Was there something more I could have done? Or was I not meant to be the one? Where is the life I thought we would share? And why should I care? sung by Diana Krall Written by Clint Eastwood, Linda Thompson-Jenner, and Carole Bayer Sager
This kind of goes like’ “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.” Caitlyn Jenner announce this week that she is thinking of running for political office in California. There is probably no other person in my life that I have been ask for my opinion on more than her. A person that I readily admit I have never met and don’t know. I usually will tell the person asking that I don’t know her, but people still want to know what I think. I know that there are people who have told me that her visibility has helped them with relatives and others understand what it means to be transgender. It is still difficult for me to think of her as a benefit for our community.
I know that when I started my coming out as myself four years ago, there were few role models for me to look up to for my own journey. The few that I read about seemed so far off or so different that it felt useless for me to connect them to my life. On the most powerful mediums I saw no one that looked like me. Most of the time these mediums portrayed us as mentally ill or criminal. I remembered telling my wife while watching Law and Order that if there was a trans or cross-dressing person that you could always bet that the were the murderer. The books I read from Julia Serano/Whipping Girl, Kate Bornstein /Gender Outlaws, Richard Novic / Alice in Genderland, and Hellen Boyd /My Husband Betty were the first stories of people having an authentic life as their true gender.
I guess this brings me back to thinking about the time right before Caitlyn Jenner hit the news. A year before she hit the scene Laverne Cox had made a splash on Orange Is The New Black and she was a great advocate for our community. Everything seemed so rosy in 2014 that my wife ask me if I had planned this my whole life to come out at this time in history because I knew that everything had changed and people everywhere had become accepting and supportive. I got to hear Ms. Cox speak at the University of Kentucky in February that year and got to ask her a question that night. I ask her when would the Rosa Parks moment come for the trans community. I don’t think she was expecting a trans person to ask her a trans question all the other questions were about her character on OITNB and so her answer was something referring to Stonewall Riots in 1969. The truth of the matter she was right in her answer, or should have been right, except the fact that the Stonewall moment had been stolen from the trans community. In June Laverne Cox appeared on the cover of Time magazine with the title “Transgender Tipping Point.” Things were about to change. Not only was my wife wrong about the time in history having come for transgender people but so was Time magazine.
Then in 2015 Caitlyn Jenner appeared. It would have been perfect timing had she been politically and socially deft on transgender issues but alas she was horrible at being at the center of our collective psyche. She quickly stepped on most every toe that she could possibly step on. Arguments would break out with-in the LGBTQ community and even within the transgender community. I will be honest and say that I didn’t care for her public persona. She may be a lovely person in private but she has done lasting harm to the transgender community as a whole. I have defended her on several occasions when someone decides that they are going to misgender her or call her by her dead name. Neither of these are appropriate when talking about Ms. Jenner. It is appropriate to talk about her politics and her lack of fighting for our community.
So here it is 2017 and she’s considering a job in politics. I could care less that she is running for office or if she is going be working for some right wing hate group. She can do what ever she wants but I can’t imagine who she thinks will support her effort. I just don’t care. Then again I couldn’t imagine who would support Donald Trump either.