“Caitlyn Jenner does not represent me,” a trans pioneer tells LGBT journalists
[note: this post has been updated to reflect the full comment Ashley Love made when addressing Jenner’s comments about trans people in need of aid. The paragraph that included Jamison Green’s “pissed off” comment has been recast to include greater context].
Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from male to female may have captivated the media’s attention, but she came in for sharp criticism at a public forum in San Francisco.
“Caitlyn has lived a very sheltered life and by virtue of her privilege she has some areas of ignorance,” author and trans advocate Jamison Green told an audience gathered at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention. “Hopefully she will be amenable to being educated about that and show a little bit of humility.”
“Just because someone is famous doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a leader,” noted advocate and journalist Ashley Love. She moderated the panel titled Affirmation Proclamation: Trans* Elders Review Misgendering in News, Culture and Hollywood.
Love asked Green how he felt about the media “uncritically glorifying ‘it’ trans people of the month” over those who have worked for decades to improve the lives of trans people.
“How do I feel? It pisses me off,” Green responded. “How do I feel about somebody who’s famous suddenly shows up and says, ‘My story is the story that’s going to save everybody’s life’?” Green added rhetorically.
“Caitlyn Jenner does not represent me,” declared panelist Veronika Fimbres, a trans activist who served as San Francisco’s Commissioner for Veterans Affairs for 14 years.
Fimbres questioned the speed with which Jenner made her transition.
“Transgenders have a certain protocol to follow before they’re even given surgeries. You have to live your life as a woman full-time at least two years. And that means therapy. And Caitlyn Jenner hasn’t done any of that,” Fimbres said. “All of a sudden she’s doing all this stuff, she’s going to save the world.”
Love said some in the trans community had taken offense at remarks Jenner made on her E! reality series which seemed to cast aspersion on economically-disadvantaged trans people who receive government assistance.
“A lot of people felt Jenner was demeaning trans people of color, poor trans people, trans people with disabilities, trans people who aren’t reality stars.”
Green said Jenner should limit herself to discussing what she knows — her own experience.
“Everyone’s an expert in their own story,” he said.