Earlier this year Caitlyn Jenner was a figure whom many thought would help end stigmas surrounding trans people in the United States and around the world.
Now, instead, lots of people feel like she’s perpetuating them further.
In a recent interview with Time, Caitlyn made some remarks that people are characterizing as damaging, and quite frankly, transphobic, toward a great portion of the trans community.
When asked by Time what “having a good image for the Trans community” meant, she replied with this:
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. 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.
Caitlyn seems to be referring to the concept of “passing,” which implies that a trans individual could effectively “blend in” as a cis-gendered person. Many trans persons, however, would prefer to not “pass” or even attempt to fit into traditional gender norms. Furthermore, transitioning is a costly process, leading others to interpret Caitlyn’s comments as, “you can only be your authentic gender if you are rich enough to afford it.”
F @Caitlyn_Jenner. Trans people do not exist for cis people's approval & comfort. All presentations are beautiful & worthy of respect.
— A Femme's Complicated Relationship w/the Internet (@throughwallsny) December 12, 2015
…ok it's time for caitlyn jenner to stop talking now
— 🐘shahira🐘 (@acharmingbore) December 12, 2015
Caitlyn Jenner is pretty much attacking low income trans women and women like me who are visibly trans. Reminds me of 90's websites I read
— Sophia Banks (@sophiaphotos) December 12, 2015
Please don't use Caitlyn Jenner as a measure for the trans community. Tbh, she does more harm than good to the community 😧
— Marshmoo (@Marshmoo_exe) December 12, 2015
There's so many more trans-people who actually deserve to get the level of acknowledgement and praise that Caitlyn Jenner gets…
— Hannah (@hxvvxh) December 12, 2015
Caitlyn Jenner is so full of shit.. Might be the worst out of the kardashians with the stupid things that come out of her mouth
— gabby (@_podz) December 12, 2015
— will (@virtuaIhomo) December 12, 2015
Others have defended Caitlyn, saying she is still new to herself and the community.
Baseline: #CaitlynJenner can and will fuck up. Because we all did and do. It's rooted in both her internalised oppression & her privilege,
— R.B. the Enby 💜💚 (@TranzWrites) December 12, 2015
I wish Caitlyn Jenner didn't have the platform she does, but cis folks are to blame for a newly out trans woman's internalized transmisogyny
— Jos Abolish ICE Truitt (@jostruitt) December 12, 2015
Caitlyn also said in the interview that she has a lot to learn. I only speak for myself, but I think on that point, she is spot on.