Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner, has been praised recently for her bravery in coming out as transgender and publicizing her journey via various media outlets and reality programming. It would be thought as a given that the transgender community would welcome the reality star with open arms for shedding light on the trials and tribulations that go hand in hand when making the bold move to transition fully and publicly to a new gender.
However, on Thursday, the very community that would be thought as a safe haven for Jenner seemed to turn on the star in the form of an organized protest and rally outside an event at which Caitlyn was speaking in Chicago.
ET Online relays the scene from the protest in Chicago.
“After the I Am Cait star gave a speech during a luncheon in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday, she was confronted by protesters outside the venue. The 65-year-old former Olympian stopped to address one protester, who over the loudspeaker could be heard saying, ‘You are an insult to trans people, you are an insult to women.’”
Jenner was present at the event as a speaker to a group of 1,000 individuals at the annual Speakers Series luncheon for the Chicago House, an organization that provides services to those impacted by HIV/AIDS and other various LGBT difficulties and conditions.
The event’s Master of Ceremonies, Christina Kahrl, was perplexed by the reaction to Caitlyn’s role in the event and shared as to why she believes that Jenner was the perfect speaker for the annual occasion that is now in its seventh year.
“The point was to get people to come and talk about trans issues. Because she’s been the subject of media scrutiny for decades, she’s in a unique position to take whatever criticism she gets for speaking out on behalf of trans people who need help. She owns the fact that she has a ton of privilege. It’s a little frustrating. We’ve got to raise money to benefit trans Chicagoans, and Caitlyn Jenner’s going to be a great draw.”
After protesters had a moment to share their reasons for not supporting the choice to have Jenner as a key speaker, the clarification does help in understanding their perspective. As the Daily Mail relays, the group attacked the star for past comments she said during an episode of I Am Cait in regards to those using social services.
Jenner is beyond wealthy and was selected to speak on behalf of the homeless and those struggling to survive. ET shares the comments a protester left on the group’s Facebook page.
“Who, you may ask, did they select to speak on the issues facing trans people and especially trans women in our city? Caitlyn Jenner, who lives in a mansion and has a net worth of millions of dollars, while the average trans person has a 41 percent chance of experiencing homelessness and a nearly 50 percent chance of living off less than $10k per year.”
The group also highlighted, once again, an issue that had been the focus of an I Am Cait episode. Jenner was accused of not doing enough to support the LGBT community. A source who joined Caitlyn at the event relays that the protesters were calm upon Jenner’s entry into the event and that it wasn’t until the luncheon concluded that the action and verbal mud-slinging ensued. Inquiries as to whether or not the clash was staged, for the purpose of airing on I Am Cait, were also responded to by the source.
“We didn’t know Caitlyn was going to talk back to the protesters. None of it was staged.”
It is unfortunate that Jenner is still trying to find her place. It is clear that good intentions were at the core of her appearance.
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Glamour]