TITLE HERE: Caitlyn Jenner

I have always been for people being/becoming their true selves, so I am happy for Caitlyn Jenner as an individual, especially given the enormous amount of transphobia in the world. There will be a certain amount of visibility raised, as well as conversations about access, language, terminology, etc.. BUT there has been non-stop posting about the Vanity Fair cover in my feed since yesterday, and it raises a number of questions for me:

 

1) How have access to a huge amount of financial wealth, White privilege, and media reach shaped the Caitlyn Jenner story (whereas it is the lack of access to those three items that renders, for example, murdered trans* women of color as invisible)? Caitlyn Jenner's

choice to conform to traditional norms of cis-femininity in her look also play a part in this discussion.

 

2) How there is no discussion in any of the celebratory posts of Caitlyn's politics, which are shaped by access to those three items above, and how those same politics hurt many other marginalized communities. Grover Norquist praised Caitlyn, which sets off a 3 alarm fire in my mind! Neoliberals can be "comfortable" with Caitlyn - because even though she is a transwoman, she is a White, conservative Republican, wealthy woman -- whose stances and beliefs are antithetical to the causes of social justice.

 

Much of this celebration strikes me as similar to when people of color make it "big" or are a first. I get the desire, it's human. As a woman of color, I'm pumped when someone who looks like me or is from my community(ies) makes it big on TV or in politics. But, for example, folks like Clarence Thomas and Bobby Jindal hurt so many communities with their power and decisions. It's identity politics (and identity celebration) over a structural/systemic analysis. So my discomfort with much of the celebration is not about Caitlyn per se, but rather the nature of WHO gets to be the face of a community to the mainstream -- and how that plays into much larger issues of invisibility, class and race privilege, pandering to power, etc.