Caitlyn Jenner gave a speech at an RNC breakfast meeting explaining why she supports Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Jenner, former Olympic gold-medalist and reality TV star, is one of the most well-known transgender persons in the world. Given that the Democratic Government under President Barack Obama has done more for LGBT rights than any previous government, it may not seem logical that Caitlyn Jenner supports Trump.
Jenner was warmly received at the RNC. Margaret Hoover, the event moderator, suggested that Caitlyn is “the most famous Republican in the world” and then wondered aloud if she is really a Republican. Before responding to that question, Jenner began her speech by qualifying her remarks, saying that she does not represent the transgender population in general, but only herself. Then she described her father, “a real good man” in her words, who had served in the 5th Ranger Battalion.
“… if my dad knew what was going on with this country, when he fought so hard, people died around him, and he’s seeing what’s happening with our country he’d be very disappointed. So, because of that, I feel our best hope to get back to a constitutional government with 18 enumerated powers is in the Republican Party.”
During Caitlyn’s RNC speech, she told the audience that she has been a Republican her entire life. The Republican Party, however, has been a disappointment to her lately because of their attitudes toward the LGBT community. In fact, she claimed that it was easier to come out last year as a transgender than it has been to now come out as a Republican.
“When I came out as being Republican, the community, I get it: the Democratic Party does a better job when it comes to LGBT community, the trans community, all that kind of stuff, and Obama has actually been very good from that standpoint, with just recently letting trans people serve openly in the military. They are already there; finally they can serve openly. I think that’s a very good step for our community for equal rights.”
The purpose of Caitlyn Jenner’s RNC speech was to increase awareness among her fellow Republicans regarding LGBT needs. Jenner told the audience that the Republican Party needs to know people who are trans. She suggested that there are transgendered people in the audience, but that nobody knows that they are trans. And that is why she agreed to come speak to them today, to let them know a member of the transgender community.
“One thing that was really important when I decided to transition and to do this after, at that time after 65 years of struggle, was one that I could make a difference. If I lived my life authentically but then also be in a position with a platform to make a difference in the world. What a great opportunity at my age to be able to do something like that! And that was important to me and so this is part of the process.”
In her RNC speech, Caitlyn Jenner explained that the issue of safety in bathrooms, something that has been arousing debate recently in the context of transgender rights, is not new. She claimed that “the bathroom issue has been used politically for many many many years,” and then described bathroom laws dating back to 1877. Women’s bathrooms were set up in the workplace separate from men’s bathrooms as a way to protect women who were increasingly entering the workplace. Jenner mentioned racially segregated bathrooms that used to exist.
Toward the end of her RNC speech, Hoover asked Caitlyn Jenner what she would tell Donald Trump to help him understand the experience of being trans. Caitlyn responded by talking about how transgendered people thrive once they make the decision to live authentically by coming out. She remarked about how transgendered people have been marginalized, and while they are only a small proportion of the voters, a safe environment must be provided for them.
Montel Williams also spoke at the event. Variety noted how he supported Caitlyn Jenner’s RNC speech, comparing the LGBT struggle to the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s when blacks and whites fought against hate and for equality.
Caitlyn Jenner’s RNC speech is a testament to the ability to support a political party, in this case the Republican Party, without necessarily agreeing with everything about it. The fact that she was invited to the event by the Republican Party shows a willingness to be open and accept diversity within its ranks.
[Photo by Josh Lederman/AP Images]