Television Review: I Am Cait
Against everything that I decided previously, I watched the first two episodes of I Am Cait. To preface, this is to – in no way offend or crucify the transgender community, or Caitlyn Jenner for that matter. And before we begin, you should probably read my opinion piece on Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation, here, juuuuust to get a little background on exactly where I stand with everything.
I don’t want any hate mail – and you don’t want these problems…
The series opens with a look into Caitlyn’s current life – introducing her bestie / assistant, giving us a view into her family support system and acceptance into the transgender community. Originally, I didn’t think that the show would have much substance and wrote it off as just another one of Kris Jenner’s plots to take over the world – this time at the expense of real people who deal with transgender issues. I didn’t like that they attempted to turn a very serious situation into a media stunt. I hated the fact that America was focused on Caitlyn Jenner’s wardrobe instead of, what I thought to be, the more important issues.
I was judge-y. I was wrong.
But I wasn’t the only one to have such a negative perception of the show’s potential motives. In fact, the very ones making appearances on the show shared the same sentiment.
Within the first two episodes we were introduced to some very vocal, and key players in the trans community. These women were there solely to familiarize Caitlyn with the more common-folk issues that they face on a daily – ones that Caitlyn would probably never get the chance to experience because of her race and/or socioeconomic status. While this may have seemed like a great idea off rip, it quickly became very uncomfortable to watch; Not because of the topics at hand (I just reminded myself to Google “sex work”), but because a few of the “guides” were extremely combative and judgmental to some of Caitlyn’s views of trans community matters – Trying to shove their views and stances down Caitlyn’s throat as if her opinions were null and making her feel as though she doesn’t hold a stake in this fight.
This was the first time I witnessed, second or third hand, just how sheltered and closed off Caitlyn truly is; and not by choice, but because she’ll never be accepted. The transgender community is already alienated by the world around them for – what they believe to be – living their truest life, and Caitlyn is alienated within the community because her socioeconomic status exempts her from having to deal with some of the undesirable consequences that can come with transitioning.
No, Caitlyn will never have to perform sex-work in order to sponsor her transition.
No, Caitlyn will never have to worry about discrimination in the workplace.
Does this make her feelings or opinions any less valuable when it comes to wanting equal treatment for all?
Caitlyn’s journey to becoming a transgendered woman (please correct me if my terminology is off. I’m still trying to learn more about everything) is her own. She doesn’t owe anything to anyone, and to shame her because her struggle doesn’t meet your standards of what a “struggle” should look like is ludicrous.
As you probably already gathered, I’m not here for the reality show and probably won’t be tuning in to future episodes… Solely because of the hypocrisy of Caitlyn’s appointed community allies – making her feel “less than” because she doesn’t fit the mold of which they think she should be fitting into.
At this point in her life, Caitlyn just wants to stunt on everyone real quick, rocking the hottest outfits and stepping out of the mutha-eff’n Porsche; While the transgender community demands that she becomes their savior…
Can she live?
Ashley Rey is a young, single mom residing in Los Angeles, by way of Detroit. She blogs about her life’s experiences on her personal site, bashinla.com, and is also a contributor for HipHopBattle.com where she writes on topics ranging from racism in America to Hip-Hop “Think” pieces. You can find her on instagram and twitter @bashinla, and keep up with she and her 2-year-old son by watching her weekly recap vlogs on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/bashinlavlog.