Queer and trans people are calling out Caitlyn Jenner’s bullshit

The California governor candidate said trans girls shouldn’t be allowed to play girls sports

Caitlyn Jenner has come out on the wrong side of history. 

And no, I’m not talking about her questionable Masked Singer appearance. Rather, one of the highest-profile trans people in the United States has crossed the line into outright transphobic commentary. 

We know Jenner doesn’t have a great track record (no pun intended): She is, after all, part of one of the most high-profile reality TV families and is actively choosing to run for governor of California as a Republican. (If we had to have a Kardashian run for office, my money would be on Kris—she gets shit done.)

But when the former Olympic gold medalist was questioned by TMZ this weekend about the recent wave of anti-trans bills that have dominated U.S. state legislatures in 2021, she took problematic takes to another level. 

“This is a question of fairness,” Jenner told the tabloid. “That’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school. It just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”

And just in case you thought this was a case of misspeak, she doubled-down on that flamin’ hot bad take on Twitter. 

For the record, banning trans kids from playing sports is not “protecting” cis girls. It is an ideologically driven policy point based on years of religious and right-wing campaigning against LGBTQ2S+ rights. And Jenner parroted the exact talking points developed in the labs of conservative lobby groups.

Coming from the mouth of someone referred to as a “trans activist” or “trans advocate” by media outlets including The Washington Post and the Associated Press, high-profile LGBTQ2S+ people are pointing out that this discourse is particularly dangerous and hypocritical.


Jenner came out publicly as a trans woman in April 2015 and subsequently starred in the reality TV series I Am Cait, which documented her transition. Jenner’s announcement of her run for governor of California—because apparently a high-ranking government job is now a retirement plan for right-wing celebs—has vaulted her into the role of arguably the highest-profile trans person in politics. 

Jenner has repeatedly claimed to be an advocate for the trans community, but her relative wealth and privilege compared to most trans people has led to a few faux pas—from saying she doesn’t mind people using her deadname, to her continued defence of Donald Trump during his campaign in 2016. 

She walked back her support for Trump in 2018 in the wake of his trans military ban. But Jenner also just enlisted Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale for help with her own campaign this year. 

Simply being a trans person in the public eye does not make you a trans activist. Jenner has a level of privilege that is not afforded to the vast majority of trans women in the United States. 

Jenner’s comments on the anti-trans bills are an obvious play to the Republican base she’s trying to court in the California election. Having one of the most high-profile trans women in politics speak out in favour of these dangerous bills is a huge win for the ideological right. Fox News correspondents are already proclaiming there is “no one more qualified” to speak on the issue of trans kids in sports than her.

For the record, I can think of a lot more people more qualified than an old rich white lady—namely, the kids and parents fighting these bills all across America. 

Jenner’s support of these bills will be weaponized by the right and her campaign. She will be touted as a tokenized representation of trans people on the whole and, as writer Jude Ellison Doyle noted on Monday, will use her “platform to spread misinformation and bigotry, making statements that, objectively, are wrong, and awful, and will likely get some kids killed.”

Jenner’s transness, her celebrity profile and her incessant need to cater to the right-wing base mean we can expect more comments like this to come. If you thought Keeping Up With The Kardashians was messy, get ready.

Senior editor Mel Woods is an English-speaking Vancouver-based writer and audio producer and a former associate editor with HuffPost Canada. A proud prairie queer and ranch dressing expert, their work has also appeared in Vice, Slate, the Tyee, the CBC, the Globe and Mail and the Walrus.

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