I’ve got a competition coming up. I can’t wait for the day to start. For many years, I lost that in my life.”
She went on to say, “Now for the first time in my life in many, many, many, many years, I actually wake up in the morning excited about the day. Can’t wait. I got so many things to do. And I want to make a positive impact on this community and on the world, open up this conversation.”
Yes, the conversation is wide open, and it continues. At least now there is a conversation. After all, a transgender woman has made the TIME Person of the Year short list, and it was only within the past couple of years that any transgender woman ever was on the cover of that magazine’ that was Orange Is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox. Now we have Caitlyn Jenner in the public eye as the conversation continues.
You can see the video of the TIME magazine interview of Caitlyn Jenner below.
Photos: Caitlyn Jenner
Credit: PR Photos
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