Transgender people may be at greater risk in wake of Caitlyn Jenner’s comments about men in dresses

UPDATE: Caitlyn Jenner has issued an apology for her “man in a dress” comment. 

The fallout over Caitlyn Jenner’s controversial comments to Time magazine about “men in dresses”  (see two preceding posts here) is growing. Sadly, so is the reinforcement of that particular transphobic stereotype, as even some trans people seem to be defending her and agreeing with the comment.

It is almost as if Jenner and company have raised the bar and are saying: if you are a trans woman but you look anything like a “man in a dress,” you may be making people feel uncomfortable. So, don’t wear dresses. Slink away. Hide yourself . . .

It’s total nonsense, of course, as I have emphasized in my posts here. Dress to please yourself, no one else. If anyone feels uncomfortable around you, that’s their problem, not yours. You cannot please all the people all the time, as the saying goes. The same goes for cisgender women: dress as thou wilt, and disregard the patriarchy and its vision of how you should look.

But there could be a more serious problem now: the message seemingly sent to Time magazine’s readers and being triumphantly echoed by right-wingers around the world may make many people feel it is OK to be uncomfortable around trans women, and to be less than tolerant. As a result, trans women could find themselves subject to open ridicule  on the Internet and in public.

And the risk of physical attacks on American trans women is surely higher now than it was before the comments were made public.

Whether you believe Jenner’s comments were taken out of context or not, they are still out there, and trans women may be in more danger today as a result.

So, dear trans sisters, be extra careful out there.

— Jillian Page

Related links

Many still see Caitlyn Jenner as a man in a dress

Caitlyn Jenner: More damage inflicted on the transgender community



22 thoughts on “Transgender people may be at greater risk in wake of Caitlyn Jenner’s comments about men in dresses”

  1. As i see this intire issue go on and on. It is nothing more than people paying that jenner person money to say the words they wanna hear and nothing more. Whether it be tottally full blown suporting us trans people to using words against us. I have lived through many. Many. Many asspects of being a trans person. Ending having my opperation in september that completed my transformation to make my body into a TRANS GIRL. i will never call myself a woman. I will never call myself beautiful. I will never say bad things about another trans person. I will say one thing though. Unless they use the highest quality of surgeries. You will forever beable to reconise a Male into Female TRANS GIRL. allong with no matter what way any words say it. Trans people are what ever birth gender we originated from, nothing more than that gender living in our opposite genders clothes. At this point of the cotraversarry of all being said im the Media about us through the words they put as Jenner said. I feel they are now beginning to dammage the trans peoples immages. Yes that is corect. Why because people are fed up with hearing it over and over. I live in a simple working blue collar world. I drive a semi truck. I fix the semi trucks. And i fix the semi trailers. Among opperating many classes of light to heavy duty equipement. Do i give a CARE LESS feeling of how people see me. Not one tiny little bit as i can give a care less how they look or wanna look. It is thier choices to look as they wish. Do i fear of people in society. No. No i do not. Why should i. If you make trouble for yourself you will have trouble. If you do not make trouble for yourself you will never have trouble. So in conclution. If media wants to waste thier money on garbage to write words of one person so let them. Just never foreget. I am one of so many trans people on this earth. Respect me as i will respect you. Cause tgere is no need for any one single person who can speak for anyone but yhemselves. Thank you. Karrie Falon.


  2. Each of us trans females has the right to our own gender identity, our own fashion style, our own politics, our own religion, our own point of view just like any other woman does.

    If a girl wants to look like a man in a dress, that is her right. She can also look like a man or a woman in a men’s Brooks’ Brothers suit. We are who we are.

    I am just a plain jane old gray-haired toothless grandma with liberal and progressive views. I am a retired school teacher who grew up in Hills and on the prairies of the Dakotas and who has lived in and around Native American reservations.

    My mother’s parents were day labor, gold miner, auto worker, field hand immigrants from Norway. And my dad was an Irish orphan train rider as a toddler and he clerked in pool halls, fixed phonographs, bartended, and sold cars.

    These have shaped the kind of woman that I am and my fashion style. I am basically now a stay-at-home granny and parent who likes to wear bright colors and dresses and skirts.

    I have made no physical changes to my body, because I have always put my family first, and I tend to be a people pleaser.

    Caitlyn is who she is and she has the right to be it. Her Republican colleagues will be forced to either accept her or reject her as a woman. She is a Kardashian-Jenner diva and has always been one even when she lived butch as Bruce. Now she just gets to dress and acted like the other divas in her life. Big deal.

    Each person has to stand up and be the person you are. You can be Calamity Jane, Plain Jane, Goethe, Cow Girl, country western, or Mae West and beyond, even RuPaul. As a woman you can be as masculine or as feminine as you please. There will always be people who only see us trans ladies as men in dresses. So what!


