Transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner has rejected allowing transgender girls to compete in sports according to their gender identity.
Republicans nationwide have weaponized transgender youth in an attempt to start a new culture war, with multiple states introducing or passing laws restricting transgender student-athletes from competing in sports.
Jenner launched her campaign for governor of California last month, and the lifelong Republican was asked about the GOP’s efforts by TMZ.
Rather than defend transgender youth or point out the often baseless claims made by many GOP lawmakers in defending their anti-trans bills, Jenner instead toed the party line.
The former Olympian referred to trans female athletes as “biological boys” and said anti-trans laws were necessary to “protect” cisgender females.
“This is a question of fairness, that’s why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls’ sports in school,” Jenner told TMZ. “It just isn’t fair and we have to protect girls’ sports.”
Despite criticism, Jenner doubled down on her comments in a tweet on Sunday.
“I didn’t expect to get asked this on my Saturday morning coffee run, but I’m clear about where I stand,” she wrote. “It’s an issue of fairness and we need to protect girls’ sports in our schools.”
I didn’t expect to get asked this on my Saturday morning coffee run, but I’m clear about where I stand. It’s an issue of fairness and we need to protect girls’ sports in our schools.https://t.co/YODLDQ3csP
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) May 1, 2021
Related: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Connecticut’s transgender athlete policy
Jenner quickly received blowback for her comments, particularly given her previous assertions that, as a Republican, she is fiscally conservative but socially liberal.
It also contradicts a statement Jenner made in 2015, after coming out as transgender, while accepting ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Jenner praised the trans people who had come before her and paved the way for her to come out. She then turned to transgender youth, and in particular those who might follow in her footsteps as a gold medal-winning Olympian.
“I also want to acknowledge all the young trans athletes who are out there,” she said, “given the chance to play sports as who they really are.”
Popular Twitter account Fifty Shades of Whey, which shared her 2015 comments, accused Jenner of “parroting Republican talking points for a quick buck.”
“She took all the goodwill given to her by LGBTQ+ advocates and flushed it down the toilet so she can be a cog in the GOP grift machine,” they wrote.
Related: Alabama governor signs anti-transgender athlete bill into law
Transgender actress Trace Lysette slammed Jenner’s comments, replying to her tweet with, “Cait… this ain’t it.”
“When you’re on hormones and or blockers there is not an advantage,” Lysette continued. “I ran track at the club level with college girls and trust me there is no advantage. I would have went pro if I was able to run the times I ran before hormones etc.”
Ashlee Marie Preston, the first trans woman to become editor-in-chief of a national publication, asked when Jenner planned to return “that Olympic Gold Medal, subsequential awards, and the millions of dollars of wealth you accumulated from your success as an athlete? After all; you were a woman competing as a man– since we’re being ‘fair’ and all.”
California state Sen. Scott Wiener, who is gay, pointed out that the state is one of the few that protects the right of trans youth to compete in sports according to their gender identity.
“We ‘protect girls’ sports” by actually allowing girls to play,” he tweeted. “By advocating to ban trans young women from playing sports, Caitlyn Jenner shows yet again that she doesn’t reflect California values of inclusion & equality.”
Related: South Carolina lawmakers reject third attempt to ban trans athletes from competition
Actor and LGBTQ activist George Takei offered this succinct critique of Jenner’s stance: “Caitlyn Jenner is no friend of the LGBTQ community. Don’t call her an actvist [sic]. She’s a menace.”
Trans activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted that Jenner “completely fails to understand the science here.”
“This has not been a problem. The GOP is fabricating this issue and funding Jenner to claim this nonsense. She is about as credible as any paid shill,” Clymer wrote.
“Medical organizations, feminist organizations, and prominent cis women athletes, including Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe, have all spoken out against banning trans girls from sports. There is no evidence this is a problem anywhere,” she continued. “Caitlyn Jenner is dead wrong on this.”
Related: West Virginia governor signs transgender athlete ban into law
Jenner formally declared her candidacy for California’s highest office last month, should Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom be ousted in an expected recall election.
Since her announcement, Jenner has endured mounting criticism, particularly from LGBTQ people who are unhappy with the 71-year-old’s Republican politics, given her status as a transgender woman and support for anti-LGBTQ politicians, including twice-impeached former president Donald Trump.
It also transpired that Jenner’s own children don’t support her campaign — all of Jenner’s sons are allegedly embarrassed by her campaign.
Jenner’s stepdaughters have also reportedly distanced themselves from her campaign, with Kim Kardashian “disturbed” at a recent tweet by Jenner about California’s prison system, which Kardashian allegedly felt undermined her prison reform advocacy work.
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