It’s been a big year for Caitlyn Jenner. First, she came out as Caitlyn Jenner, and now she’s learning a lot of lessons about the realities of being a transgender public figure.
Enter: her recent comments to Time on how “less-feminine” trans women make people feel uncomfortable.
“One thing that has always been important for me, and it may seem very self-absorbed or whatever, is your presentation of who you are,” she said. “I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically, kind of, looks and plays the role. I try to take my presentation seriously. I think it puts people at ease. If you’re out and, to be honest, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.”
And like, yikes. Just . . . a lot of yikes in that statement. A lot of harmful stereotypes perpetuated, and also some very derogatory remarks. Lest we forget that most people do not have the money Caitlyn has at her disposal, so to “play the role” in the same way she does can be financially impossible. Secondly, to be trans isn’t about embodying a “role,” it’s about being who you are. A transgender woman will be a woman regardless of whether or not she’s wearing a dress or makeup or pants or whatever — she just is. She is a woman. And to toss gender stereotypes around in such an important conversation is actually quite damaging, on top of being very irresponsible and upsetting.
A lot of yikes.
But! But, Jenner is now apologizing.
In a piece for WhoSay (called “Still So Much To Learn”), Caitlyn acknowledged what she said and the effects of it.
“This week, a lot of attention was brought to my comments in my Time interview,” she said. “I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I’m truly sorry. What I was trying to say is that our world really is still a binary one, and the 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.”
And like, duh. But to be honest, the conversation can’t stop here. I heard a friend once say that she doesn’t like to criticize without offering a solution, so maybe this is where Jenner steps up to try and come up with one — alongside her fellow trans activists who can bring their own experiences to the table. Mostly because we’ve all got a lot to learn in 2016.