If you were looking for someone to give a speech on trans rights to the UK Parliament, to whom would you turn? Would it be a local activist who has experienced vicious discrimination? Would it be a trans person who is a survivor of violence?
Apparently, if you are Channel 4, the organizer of the annual diversity lecture, it would be none of those people. In fact, the speaker shouldn’t even be British. It should be Caitlyn Jenner.
Yes, the Trump supporter who believed being famous entitled her to being a leader in a movement despite her invicible ignorance, represented the trans community to Parliament last week.
Needless to say, Jenner’s presence wasn’t altogether welcome.
“I have no doubt that Jenner is on that stage not because of her progressive opinions and championing of rights, but solely because she’s transgender and for no other reason,” Yas Necati, who is transgender, wrote in The Independent.
“There are hundreds of trans people – activists, artists, just everyday people – who could have represented us better than her.”
At issue, of course, was Jenner’s insistence, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the Republican party was actually okay with LGBTQ rights and just needed a little help. She provided cover for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign by claiming he “backed the LGBT community.”
Worse, she insisted that Sen. Ted Cruz, a confirmed opponent of LGBTQ people, was actually fine except for that teeny homophobic/transphobic thing that she could fix as his “trans ambassador.”
In short, Jenner gave every appearance of being a confirmed Republican who lived in a bubble of privilege and thought nothing would change just because she was transgender.
Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way. In her speech, Jenner said that the Trump administration (but not the man himself) has set trans rights “back 20 years” and urged the UK “not to go down the same road.”
Jenner acknowledged that at first “I didn’t ‘get it’ when it came to the trans community. We have a very marginalized community.”
She also touted herself as a community spokesperson, but in a very Republican way. “I will never apologize for everything I’ve been able to do because I’ve worked very hard,” she said. “I’m not going to apologize for working hard and being successful. But what that does is give me a sense of privilege but also a platform.”
Just last summer, Jenner warned that “I am not a spokesperson for the trans community.”
Except when it comes to ego-flattering opportunities, apparently.