Caitlyn Jenner slammed at journalism summit

“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.”

 Moderator Ashley Love (left), Jamison Green (center) and Veronika Fimbres

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.

22 thoughts on “Caitlyn Jenner slammed at journalism summit

    1. Hi docbrown Thank you for your comment. I wrote “attacked” initially but something seemed not right about the word– like it could suggest she was physically attacked. For some reason a more appropriate word eluded me initially. Then I changed the verb to “slammed” which suggested the vehemence of the criticism without implying physical violence. I recognize one must be particularly careful when applying terms that can be misinterpreted or are misleading when touching upon trans issues, as the community is indeed subjected to extreme violence.

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    2. As for the question of click bait, it would be disingenuous of me to suggest I didn’t care if anyone saw the piece. Most if not writers– online or otherwise– are hoping to see their material read. But as I said you correctly pointed out a regrettable choice of words in my headline. My WordPress shows the headline changed to “slammed,” which I think is fair. I hope the post appears with that word in the headline wherever the article may be seen.

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    3. Hi Ashley, Jamison and Veronika, my name is Traci I am transgender been out living fulltime since 2009 fighting and struggling to reach my goal. The struggle finding a job is very real, I’m an advocate for Equality trying to get a fully inclusive HRO in place in my city of Jacksonville, Fl. Been working with City Council for about 2 years campaigning for the cause and have volunteered much of my time. I support your belief regarding Caitlyn, but I kind of support her as well for coming out at such an adolescent age. I also agree as far as the steps WE transgender have to go through, look me up up on my page. Traci Nicole. !!! 🙂

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    4. Thank you! I said this when she first had her big “Debut” and my other trans friends got all hot and bothered that I was not on board. I wanted to see how she would use her platform to promote a community she was never part of. How she could claim to be part of a community she never really mentioned publicly, she never had to deal with the societal backlash and housing, job prospects, school, economics, the general public. The Ellen show last week was a mess. You have made no progress in understanding anything about what we have to deal with because we are outside of your protective bubble in a gated community and handlers and professionals and lighting and make-up artists, shoppers….it is amazing how out of touch she remains.

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  1. Caitlyn isn’t a advote for us because all these TV and magazines are paying her and there is thousands of lgbt in need caitlyn gets millions there is thousands of people in pain and a advote needs to help people also be their true selves also caitlyn still calls her selve as a father and not a mother

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    1. “caitlyn still calls her selve as a father and not a mother” Um really? Did Caitlyn give birth to babies as a mother does? Did she breast feed them as a mother does? Did she bond with them as a mother does?
      Caitlyn is a father. Many Transsexuals, MtF have fathered children and are still fathers, always will be fathers. I am one.
      We/I have no right to take away or not recognise the role/rights of a mother. There are never two mothers. We have no right to lessen the place of the true mother.
      I am female. I fathered my children and will always be their father.
      I am a realist and some Trans need to be real. Having been a man and father, changing ones gender identity does not make you a mother. But a Trans person who has fathered a child, then claims to be a female, denigrates what a mother is. No wonder feminists get annoyed by Trans. You or any Trans person has no right to change what others believe to suit yourselves.
      Sorry but while I agree with alot of the rest you have written, that comment makes it all look silly.

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  2. From what I understand the panelists were voicing publicly what many transwomebn have been thinking. Why the silence? Well, we ‘are’ known for eating our own for not going with the flow…

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  3. “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.”

    Uh, no, Ms. Fimbres; it’s not 1980. Except for those who are severely geographically disadvantaged, trans people (and that’s another thing: “transgender” is an adjective, NOT a noun) are not subjected to any of that horrible nonsense any more.

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    1. in the uk,trans women have to show they are serious by changing their name and living as a woman for two years before surgery is offered to them.

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  4. Can’t remember caitlyn ever saying she’s going to save us ! Ok her monies have helped her transition quicker So what ,we are all different . Stop picking holes in the woman ,she’s learning fast and of course we’ve all never ever made any mistakes while on our journeys !

