There are celebrity Republicans, and then there's Caitlyn Jenner. After her public gender transition last year, Jenner's conservative politics have shifted to include LGBTQ rights. That said, she has openly supported the GOP, which has historically fought against these rights. Although she formerly supported Ted Cruz, Jenner announced that she'd support Donald Trump for president after Cruz dropped out. So you might be wondering if Jenner is at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
Well, Caitlyn hasn't made an appearance yet, but she reportedly made plans to go to Cleveland during the RNC — not to attend the convention, but rather to give a speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame about the Republican Party's need for LGBTQ inclusion to a crowd of pro-LGBTQ conservatives. Hosted by the American Unity Fund, her speech was scheduled for the morning of July 20, and was sponsored by a number of pro-LGBTQ Republican organizations, including the Log Cabin Republicans, the College Republican National Committee, and the Ohio College Republican Federation.
“As a proud Republican and transgender woman, I want to support courageous Republicans who advocate for LGBT freedom," Jenner said. "I want to do my part to persuade more Republicans to support freedom for millions of LGBT Americans.”
The week before the RNC, Jenner and Trump reportedly spoke about transgender rights following Trump's meeting with religious conservatives, many of whom are against such rights. The division between Trump's social calls echoes tension over LGBTQ rights within the Republican Party, which last week adopted a slightly more open-minded party platform, but didn't actually use the term "LGBTQ." Trump seems to fully support LGBTQ rights — which hasn't been missed by the "family values" conservatives within his party.
The chasm between Republicans like Jenner and those who oppose LGBTQ rights seems to be widening, as evidenced by her speaking at a "counter-programming" event during the RNC, even as the party fumbles for celebrity support (some of the biggest stars scheduled to speak at the RNC are Scott Baio and the guy from Duck Dynasty). The party is experiencing serious growing pains, all of which are on public display as they move ever closer to nominating a man with absolutely no political experience for president.