It’s been a mere six months since Bruce Jenner publicly announced his decision to transition from the retired male athlete we knew him as into the woman we now call Caitlyn. For the former patriarch of the Kardashian dynasty it’s been one public affair after the next. First there was the monumental 20/20 interview in which he announced his transition to Diane Sawyer, then came the widely publicized coming out cover on Vanity Fair. Soon after ESPN presented Caitlyn with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2015 ESPY Awards, and next was the reality show I am Cait. Now the American public is expected to witness yet another Kardashian-Jenner spectacle as Glamour presents Caitlyn with the honor of Woman of the Year this winter.
Oddly enough, the TV show The Doctors is the outlet that broke the news, reporting that the 65-year-old took part in a top-secret photo shoot for the annual December issue set to debut next month. And we get it. Following trends and jumping on bandwagons is what the media does. This is the year of transgender awareness so it only makes sense to feign solidarity and put the positive PR wheels in motion by honoring a member of that community. To be clear, transgender awareness in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. The struggles endured and the violence directed at this often shamed community need to be brought to people’s attention if we’re ever going to actually address and correct these issues. However, what we don’t need is another faux symbol of inclusion or a figurehead that’s doing nothing to bring attention to transgender issues, but to herself.
Caitlyn is simply a Kardashian by another name and the more we put anyone associated with those women on a pedestal the more we prolong their undeserving celebrity. At one point we thought Bruce was different; on Keeping Up with the Kardashians the differences between him and the rest of his family were stark. But since Bruce has reemerged as Caitlyn, all we see is another of Kris Jenner’s minions. Sorry to say, but that’s nothing to be celebrated.
Caityln may not have asked for this honor but she’s certainly played into the fame game. Already people are asking what she’s famous for, much like her step-daughter Kim. While the courage to finally be her true self after years of clearly suppressing those urges is certainly noble, capitalizing off of that reality for the sake of attention rather than furthering the most pressing concerns of the transgender community — many of whom are not so fortunate to be accepted by the masses because of their economic and racial privilege — is not. Let’s give Caitlyn some time to actually do something worthwhile with this fame before we go heralding her as a gamechanger.