By Joanna Wagner
LGBT Perspectives TV & Movie Critic
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s difficult to look at I Am Cait outside of the context of the last several months. First there were the rumours swirling around the Internet that Bruce Jenner was transgender and planned to transition. The speculation grew to a crescendo, the final gong, the Diane Sawyer interview, the Vanity Fair cover and interview. With that, Caitlyn and all transgender people were on centre stage. The latest instalment of this continuing drama is the documentary series, I Am Cait.
I had my doubts going into it because of the association with the Kardashian clan, but I’m pleased to say I was wrong. In addition to the expected fluff, there were at least three segments of the show that addressed troubling issues faced by all transitioning people.
The first was family acceptance. The audience hears from Bruce Jenner’s mother. She talks about how proud she was when Bruce won the decathlon in 1976. How tears rolled down her face when the American flag went up behind him; she could not have been prouder. She sees now that she was wrong, that coming out as Catlyn showed greater courage than anything else she had done. She loved her son and now she will love her daughter. It was a very moving moment and hopefully will encourage other parents to support their transgender children.
The second memorable segment revealed a family therapy session The therapist explains the difference between biological sex and gender identity. It was a moment of conciliation for family members and one of education for the estimated 3 million viewers who tuned in Sunday night.
The show took a dark turn as well. There was a tearful moment where Caitlyn speaks to the mother of Kyler, a female to male transgender who like so many others was lost to suicide. She reveals that it wasn’t bullying by his peers that caused his distress, it was the way he was treated by adults.
Then there was the silly Kardashian moment. Kim and Caitlyn are in Cait’s huge wardrobe closet; Caitlyn is giving Imelda Marcos a run for her money in the shoe department. Caitlyn pulls out a Tom Ford dress, Kim says her mom, Kris Jenner, has the same dress. Together they plot how to have Kris and Cait show up for an event in the same designer gown! What fun!
All in all, I Am Cait brightens the favourable light Caitlyn Jenner has brought to transgender people everywhere. The Kardashians and Jenners have stepped outside the box and done a very positive turn for our marginalized.