Ever since Caitlyn Jenner made her debut as a woman on her jaw-dropping Vanity Fair cover, millions across the globe have been raving over the reality star’s transformation and its impact on the world. But what does the transgender community think? Well, as expected, there are both supporters and detractors for Jenner.
Nick Adams, an L.A.-based spokesman for GLAAD who is transgender, told the L.A. Times that he thinks Jenner’s cover is a step in the right direction for the trans community.
“We are having a larger national conversation about transgender issues, and by Caitlyn choosing to tell her story, she’s adding to that conversation,” Adams said. “It is allowing Americans to feel like they know someone who is transgender and hopefully bringing a greater understanding about what it means to be a transgender person.”
Gina Bigham, a transgender woman from Mid-Wilshire, spoke with the Times as well about Jenner’s admission that she had a panic attack in March after undergoing a 10-hour surgery to feminize her face. Jenner’s counselor told her that second thoughts are normal after surgery and Jenner concluded that she’d rather live an authentice life than continuing to lie.
“That is so true,” Bigham said, crying. “You weigh what’s scarier, is it coming out or lying there on your deathbed having been miserable all your life? At the end of the day, it’s more miserable to have that regret, but it’s tough to get to that point of actualizing what you really want.”
However, some in the transgender community believe that Jenner’s story, which involves glitz, glamour and wealth, doesn’t truly reflect the lives of most transgender people, who often deal with discrimination and violence on top of poverty, lack of resources, and a harsh justice system.
“For her to come out as a trans woman and say ‘Oh, please keep calling me ‘he’’ – I think she may have set us back,” said Janetta Johnson, a black trans woman who works with TGI Justice, to The Guardian.
“Jenner’s a rich white b—- – she can pay for everything she needs. But I think she now needs to put some of that money back into the transgender community as she has taken a lot. All these years we have been abused and battered, yet she has used none of her power to help the community and bring about change.”
However, some don’t think the impetus of change should fall solely on Jenner’s shoulders. In fact, fellow trans celebrity Laverne Cox thinks there are a few things society can do to optimize this moment for Jenner and bring about change. Read what she had to say after the cut.