I don’t care about Bruce or Caitlyn Jenner’s genitals. I don’t care if they’re male or female, intersex or no sex at all. It’s her biz, not mine.
I do care about the emotional torture people experience when they have questions about their gender identity or sexuality, especially if they are fragile adolescents, struggling to “fit in.”
I care deeply that their uniqueness is validated, not vilified; that they aren’t subjected to genital exams for competing on the sports team of their choice, or aren’t refused medical care for being trans.
All of those evil actions have been and are presently being practiced by Donald Trump and his supporters regarding Transgender troops in the US Military, and by gay/trans bashing bigots in a growing number of States and communities around the country. Caitlyn Jenner — either when she was Bruce, or now, when she is Caitlyn — has not been a profile in courage or a champion for members of the LGBTQ community either before or after her sex change. In fact, to cement her callousness toward other members of the LGBTQ community, and cravenness for getting attention, Caitlyn has hired former disgraced Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale — who advanced many of the Trump gay/trans bashing policies — to manage her cynical campaign for Governor of California against incumbent Gavin Newsom.
Maybe it’s time for Diane Sawyer and ABC to do another fawning freak-show interview of Caitlyn— like the original one they did in April, 2015, and the sequel in 2017, to follow Jenner’s jaundiced “journey” to her latest race for ratings, and relevance.
I remember being hopeful that the first Jenner interview with Sawyer on ABC-TV would be a true public service and soothe the insecurities of some kid struggling between suicide and self-acceptance.
I hoped Jenner’s tears were real, not the rehearsed ones of a reality-show retread. I wanted her words to be sincere when she said she wasn’t profiting from the soul-searching announcement. I was almost willing to defer to Diane Sawyer’s journalistic integrity to sniff out sincerity, and not serve as a shill for a new sur-reality show starring Jenner’s genitalia.
But alas, we were all scammed by the wonderkind whose glistening grin once graced a box of Wheaties, and by dear Diane — once a shill for Richard Nixon — and now, the carnival barker of a national emotional con game.
The Hollywood Reporter’s story which ran on the same day of the heavily promoted ABC-TV Jenner/Sawyer interview, detailed that Jenner had already inked an agreement with E! Entertainment TV to do an 8-part “docu-series” about her transgender journey. Somehow, “Loose with the Truth Bruce” — as she was previously known — forgot to mention that tiny detail in his two hour heart-to-heart with dear Diane.
Somehow, Sawyer forgot to bring it up as she exuded compassion while staring into soon-to-be Caitlyn’s crocodile-teary eyes. Maybe Sawyer didn’t know; maybe Jenner’s new reality-show deal — being produced by the same two producers who keep shoveling us “Keeping Up With the Kardashians, wasn’t signed until after the show was taped.
Or maybe, just maybe, the bigger deal for ABC was to air the interview — which was a ratings romp over all other programs in that timeslot — by agreeing not to mention that Bruce and E! had a contract in hand as a condition of Jenner not jumping with his interview to a competing network. Surely, Comcast, the owner of BOTH E! and NBC, had to know it’s Entertainment Network had been negotiating a new deal for yet another reality show featuring a Kardashian castoff. Network deals are not done overnight, and Comcast is the type of tightly run company where every deal is carefully scrutinized by its corporate lawyers. The media-freak show monster has to be fed!
For Jenner, it was like winning a Triathalon again. She had a handsome, new contract in hand with E!; her sex-change would be handled as a “docu-series” — a serious reality show, to distinguish it from the Kardashian freak show, or another freakish reality show, like The Apprentice; AND, Jenner escorted dear Diane into a glamorous clothes closet, where the formerly credible former ABC Nightly News Anchor Sawyer swooned over Jenner’s jumpers and proved to be such a sympathetic salesperson for the latest Reality-TV snakeoil. How could the slippery scheme be dismissed as just another extended series of Kardashian classlessness, if it were so subtly sewn into Diane Sawyer’s sophisticated hemline?
ABC got the botox injection of ratings it mainlines, Comcast/NBC/Universal got two hours of free Superbowl-style hype for an upcoming E! reality series starring Jenner’s genitals, and Jenner got….. an Olympic-sized Gold Cup overflowing with money, Diane Sawyer’s sugary sympathy, and a grateful nation of voyeurs turning our lonely eyes to her, once again — minus the box of Wheaties.
Over the past six years, did this new All-American heroine donate a sizeable portion of her TV proceeds to counseling & healthcare services for transgender youth around the world? To the Trevor Foundation? To GLSEN? To fight anti-gay/trans bigots in the GOP? Did she use her new fame and fortune to fund anti-violence campaigns against the LGBTQ community, or at least to educate fellow Republicans about sex, sexuality, gender and equality? Of course not. It was all about her struggle, not yours.
And don’t hold your breath for Jenner, jonesing to be Governor of 40 million of us based upon years of rich Reality-show experience of huckstering, to do any of that now, or become a transformed champion of millions battling discrimination, in 2021. Nothing in Jenner’s past or present says she will. After all, it’s not about you.
Didn’t we learn anything from four years of the Trump freak show which ushered in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary COVID deaths and normalized hate-speech and violence against the LGBTQ community as well as against Jews, Blacks, Mexicans, Asians and immigrants? Why didn’t Jenner use her media connections, money and voice to campaign against hate, during the years of Trump — whom she endorsed for President in 2016?
Why would 40 million Californians — who torched the daily terrorism of Trump, as well as his flagrant failure to make government work except for himself and his criminal cronies — choose another inexperienced, ego-maniacal, freak-show, demi-celebrity to lead us — especially when she’s being funded, advised and guided by the very same people who brought us Trump?
I have never been a big fan of Gavin Newsom’s, but the sick, cynical joke of Jenner’s candidacy has turned me into one.