Caitlyn Jenner was named on Time’s “Person of the Year” shortlist for 2015, but the transgender reality star angered some members of the LGBT community with comments made in her interview for the magazine.
The I Am Cait star took to her blog on Monday to clarify a quote -- which has since been removed from the online interview -- in which she spoke about transgender members of the community “passing,” saying that people are still uncomfortable if a transgender person looks like “a man in a dress.”
“I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I’m truly sorry,” Jenner wrote in her blog post. “What I was trying to say is that our world really is still a binary one, and that people who look ‘visibly transgender’ sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others. And while this may be true, it’s also something that needs to change.”
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The 66-year-old reality star has faced criticism from the LGBT community since announcing her transition in April, for both her conservative politics and her economic privilege, which has afforded her elective surgeries and cosmetic resources not available to most transgender people. She admitted in her blog that she still has “so much to learn.”
“Some people look gender non-conforming because they want to look that way – they don’t want to conform to society’s expectations. Those people have every right to look and present exactly as they choose,” Jenner continued. “And then there are other people who don’t have the resources to access the medical procedures that would help them look the way they would like to look. Procedures, incidentally, that most health insurance plans refuse to cover. All of these people are my brothers and my sisters, and I am fighting alongside them, too.”
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Jenner, who was recently confronted by activists in Chicago who called her “an insult to trans people,” is changing the conversation about transgender acceptance, however. People Pattern, an Austin-based audience insights platform, examined Twitter metrics over the last 18 months and found that, by putting a well-known face to the issue, the online conversation about transgender issues has changed for the better.
“Prior to Bruce Jenner’s coming out as Caitlyn, people discussing transgender were more negative than positive (32% negative vs. 20% positive),” People Pattern said of its data. “Now, exiting 2015, more people are positive than negative (35% positive vs. 31% negative).”
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Jenner told Time that she is ready for “more of a leadership role” in the LGBT community, and understands that while her position as a public figure has given her a pedestal, it does not make her infallible.
“I am only one person. There are a lot of ways of being trans. And I want to help create a world in which people are able to express their gender in any way that is true and authentic for them,” Jenner concluded in her blog post. “I am guessing this is probably not the last time I will say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way. I promise to keep learning, and to try to be more articulate in the future. We have a lot of hard work to do. I am looking forward to doing it together.”
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