  3. The trans community was support and yet the trans community in of its self is possibly more transphobic then cis gendered people, it’s pretty sad and pathetic. Caitlyn Jenner sure needs to learn a few things and possibly re learn other things. But instead if knocking her down let her learn from her mistakes. There will always be haters from non celebrities and from her own peers. Period.


    1. Apparently, she was told about this particular issue and discussed it in her show last season.

      What I am saying, Lana, is there are a lot of trans people who feel that if you look like “a man in a dress,” you are disgracing the transgender community somehow. So, it’s not just her.

      It seems to me to be a very shallow, stereotypical view of how women should present themselves, especially in an era when butch women present very masculine appearances.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup I used to feel the same way. I wrote a post in my blog about being transphobic with in the trans community. My view used to be if you are not super fem and dress the part how can you expect people to accept you as female. But the truth of matter is there are all diff kinds of trans people just like there are diff kinds of cis females. However that being said I do believe male to female or female to male trans people who pass are a little safer then those who don’t pass and might have a harder time. Such as using public bathrooms or what have you.


  4. There is nothing on earth she can say to get support from people. Conservatives will hate her regardless, the trans community is far too hypersensitive to support her, and the allies we have will just listen to the greater community hate on her and form a parallel opinion. She is doomed. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t kill herself in 10 years.

    What a shame. What a disgusting, unsupportive, unrelenting community. If I could lend an ear and a supportive idea or two to her, I would. it’d be much more worthy than tearing her down at every opportunity.


    1. She is very much part of the celebrity culture, so she has a lot of support. I don’t think she cares much what anyone thinks of her. Celebrities have thick skins. All publicity — negative and positive — is welcome for many celebrities.

      There is also a lot of money to be made . . .


      1. I disagree. She has “support” as far as her money gets her. That’s obvious to her. I’d be willing to bet the true support she has is lacking and she knows it. All she has to do is see one of these LGBT articles, or anybody from the right-wing, or read a comments section from nearly anywhere for that matter to see what the public really thinks of her … and it’s surely not pretty.

        And how dare somebody with money transition. That deserves its own scrutiny, right? Why … she should be suffering just like us! At least that’s the gist from many from our community.

        How many of *us* does she have? She has air headed family and friends that support her wealth and notoriety in an environment that is so fascinated by looks (SOCAL) and we want to roast her because she can’t tip toe through the eggshells we lay for her.

        Caitlyn, if you by chance read this: please know I support you. Even if your views and my views do not align, my ear is always open to you – with absolutely no strings attached. Be happy, it’s what we all strive for in the end when it comes down to transitioning. Vis ta vie, cher!


        1. I support her as a trans sister. But since she is a very public advocate for transgender rights and voicing her opinions in such forums as Time, with huge audience reach, she is fair game for opposing opinions. She knew that when she put herself in the limelight, and she is used to that sort of attention.

          You can bet she is happy about the ensuing discussion since Time ran that article. She has got people talking.

          Beside the Kardashians and other celebrity types, Caitlyn has a lot of trans friends in her community. Of course we support her, but as you said, we don’t always agree with her.

          As a columnist, I’m voicing my opinion on one thing she talked about, which I feel has hurt a lot of trans people who might be insecure about their personal presentation, and even more so in light of what a “transgender idol” and spokeperson has said.

          I don’t really care that Caitlyn is wealthy and all that — and I don’t care if she gravitates toward being a glamor girl (incidentally, so do I, by choice). But I do worry about the effects of her comments on trans women who do present a more butchy presentation, even when they wear dresses.

          We should not be judging anyone by their appearance, and we certainly shouldn’t be worried about keeping transphobic people from feeling uncomfortable — in my opinion. A lot of trans people disagree with me, apparently.

          We are all entitled to our opinions.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. i don’t think public opinion is all of her life. we are all alone on this earth in some way, no matter how you adjust the drapes. the chances of cj comminting suicide are basiclly nil i think. she has a core support group which is everything.


  5. There is a difference between transgender and fetish types.Sorry if you out in public with a beard and a dress then you do need to go hide..First off you are not helping the ones that are out and doing this . There are many doing this under the disguise of gender fluid.. I remember when I was one of the first to make a snarky comment about Jenner And all the closet trans went up in arms about it. LOL.. Lets face the facts closet bisexual men dressing “or half dressing ” for their sexual pleasure hurt the trans that are out.. Go check out craigslist and see the hairy men in panties and you will get a clue.. Those are fetish types and are very far from transgender.. I do not care what comments Jenner is making and you may ask yourself why.. The why’s are I been doing this 30 plus years and done the marches lobbied for my right in several state capitols and really do not care about her commentary.. And many of us was doing the state lobbies while the closet people hid under their beds.. And I payed a price for it by losing jobs ect ect.. 200 trans people in a state and only 5 show up to lobby for their rights is pathetic. When you go through that maybe you can figure out the numbers on how many fetish types that have slid under the radar and are hiding under the transgender banner..


