Caitlyn Jenner Apologizes For Controversial Comments In Time

Photo: Steve Eichner/WWD/REX Shutterstock.
Caitlyn Jenner has had quite a learning curve this year. And a fair amount of that, at age 65, has been from the mistakes she's made while coming into her own, and joining a new community — all under the scrutiny of the spotlight. Most recently, Jenner is catching criticism for comments in an interview with Time for the magazine's Person of the Year issue. “I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role," she said. "If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.” It's that "man in a dress" part that's being billed as transphobic. Jenner has addressed the backlash to her comment in a new essay for WhoSay, "Still So Much To Learn." This week a lot of attention was brought to my comments in my TIME interview, in which I said that my appearance is important to me, that I want people to be at ease when they encounter me, and that people are still uncomfortable if a trans person looks like “a man in a dress.” I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I’m truly sorry. What I was trying to say is that our world really is still a binary one, and that people who look "visibly transgender" sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others. And while this may be true, it’s also something that needs to change. Jenner also acknoweldged that some people choose to look gender-nonconforming, and some people don't have the means to pass as one gender or the other. "All of these people are my brothers and my sisters, and I am fighting alongside them, too," she writes. Jenner has been incredibly open-minded and humble in admitting her slip-ups — she freely admits that she doesn't know everything, and does not represent the entire trans community. It's tricky to stand up for a community without speaking for it, and Jenner has navigated those challenges well. She admits her ignorance, chooses to addresses controversial comments, and apologizes to offended parties. Also, she is very, very aware that she still has a lot to learn, and echoed this sentiment in her essay.

My comments probably made it seem like all I care about is fashion, or makeup, or appearance. I can tell you I really enjoy all of that—it’s who I am. It's the world I come from, and as a person in the media I have certain expectations for myself. But I am only one person. There are a lot of ways of being trans. And I want to help create a world in which people are able to express their gender in any way that is true and authentic for them. And most importantly – a world in which how a trans person is treated isn't dependent on how they look.
Jenner concluded by saying she's pretty sure this isn't the last time she will make a mistake like this, which we're also willing to bet on. But we do know that Jenner woman is someone who owns her mistakes — and is willing to learn from them.

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