Though Caitlyn Jenner would be the first transgender governor if elected to lead California, she’s been largely rejected by the transgender community, who see her Republican-leaning views as coming from a place of privilege.
“She’s completely detached,” said Bamby Salcedo, president of the TransLatin@ Coalition, an advocacy group. “All this truly is about her. It’s not about the issues, not about the people.”
Christine Hallquist, the first transgender woman to be a Democratic nominee for governor when she ran in 2018, told the San Francisco Chronicle Jenner doesn’t grasp the challenges faced by trans people.
“Unfortunately, because of her background and reputation, she has become the figurehead we don’t want,” Hallquist said. “She hasn’t really done anything to raise the voices of those who can’t speak for themselves.”
Citing violence in the transgender community, Salcedo said of Jenner, “she’ll never understand what it is like to be fearful walking down the street because of who you are.” Human Rights Campaign reported that 44 transgender people were killed in 2020, a number which activists say is high.
Disdain piled on after Jenner said she didn’t support transgender girls participating in girls’ sports. “I move on,” Jenner told Fox News’ Sean Hannity about tensions between her and the LGBT community.
LGBT activist Charlotte Clymer called Jenner “someone who panders,” “a hypocrite” and “a hateful person who has no problem attacking trans people to build her brand.”
Clymer called Jenner the “Phyllis Schlafly” of her community. Schlafly was a conservative activist who opposed the women’s movement of the 1960s and rose to fame by working to stop the Equal Rights Amendment.
Aria Sa’id, executive director of the Transgender District in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, said that Republicans accept Jenner and “look beyond” her trans identity due to her Whiteness and her wealth.
“It’s conditional acceptance,” she said, according to the Chronicle. “People will make conditional acceptance of people who mirror them in some ways and not others.”
“It’s beyond privilege,” Sa’id said. “She’s protected in her upscale mansion in Malibu, with her over $100 million net worth. Caitlyn lives in a bubble and represents people who live in that bubble, people who feel inconvenienced by the social issues we see.”
Jenner recently reposted an Instagram posted from Donald Trump Jr., which displayed a photograph of Jenner next to President Joe Biden’s assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine, who is also transgender. “Conservative girls are just better looking,” Trump Jr. wrote. Jenner reposted it with a laughing emoji.
Actress Alexandra Billings, a transgender activist, said the post spoke “volumes about both your self hatred and your blatant transphobia.”
The former Olympian and famed member of the Kardashian dynasty jumped into the California recall race to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom last month. She’s said she doesn’t like “labels,” but has identified as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. She has been registered as a Republican for decades.
Shortly after, she told Hannity she felt a responsibility to “come out and make a difference in probably the most marginalized community in the world.”
She became emotional when talking about her transition from Bruce to Caitlyn.
“I’m just trying to be myself, and I can be myself now,” Jenner told Hannity. ” I couldn’t do it before because I had too many secrets… I have no secrets anymore, and I just wake up and be myself all day. But I still feel like I am doing the right thing. And that is the most important thing.”