Unless you live under a person who lives under a rock, I’m pretty sure you already know where I’m going with the title. hehehe Everyone is up in arms (repeatedly) pretty much anytime Cait opens her mouth these days.
And if you have been under the rock, Caitlyn (Cait) Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, is transgendered and came out to the world not so long ago. Her ‘coming out’ was a big revelation and brought the fight for our transgendered brethren to the national stage. Then the problems began. Our shining new role-model had a different secret. She was a life long Republican and those views ran contrary to her new existence.
As her public appearances increased in her new role, her continuing support for those views showed a conflicting mess of greed, entitlement, and indifference. Our new model was saying and supporting many of those in politics who are against her existence. The backlash has been swift. For myself, I’m not really surprised. A lifetime of affluence has bred a selfish desire to maintain her own status.
Cait should be a lesson to the rest of us though. We have a chance to learn from her. We, as a society and a community, often conflate being famous w/being a good role model. Even after repeated and re-repeated scandals in the news almost daily, we still seem to hold onto this belief. Life and people people don’t exist in the absolutes of black & white. They exist in a spectrum of greys. Good people can do bad things and bad people can do good things. That distinction, as always, is important.
Cait as a famous figure, has brought a lot of welcome and needed attention to the fight for trans folks. Her willingness to come out was and is a big deal. It pushed the trans movement that much further into equality. We should celebrate and take advantage of it. Her continued appearances as a trans person lends authenticity to their existence and also reduces fear. It normalizes an otherwise normal existence made scary by ignorance.
Cait’s acceptance is separate from her conflicted and often shameful views. I can accept her as she is and still condemn her views. Further, Cait doesn’t have to conform anymore than gay men had to to gain equality. She is allowed to have her own beliefs, however hypocritical. She is no different from a gay republican. She is still entitled to acceptance. The distinction between the two is important because it defines the very right of equality. It is not ok to attack her status or existence simply because she is a hypocrite and blithely unaware of the struggles many less affluent trans folk face. Condemn her hypocrisy. Call her out on it any and every time but don’t resort to demeaning her existence. By doing so, you legitimize the idea that trans folk are not worthy of equality.
The lesson we can learn here is equality is not based on how well you behave, believe, or conform.