Amid an ongoing epidemic of violence against transgender people, particularly trans women of color, Caitlyn Jenner has claimed it is easier to come out as trans than to come out as a Republican.
The California gubernatorial candidate, who was an Olympic athlete and reality TV star before throwing her hat into the ring for the state’s likely upcoming recall election, made the comments during a Fox Nation interview.
Jenner told host Tomi Lahren that entering the race for governor as a Republican led to a greater backlash than when she came out publicly as trans in 2015.
“You know what? It was easier to come out as trans than it is to come out as a Republican,” Jenner said. “Especially in California, when Diane Sawyer and I did my first interview as — you know, in my old life, and she goes, ‘oh my God, I hear you’re a Republican, too.'”
Jenner continued: “I got more backlash for that than [for] being trans, and I’m thinking, ‘oh my gosh, this is ridiculous.'”
Noting that LGBTQ people have been hostile to her Republican politics, Jenner said she was aiming to be an “inclusive Republican” — a statement that will likely raise eyebrows given Republican efforts nationwide to curtail or revoke rights for transgender people.
More than 100 anti-trans bills have been introduced in legislatures across the country since the start of 2021, leading to a number of Republican-controlled states criminalizing healthcare access for transgender youth or banning trans people from competing in sports according to their gender identity.
“I hate when they put you in this little box,” Jenner said. “Everybody wants to — you know, in this box or this box. And if you’re Republican, that means you must think this way. You must deal with issues this way. I’m not even close to that, OK?”
Instead, she said that the Republican party “really doesn’t represent who I am.”
“I want them to come to my side,” she said. “The Republican Party needs to change, OK? And to be honest with you…I am the poster child for change.”
Jenner’s campaign for governor has hit a number of roadblocks since she launched it in April — many of them caused by Jenner herself.
She drew condemnation from LGBTQ advocates after throwing transgender youth under the bus, declaring that they should be banned from competing in sports according to their gender identity in order to “protect girls’ sports.”
In her first campaign ad, a slickly produced video released at the start of May, Jenner declared herself to be a “compassionate disrupter” who would “save California.”
She then undid any goodwill the video generated by going on Fox News and touting her personal wealth and complaining about California’s homeless population.
Just days after announcing her campaign, reports emerged that Jenner’s children thought she didn’t have the experience to run the state and that her Kardashian step-daughters wouldn’t be endorsing her.
And a poll last month painted a bleak picture for Jenner, finding only 6% of Californians would support her in the state’s upcoming recall election.
What’s more, only 13% of Republicans would cast a ballot for Jenner to be their next governor, a performance one pollster bluntly called “a very poor showing.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!