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    1. I’ve tryed to see things differently when reading the negative comments about Caitlyn, but for me I’ve come to the conclusion that many are envious or simply jealous of her. She has carried herself a lady at all times and has chosen this public route on which could be a very underground transition. She chooses to wake up & show her face everyday and yes indeed with full makeup & hair. Don’t for one second say if it wasn’t available to you, you wouldn’t use it either. She was already famious, and had she wanted to be selfish and unconcerned she would have gone into hiding. She’s waited more than 55 years to come out of the closet, not to be queen of trans, but to learn & help and do what she can do. Everyone has something, Caitlyn is still trying to fit in & find herself while some can’t keep their snide comments to themselves. It breaks my heart……..

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  5. When discussions ensue, we need to separate the transsexual individual from transgender individual. One wants to become the opposite sex, genitals and all. The other just wants to accommodate their body and appear to the world as they wish.

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  6. I’m sorry but all I see is another fracturing of the T-Community.
    When we we get over this damned “Us Against us” attitude ???

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  7. I believe the spirit of the comments was not as vehement as the author describes. I did not imply that Caitlyn Jenner said she was going to save the world; I said a LOT of trans people think their story is the one that’s going to be the equivalent of saving the world, and then it doesn’t turn out that way. I think clickbait is an apt description for the headline of this piece. Jenner is in a unique position because of her fame and her privilege, and I think she is trying the best she can to learn and to do the right thing. I also said I’d never met her, and I would love to meet her someday. Those lines were not included in the story, and I feel that this writer is trying to capitalize on Caitlyn Jenner’s fame as much as anyone else. I have no grudge against Ms. Jenner. My irritation is with the media representatives who do not understand the transgender movement or the history of transsexual and transgender rights activism, and who grant authority to people who get their attention, even those who admit they also know nothing about it.

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    1. The quotes attributed to Mr. Green are accurate; I recorded the panel discussion and transcribed them from the audio. It’s a bit revisionist to now claim to have made only general comments about how “a lot of trans people think their story is the one that’s going to be the equivalent of saving the world, and then it doesn’t turn out that way.” I chose to leave out additional comments you made suggesting many trans people were simply jealous of Caitlyn because she got a glamour shot on a magazine cover and they didn’t. It is true that you did make clear you haven’t met Caitlyn and would welcome the opportunity to do so. However, to me that seems a minor caveat. I’m not sure other members of the panel have met her– it’s not terribly germane to take a roll call of panelists to see who is up for meeting her.

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    2. As for the characterization of vehemence, I think that is accurate. Were not the comments of the woman escorting Miss Major from the room quite vehement? She said Miss Major “caught all the rocks and the bricks while Miss Caitlyn Jenner was hiding behind cis white male.”

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    3. Regarding the “clickbait” accusation, would you accuse the moderator of the trans elders panel of sensationalism because she brought up the issue of Caitlyn Jenner? She brought it up because it is a newsworthy topic. When trans people sharply criticize the woman the public identifies — rightly or wrongly — as the face of transgender issues, that is newsworthy. To not report on it would be to wrongly imply the community is delighted with everything Caitlyn has said and done in her new public role. “Slammed” accurately sums up the strength of the criticism at the panel discussion, in my view.

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  8. I would like to speak to some factual errors about medical transition care that are quoted in this article:

    >“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.”<

    The current Version 7 of global "Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People" (SOC7), published by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), require that individuals live continuously in the gender role that is congruent with their gender identity for 12 months, not two years, before corrective genital surgeries (p. 60). Other non-genital surgical procedures do not have specific social role requirements, though at least 12 months of feminizing hormone therapy are recommended for trans women before breast augmentation procedures. Psychotherapy is not a requirement for access to either hormonal or surgical transition care, however it is recommended (p. 28). Moreover, the SOC7 state explicitly that "Being Transsexual, Transgender, or Gender Nonconforming Is a Matter of Diversity, Not Pathology" (p. 4).

    The Standards of Care can be downloaded, free of charge, from http://www.wpath.org.

    Psychotherapy can be a useful, healing tool for both transgender and cisgender people who need it. However, trans people should never be presumed mentally disordered or in need of psychotherapy, simply because they are trans or experience a need for medical transition care.

    I think Dr. Green, the President of WPATH, is right that, “Everyone’s an expert in their own story." The issue is not Ms. Jenner's access to medical transition care; that's between her and her doctors. The issue is taking the time and doing the hard work to become conversant in social and policy issues before presuming to speak as a public authority on them.

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