Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympic champion and reality TV personality currently running for governor in California, has said she opposes transgender girls who participate in women’s sports in school.
Jenner, a decathlon gold medalist in 1976 and turned transgender in 2015, told a TMZ reporter on Saturday that it was “a matter of fairness.”
“This is why I oppose biological trans boys who participate in female sports at school. It just isn’t fair. And we need to protect girls’ sport in our schools, ”Jenner said Saturday in a brief interview in a parking lot in Malibu.
It was Jenner’s first comment on the matter since announcing her candidacy to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, in a recall election. Five states passed laws or implemented executive orders this year limiting the ability of transgender youth to participate in sports or receive certain medical treatments. There has been a vehement outcry from supporters of transgender rights.
Jenner, a Republican, backed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, but then criticized his administration for some discriminatory actions against transgender people.
Many transgender rights advocates have criticized Jenner, saying she has not convinced them that she is a major asset to their cause.
Kai Shappley, a 10-year-old trans girl from Texas, called on Jenner to “stop hurting” trans children.
Some trans people have said Jenner does not represent the community.
Equality California, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, wrote: “Here are the facts: Caitlyn Jenner is willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of trans children to win votes. Gavin Newsom is not. It is that simple.”
Others pointed out that, as recently as last year, Jenner supported trans athletes competing on sports teams that match their gender identities.
“I think every trans person, if they like athletics, should have the opportunity to compete and improve,” Jenner said in April 2020 on the Outsports podcast, The Trans Sporter Room, according to Forbes. “I think sports are such a great way to learn a lot about yourself. … I hope they will have the opportunity in the future to do whatever they can. strongly agree, I am all for it.
She echoed a similar sense of support in 2015, when she received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards, and spoke about issues affecting trans people.
“I also want to pay tribute to all of the young transgender athletes who are out there – who have the chance to play sports for who they really are,” she said in her acceptance speech. “And now, as of this week, it looks like transgender people will soon be serving in the military. It’s a good idea. We have come a long way. But we have a lot of work to do. “
Advocates say Jenner’s about-face is proof that she changed her public mind just to grab the attention of Republican voters in California.
But trans people say his comment will not be without consequence and that it could help those behind anti-trans legislation to justify their point.
“Jenner is going to be the ‘some of my friends are trans’ American trans woman, allowing countless conservatives to take a little cover and decimate our rights,” said trans director and writer Elle Finke. “Not that they will be successful, but it is the leeway they need to better defend their cause and hurt our children.”
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