Caitlyn Jenner & Jenny Boylan Meet With Trans Women On 'I Am Cait' & Point Out Important Issues
In last week's series premiere of I Am Cait, viewers mainly watched Caitlyn Jenner interact with her family and discuss her experiences of presenting as Caitlyn to them for the first time. While she met with some experts from the LGBT community and discussed her new role within that community, there was definitely a personal focus to the episode. In this Sunday's second episode, however, that completely changed as Caitlyn joined activist Jenny Boylan to meet with other transgender women. Though the dinner party, which eventually turned into a road trip, was meant to let Caitlyn get to know the trans community better, it ended up showcasing a very important part of not just Caitlyn's experience, but LGBT activism in general.
As many of the women Caityn met pointed out, her experience in coming out and transitioning is a very unique one. Given her celebrity status and wealth, she has privileges that many others don't, and the women she met pointed to the predominantly positive response to her coming out as a unique situation that vastly differed from their own experiences. Boylan discussed this at length in the episode, explaining that Caitlyn "has the problem of not knowing the community very well. She’s a stranger to the community in many ways." The party was a way to begin remedying that, and many of the guests expressed similar concerns. Author Jen Richards, for example, said she finds it "discomforting" that anything Caitlyn says will receive more attention than other trans advocates, while other women in the episode commented on the way Caitlyn seems to have become a representative for all transgender people, when clearly everyone has been through different journeys.
But it was very clear that Caitlyn understands her privileges, and is making serious efforts to understand all of the issues facing the community, including those she hasn't been through herself. Though the word "intersectionality" wasn't used in I Am Cait, the episode was essentially pointing out its importance. All of the women Caitlyn spent time with came from different backgrounds, and it was important to everyone that she understands the important of the many diverse experiences and people that make up the transgender community. Though as one single person Caitlyn could never stand in for everyone in the transgender community, as long as she continues to make the effort to educate herself about these issues and surround herself with informed advocates, she should prove to be an excellent LGBT advocate.