“It’s a matter of fairness. That’s why I oppose biological trans boys who participate in female sports at school,” said Jenner, a Republican who is one of the most transgender Americans. prominent in public life. “It’s just not fair. And we need to protect girls’ sport in our schools.” She did not respond to a follow-up question from the reporter about whether this view delegitimizes the identity of children who transition and now identify as girls.
Jenner’s remarks sparked a swift reaction from many LGBTQ activists on social media. While Jenner has sharply criticized Newsom’s response to the pandemic when she launched her campaign, she has yet to give much information on her views on many of the key issues facing the country. Her brief comments to TMZ about trans athletes in sport illustrate the tensions that are mounting between a candidate who has spoken prominently about trans rights and her own transition, but who has often found herself at odds with trans activists who don’t want her as a spokesperson.
Charlotte Clymer, writer and LGBTQ activist and former press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, tweeted on Saturday that Jenner was “completely wrong,” noting that athletes like Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe have spoken out against the ban on trans girls from playing with girls. sports teams: “There is no evidence that this is a problem anywhere.”
Many trans activists have disagreed with Jenner in part because of her past support for former President Donald Trump – and what they see as her failure to criticize administrative policies that discriminate against trans people. During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Trump suggested that the participation of trans athletes in girls’ teams “would destroy women’s sport.”
“Young girls and women are irritated that they now have to compete with those who are biological men,” Trump said. “If that doesn’t change, women’s sport as we know it will die. They will end. It will end.”
“The leader of our nation showed no respect for an already marginalized and struggling community. He ignored our humanity. He insulted our dignity,” Jenner wrote in this 2018 op-ed. “He made people trans. political pawns as he stirs animosity against us in an attempt to energize the most right-wing segment of his party, claiming that his anti-transgender policies aim to “protect the country.” This is the policy to its worst. It’s unacceptable, it’s upsetting and it hurt me deeply, personally. “
But even after withdrawing her support for Trump, she was criticized for not speaking out strongly enough against the Trump administration on trans issues. And several former Trump officials are now involved in running his campaign.
“She always just stood up against the LGBTQ community in a very dangerous way,” Clymer said. “She basically gives legitimacy to the Republican candidates, to the Republican Party. The very fact that she said Donald Trump would be rational on trans issues – it has done a lot of damage to the trans rights movement.”
Jenner’s latest comments are likely to escalate tensions with LGBTQ activists who immediately opposed her candidacy when she announced it.
Devan Cole contributed to this story.