A Republican “traditionalist” is the most visible transgender person in the world.
Bruce Jenner was a conservative Republican Christian, with all the baggage that came with it.
He became Caitlyn Jenner, but the gender transformation didn’t turn the former Olympian into an enlightened small “l” liberal.
So while Jenner, 65, was at first embraced by the LGBTQI community for drawing attention to the treatment of trans people, some are now having second thoughts about just how beneficial Jenner really is for the cause.
In the 24 hours after her now-iconic Vanity Fair cover, Caitlyn Jenner became the most high profile trans woman in the world.
Following the debut of her reality show I Am Cait, people asked if Jenner could be becoming “the Oprah of the trans community”.
In her new status as a transgender woman, Jenner was praised and welcomed by other trans people, including actress Laverne Cox, performer Candis Cayne, and academic Jenny Boylan.
Since then, though, there’s been a definite cooling-off.
During a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Jenner said, with regard to gay marriage, that she’s “a traditionalist” and didn’t “quite get it”.
She concluded, “I don’t ever want to stand in front of anybody’s happiness. You know? That’s not my job. If that word ‘marriage’ is really that important to you, I can go with it.”
DeGeneres, married to Portia De Rossi, wasn’t impressed with this response.
“It’s funny, because you’re still kind of not on board with it,” she told Jenner.
Later, on the Howard Stern show, DeGeneres joked that perhaps Jenner hadn’t joined her for a dance on the show because she’s a lesbian.
DeGeneres wasn’t really serious, but Jenner is a woman who was lionised at the New York Gay Pride parade when she turned up earlier this year. That her views on gay marriage are so lukewarm is likely to offend many.
As she’s demonstrated in interviews like the one with DeGeneres, and on her reality show I Am Cait, Jenner also doesn’t quite relate to the challenges other trans people face.
“What’s the big issue?” Jenner asked a group of new trans friends as they drove across the country on a road-trip together, referring to the problems young transgender people face.