  6. I live in one of the most conservative towns in one of the most conservative states (Arizona) in this country. I also happen to work at an Army base where I am surrounded by a higher concentration of dyed in the wool conservatism that I could ever have imagined existed. These people regurgitate Fox news headlines (which plays on every public TV set in the city and the several in my building at work) as if they were gospel. Caitlyn Jenner is certainly a bit ignorant and not the most articulate ultra-famous-millionaire-newbie-trans-person out there, but I can say this, she has changed the conversation in those circles. It is tenuous at best, but I have seen signs of empathy with her story that I was not expecting. I have also seen that empathy begin to wain as she showed up in more and more news stories over the few months since she came out. More than anything, it is the fact that she is being honored and given awards that seems to be working against her and the rest of us, but I don’t see that it has erased the positive momentum just yet.
    At this point though, I am much more worried about the negative backlash coming from our own community. It comes off a like we are throwing Caitlyn to the wolves and aren’t necessarily the nicest people ourselves, so fearful of public sentiment that we sacrifice a person that hasn’t overtly done anything harmful to anybody other than showing her own ignorance. She needs to learn, but if we make her the enemy, how many others are going to feel confident enough to make a stand on our behalf, lest they get their head chopped off by our own community? The way I see it, we need to prop her up more than tear her down, that is how our strength will grow.


  7. Haters will hate. I’ve seen disgusting comments on the Internet long before Caitlyn Jenner and we’ll see disgusting ones long after she’s forgotten. I really don’t think Caitlyn Jenner will materially affect the safety of transgender people even if right-wing nutcases seize on something she said and whip themselves into a two-week frenzy.

    It’s counter-productive to go after Caitlyn Jenner when we really should be going after the really dangerous people like Ben Carson, the evangelical Christians who spread homophobia in Africa and Russia, and the Pope, who continues to rail against transgender people. They are our real enemies. Jenner is just a bit dumb and unguarded when it comes to airing her thoughts.


    1. I’m sure that in Ottawa, where you live, there is little or no increased danger. There probably isn’t any increased danger in the rest of Canada either. But the United States is a whole different story. It is open season on trans people in that country. More people have died from transphobic violence this year than ever before, from what I have heard. The publicity surrounding Ms. Jenner may be directly related to the increase in transphobic violence there, not to mention the increase in legislative attempts to suppress the rights of transgender people — including the books that are read to kids in schools. The whole circus surrounding Ms. Jenner may be fattening her bank account, but it also may be setting transgenderism back a decade or two, and putting more and more people at risk.

      It is not counter-productive to point out that Ms. Jenner is aiding and abetting the conservative cause when she makes transphobic generalizations in an attempt to empower herself — and fatten said bank account. We already go after the right-wing fundamentalists. But Caitlyn is supposed to be representing trans people when, in fact, she may be bringing ridicule on trans people in that country.

      With the ridicule could very well come violence.


      1. Jill,

        Social conservatives in the United States are indeed ratcheting up the anti-trans hatred. And they are the ones we should be fighting. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Caitlyn Jenner has much to do with it. Rather, I think the conservative Right has suffered a bunch of defeats lately: The legalization of same-sex marriage; the upholding of Obamacare and continuing decline in religiosity in many parts of the US. So they are feeling threatened and are lashing out. Don’t forget that many of these people are apocalyptic Christians who really believe that the end-times are upon us and that the world is going to hell; such beliefs do not make for rational discussions of public policy.

        I don’t disagree with you that some of Caitlyn Jenner’s statements are stupid. But plenty of Hollywood celebrities say and do incredibly stupid things without being held responsible for increasing violence against women or Blacks or whatever group they happen to belong to.


  8. Caitlyn, do to her naivety, is coming across as an Arrogant, Condescending, and Abusive person toward the Transgender Group. I am one who finds her an abomination to US Trans people. Just because she is so affluent she can enjoy all the benefits of her position. As I said in other replies, she really needs some serious education, on what being Trans is, or just keep her mouth shut.


  9. I think you’ve reached a point of editorial over reach. Isn’t it hyperbolic to attribute so much power to a single sentence in a 3200 word interview? If Cosmopolitan hadn’t run it would anyone have noticed? I think the original Cosmo article was click-bait. I’ve generated a couple thousand myself by promoting it. I doubt many people outside the TG community have even noticed; it’s a tempest in a tea pot.


    1. It’s being talked about in right-wing circles. See the article I pointed to, and look around on the net. Trans people are a laughingstock in some circle today.

      If I have reached a point of editorial overreach, so have a lot of other people.

      My comments are fair: she is fair game because of her very public persona and opinions. I am entitled to mine as well — as are you.

      Liked by 1 person

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