After announcing her bid for California governor at the end of last month, former athlete Caitlyn Jenner has confirmed the LGBTQ+ community's worst fear: She has no intention of fighting for basic human rights for trans people — including trans kids. On Saturday, a TMZ reporter asked Jenner about her stance on trans students being allowed to compete on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. Her answer? "It just isn't fair."
"This is a question of fairness,” Jenner told the reporter while standing outside of her car. “That's why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls' sports in school. It just isn't fair. And we have to protect girls' sports in our schools."
Jenner doubled down on her words on Twitter the same day. “I didn’t expect to get asked this on my Saturday morning coffee run, but I’m clear about where I stand,” she tweeted, linking to the TMZ article. “It’s an issue of fairness.”
If it wasn't clear before, Jenner's form of "fairness" very much aligns with her conservative platform — and that doesn't include trans rights, despite her own identity as a trans woman. Her comments quickly drew the ire of advocacy organizations, which in the past year have been fighting a surge of legislation that has threatened the outright existence of transgender people in America.
“Here are the facts: @Caitlyn_Jenner is willing to sacrifice the health & well-being of #trans kids to win votes. @GavinNewsom is not. It’s that simple,” Equality California tweeted on Sunday.
Banning trans students from playing on the school sports teams that align with their gender identities is just one of the many crusades that US conservatives have adopted. It's also an issue that Republican talking heads continuously bring up, and it has gained an alarming level of support. In 2020, 17 states introduced legislation banning trans athletes from competing in sports matching their gender identity; Idaho and Mississippi have already adopted this law and are currently facing ACLU lawsuits. Florida resident Donald Trump, an avid anti-trans activist, used some of his stage time at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February to baselessly claim that women’s sports are being “destroyed” by trans athletes.
"Young girls and women are incensed that they are now being forced to compete against those who are biological males,” Trump said. “It's not good for women. It's not good for women's sports, which worked for so long and so hard to get to where they are." He also noted that "If this does not change, women's sports as we know it will die."
President Joe Biden has made strides to reverse some of these discriminatory policies. In February, Biden expressed his support for the Equality Act, which would expand federal civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ people across the country. He also signed an executive order titled Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation during his first day in office.
While Jenner hasn’t proposed any specific plans concerning trans athletes, it’s not a farfetched idea that she could throw her weight behind anti-trans legislation in California should she be elected. But this shouldn't surprise anyone: Caitlyn Jenner has always been, and will always be, dangerous to the future of trans kids in this country.