“It was easy to come out as trans, it was harder to come out as a Republican,” said Caitlyn Jenner, earlier today, at the RNC’s “Big Tent” LGBT brunch held by the American Unity Fund. No shit, Shirley.
This isn’t the first time Jenner has expressed this sentiment—in February, she told an audience at UPenn, “I have gotten more flak for being a conservative Republican than I have for being trans.” She initially came out as trans and came out as Republican at the same time, during last year’s sit-down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. While it would be interesting to see Jenner try, it seems that it would be impossible for her to untangle the coming-out processes, which intertwined to form a confusing public profile. What initially rubbed people the wrong way about Jenner’s dual coming-out was its apparent conflict—here was a trans woman aligning herself with a political party that has been, at best, ignorant of transgender people, and at worst, outright hostile toward them.
The cognitive dissonance that comes from being a conservative queer, or perhaps the willful ignorance it takes to be one, has resulted in Jenner making some wildly ill-considered political statements. “Every conservative guy out there believes in everybody’s rights,” she said during the second season of her reality show, I Am Cait. Back when Ted Cruz had slightly more than a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president, Jenner voiced interest in becoming Ted Cruz’s “trans ambassador.” Jenner changed her mind after Cruz gave public support to North Carolina’s hotly debated bathroom bill, HB2, and in solidarity with Donald Trump, she took a performative piss in a Trump Tower restroom. She capped the video footage of it by saying, “And by the way, Ted, nobody got molested.”
Jenner was taking Trump up on the offer he made in April on a Today show interview, when he said that Jenner could use whatever bathroom in a Trump facility that she wanted. At the time, Trump said he believed that any trans person should do so. He said that creating separate trans bathrooms would be discriminatory, that there had been “little trouble” when it came to public restroom use, and that North Carolina should, “Leave it the way it is.”
In June, Trump backpedaled, saying, “I’m going with the state,” whose Republican governor, Pat McCrory, has ardently defended HB2. Since then, Trump selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Last year, Pence signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law and has also vociferously defended it since. The RFRA was essentially a license for businesses to discriminate against queer people (among others) on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs, before it was amended with another bill to provide protections for LGBT customers.
We emphatically support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” That language opened up for girls and women a world of opportunities that had too often been denied to them. That same provision of law is now being used by bureaucrats — and by the current President of the United States — to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories. Their agenda has nothing to do with individual rights; it has everything to do with power. They are determined to reshape our schools — and our entire society — to fit the mold of an ideology alien to America’s history and traditions. Their edict to the states concerning restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities is at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues. We salute the several states which have filed suit against it.
Some friends Jenner has in that political party of hers!
Jenner finally seems to realize as much. During today’s brunch, she framed herself as potentially useful for persuading Republicans out of their bigotry. She spoke passionately against the GOP-supported bathroom bills and even admitted that “the Democratic party does a better job when it comes to the LBGT [sic] community, the trans community, all that kinda stuff, and Obama actually has been very good from that standpoint.” Regarding the GOP’s own record on LGBT rights, she said, “I have to admit I’ve been very disappointed for the last five, ten years, but I won’t give up hope on it.” Even optimism can function as willful ignorance.
As to whether she is really a Republican, Jenner rambled unhelpfully:
My father was in the 5th Ranger Battalion. Landed on Omaha Beach. He’s buried at Arlington. He was a real good man. And actually, I went to his site a few years ago and realized that the plane that went into the Pentagon went right over my dad’s…where he’s buried. Thinking if my dad knew what was going on with this country when he fought so hard, and so many people died around him, and he’s seeing what’s happening with our country, I think he’d be very disappointed. Because of that, I feel like our best hope to get back to a Constitutional government with 18 enumerated powers is in the Republican Party.
Some things, you see, defy reason.