Caitlyn Jenner has history of giving troubling sound bite.
In the wake of a shooting attack on Republican members of Congress, Jenner “joked” that “liberals can’t even shoot straight.” She once told BuzzFeed that, “the hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.” During the 2016 election she told me that she wanted to be the “trans ambassador” for vehemently anti-LGBTQ politician Ted Cruz.
Take into account her public transition and her connection to the Kardashian family, there’s no deficit of people ready and eager to call her out for commentaries like those.
Though we can’t know for sure Jenner’s intent, her status as a public figure and her habit of saying offensive, inappropriate, and ill-informed things makes life for trans people like me that much harder. She wants to speak for my demographic, and yet, when she opens her mouth, she often tells things I vehemently disagree with.
It’s embarrassing. It’s exhausting.
Also exhausting, however, is the reaction I ensure play out every time Jenner says something problematic.
For every on-point criticism of whatever it is Jenner told, there are waves of people who respond with transphobic comments and “jokes” that misgender her and refer to her by her old name.
It certainly seems as though many people feel that Jenner saying or doing something awful devotes them the green light to let out some general anti-trans feelings on the world even if by accident.
While those sorts of remarks may be directed at her, they send a really unfortunate message to all trans people, implying that being called the correct name and pronoun is a privilege to be “earned” and that they are able subsequently be rescinded in the case of bad behaviour.
Those types of commentaries suggest that the person building them is merely humoring trans people when using our correct pronouns and names instead of taking us at our word when it is necessary to who we are.
The bottom line is this: Calling Caitlyn Jenner a “man” or utilizing her old name doesn’t actually address what stimulates her so objectionable.
There’s a name for this kind of bad argument.
It’s called “ad hominem, ” and it’s basically when someone comes to an argument to insult someone’s character or body as opposed to their ideas. It’s a pretty weak route to make a point, and frankly, it often affects more than the intended target.
So how are you able blame Caitlyn Jenner without being transphobic? Simple: Avoid ad hominem.
After Jenner’s comments about the congressional shooting began circulating, here’s an exchange I saw take place on Twitter 😛 TAGEND
One person posted a link to the recent story about her “liberals can’t even shoot straight” remarks. Out of nowhere, people replied to that tweet calling her a man, saying things about how her “real name” was “Bruce, ” and lots of stuff that had nothing to do with the stupid thing that she actually told .
A better way to answer would be to criticize her remarks as being offensive or inappropriate in the aftermath of the misfortune she was talking about.
What if you only won’t be satisfied unless you are able to cracking a gag? LGBTQ activist Dan Savage pretty much nailed it with his response to her remarks: “The liberal black lesbian married policeman who took out the shooter got the job done.”
Boom. Critical. Funny. Most importantly, not-transphobic .
There’s nothing incorrect with blaming Caitlyn Jenner whether the person doing the criticizing is trans or not.
Just because ad hominem assaults aren’t OK doesn’t mean Jenner gets some sort of “free pass” to say troubling things unchecked. It doesn’t mean she shouldn’t being accountable for her terms or that she shouldn’t be criticized for her views or politics.
If people feel the need to criticize her for her political opinions, her entranced reality Tv life, or her actions, they utterly should do that. Believe me, there is plenty there to address.
There’s only no need to bring transphobia into it.
Clarification 6/20/ 2017: A previous version of this post stated Jenner means well with her remarks; it was updated to reflect that we don’t know her intent .
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