In this week’s episode of “I Am Cait,” Bruce Jenner decided to deliver a shot in the arm to his new show’s sagging ratings by talking about that most inspirational and up lifting of topics: Poverty rates and sex trafficking among transgenders!
In an episode titled “The Road Trip: Part 2,” Jenner spends the opening moments of the show in a meeting with a bunch of other transgenders, and a lawyer from the Human Rights Campaign named Amanda Gill. Yet, this is no ordinary meeting. Watch the clip carefully, specifically after Gill drops her line that trangenders have a poverty rate four times higher than the national average.
>> Angelica: A lot of people who want to be seen as heroes and want to, like, save our community. They want these kind of direct, wrap a bow around it, now this person's all better and they have a job. (Indistinct arguing)
>> Alison: Trans people have about four times the heightened extreme poverty rate as the general population, so that's very difficult to live at that level.
>> Chandi: We made it clear to Caitlyn that a lot of girls are going to be jaded, because the things that Caitlyn has been able to achieve in a few months, some of them will never achieve those things their whole entire life. So, taking that into consideration, Caitlyn is still wanting to do the work to make a difference in the community.
They’re essentially guilting/shaming Jenner for being rich. Right after Gill says transgenders are four times more likely to have high poverty rates (which maybe they wouldn’t if they would spend their money on things other than purely elective, unnecessary surgical procedures complete with entirely new wardrobes), Chandi, the community activist, goes on a tangent about how “jaded” all the other trans might be, considering Jenner has done more in a few months than they have in their whole lives.
Wasn’t this change about acceptance for who you are? How did this become just another liberal, white privilege talking point? Again, Jenner is being confronted with the fact that full acceptance into the trans world is not something accomplished the moment you self-identify. It’s accomplished after, and only after you fit in to whatever socio-economic hole they peg you into.
Which is highly conditional “acceptance” at best.
Bruce also metaphorically “stepped in it” again this week. Last week, he was read the Riot Act by the group when he criticized public assistance programs for ruining the incentive to work. This week, he provoked discontent by inserting his misogynistic and patriarchal take on what he would want in a partner:
>> Caitlyn: ...Um, you would feel so much more feminine if you were with a guy.
>> Woman: Wait, what?
>> Caitlyn: No.
>> Woman: Wait, what?
>> Ronda: Just physically.
>> Caitlyn: You would feel more feminine, like you say, if you're with a guy who treats you that way. I can appreciate the male form, okay? Um...
>> Jenny: I love to hear you say that. I've never heard you say that before.
>> Caitlyn: Yeah. Or you could look at... Yeah, you can appreciate that. Um, it-it doesn't mean that I would go that... I-I don't know, unless I-I got there.
>> Chandi: Right.
>> Caitlyn: And for me, if that was the case... As far as a male/female relationship, I would want to have the right parts.
>> Woman: The parts you feel comfortable with?
>> Caitlyn: What's that?
>> Woman: The parts you'd feel comfortable with?
>> Caitlyn: Uh, yes, and he feels comfortable with. But I-I don't count anything out in the future... I don't know where it's all going.
>> Chandi: Cait is going to figure out who she wants to date. She says that she's never had an interest in men before, but she's hot, so what are you gonna do when men begin to approach you?
>> Jenny: I think I'm the only woman here who was and is exclusively attracted to women before and after and I'm not less of a woman or less feminine because I'm attracted to women.
>> Caitlyn: Absolutely, I agree. But that-that, absolutely, I agree, because that's the way you feel.
>> Chandi: And it's so good that people are now having to realize that gender is more than just male and female.
>> Woman: Yes.
>> Chandi: I want someone who is a great all-around person, regardless of whether you're masculine or feminine. I just want you to be cool. I want you to be somebody who I can chill with. Um, if you like Beyoncé, that's a bonus, you know? (Laughter)
Note how one of the other trans women actually tries to bail Jenner out, by posing the clarification, “the parts that you would feel comfortable with...” Yet Jenner doesn’t take the proverbial life-line, and instead doubles down by saying the “right” parts that “he (his future boyfriend) would feel comfortable with.” Which earns him at least one gasp and a disapproving smirk.
What Jenner has done here, is commit the Cardinal sin of acknowledging that there are “right parts,” in a world that is supposed to be dominated completely and totally by what you feel and not at all by what parts you have.
Chandi, the community activist, says that “people are now having to realize that gender is more than just male and female” (quick, someone alert Wikipedia and the Webster’s Dictionary people). Chandi finishes with “I want someone who is a great all around person regardless of whether you are masculine or feminine.” Which makes me wonder why if male or female doesn’t matter, and it’s all about if the person is a great person or not, then why all the need for the cutting and slicing and hormone therapy and trading one gender for the other? Or, for that matter, creating a new gender type all together that allows you to be what you feel at the moment? Isn’t it enough that the person is a good person, and a “cool person that likes Beyonce” as she goes on to say?
That, of course, would be real acceptance. Something which Jenner’s trans friends know nothing about.