One of the most prominent trans women of the United States is reportedly "secretly" fighting for transgender rights under Trump's presidency. Caitlyn Jenner's interview published by Variety on Tuesday touches on the Olympic gold medalist's advocacy in the capital, where she says she's met with unnamed White House officials and Capitol Hill lawmakers about the issue.
In the interview, Jenner told journalist Ramin Setoodeh, "I honestly don’t know what happened when he got in [the White House]. It was extraordinarily disappointing." She also added: "He’s not been doing a very good job, but it’s not over yet."
While speaking to Setoodeh, Jenner said that she didn't want to attract media spotlight for the transgender rights advocacy she said she was doing in Washington, D.C. "I don’t do a lot of media. I don’t want to be seen everywhere," Jenner said. "Today, I’m very politically involved. Nobody really knows it. I do it very quietly because I have been so criticized by the liberal side of the media. I can get more things done if I don’t stick my nose into everything publicly."
Although she said she voted for Trump in 2016, Setoodeh reported that Jenner no longer aligns completely herself with the president. It's similar to what she told Broadly early in 2018. "I want him to know politically I am disappointed, obviously," she said in May. "I don’t want our community to go backwards." Jenner proposed that Trump "just leave us alone. That’s all we want. Then maybe later down the line, we can get somebody a little better."
Jenner's comments in May seemed to be in stark contrast with the assessment given to E! Online in 2016. Two years ago, Jenner said, "I'm not a big fan [of Trump] because, I think, of his macho attitude. I think he would have a hard time with women when he doesn't even realize it." She then added, "It doesn't mean he wouldn't be good for women's issues, I think he would be very good for women's issues."
Although Jenner has been openly critical of Trump — in 2017, she rebuked him on Twitter for withdrawing federal guidelines allowing trans people to use bathrooms that matched their gender identity — she told CNN's Don Lemon that same year that she did not regret voting for Trump. "As far as LGBT issues, yes, he's made some mistakes. I don't support him in everything that he does. But we needed to shake the system up," she said.
Now, a year later, Jenner said she has met lawmakers and White House officials in an attempt to push for transgender rights. "I met with Paul Ryan. I’ve met with just about everybody. Publicly, they aren’t supportive of transgender rights," she told Setoodeh. Jenner did not share details about the conversations she supposedly had with "roughly 50 members of the House and Senate" as well as White House officials.
Jenner added, "I’ve never had anybody not be nice to my face." That said, she noted that she occasionally faced personal questions related to her genitalia.
Speaking of the apparent loneliness in Hollywood that she faces as a Republican transgender woman, Jenner said, "No matter what you say or do, they think you don’t get it because you’re this kind of white, privileged person."
In spite of the backlash she's faced, Jenner doesn't seem to be going anywhere. While speaking to Variety, she placed emphasis on her advocacy and said, "I haven't turned my back on anybody."