Caitlyn Jenner has become something of a divisive topic in the trans community as of late. Her political leanings have earned her a great deal of scorn from those who feel that her recent transition means that she should somehow change her political leanings. But in spite of my own liberal beliefs, I still can’t help but love and respect Caitlyn, even if I disagree with her.
I’m probably one of the rare people who will say I think it’s important to sometimes be around people who don’t always agree with you. For as much as the internet has allowed us to open dialogues with people with whom we’d otherwise never be able to communicate, it’s also created a cliquish society in which many people have become very polarized in their beliefs. Because you can easily find groups of people online who believe the same things you do, it’s easy to find yourself in a place where you are seldom questioned or disagreed with. It can be a freeing feeling to be sure, but the problem is, it isn’t always the way in the real world. We gravitate towards like minded people, such that when we encounter those that disagree with us, it can be incredibly off putting.
In the first two episodes of the second season of I Am Cait, Caitlyn and her trans girlfriends end up in a heated political argument, in which Candis Cayne rightfully points out that Cait has ‘lived in a republican bubble for so long, she can’t see other points of view’. And that’s very true, but it can also be said that in a lot of ways, as Candis again points out later in the episode, she’s never really had to talk with people who disagree with her politically to such an extent and so the polarization continues.
I may not agree with Caitlyn politically. And I recognize that maybe she has made mistakes in the things she says, but I also feel that like far too many other celebrity figures, our community is very quick to find any reason to throw our own under the bus. We’re oddly very comfortable tearing down our own when we feel they’re not expressing themselves the way we feel they ought to. It’s been said that her idea of what it means to be a woman is not what it is actually like to be a woman, but who the hell gets to make that call? She’s in her 60’s, why shouldn’t it be about makeup and dresses? Sure the Kardashian lifestyle has rubbed off on her, but you can’t expect her to suddenly become this perfect (again by who’s standards) trans role model overnight. It’s a tough road transitioning and she’s doing it in a way very few of us have had to, under a great deal of public scrutiny, knowing that at any moment and at all times, her words can and will be used against her. I don’t envy her that. But I admire her courage all the same.