Justice

Why Caitlyn Jenner Keeps Apologizing

Caitlyn Jenner has ignited a firestorm of criticism over her comments during a recent TIME interview, leading to an apology on her personal blog earlier this week. Responding to condemnation from all corners — from Cosmopolitan's pop culture editor Alex Rees to fallout from many in the LGBTQ community on Twitter — the "I Am Cait" star and former Olympian said, "I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I'm truly sorry."

ALSO: Why This Response To Kylie Jenner's Magazine Shoot Is Going Viral

Why did Caitlyn Jenner apologize?

As a runner-up for the publication's "Person of the Year" short list, the "I Am Cait" star and former Olympian now infamously told the interviewer:

One thing that has always been important for me, and it may seem very self-absorbed or whatever, is first of all your presentation of who you are. I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role. So what I call my presentation. I try to take that seriously. I think it puts people at ease. If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good.

Wow.

Her statement also follows another gaffe that unraveled while speaking with UN Ambassador Samantha Power and generated much condemnation among the LGBT community. And it's no wonder. Her TIME comment mirrors the same language that is often used to belittle, shame, and in some cases, justify violence against people in the transgender community.

The tweet that nails the situation

This was not Jenner's only controversial statement as a media focal point for the trans community. She also expressed doubts about marriage equality on Ellen, and she has suggested to Matt Lauer that "the community" is too hard on those that don't work to respect a trans person's chosen pronouns. Unfortunately, I'm sure that this won't be her last problematic quip either. Why? This tweet, which perfectly describes an element often overlooked in transition, sums it up:

Can we be dismayed at what Jenner says? Sure. These people are:

But should we be surprised? No, because this indicates a misunderstanding of what gender transition is.

People are fundamentally the same after their transition as they were before it, both the good and the bad.

The outward gender presentation, or the face that's shown to the world, may change. But the type of person someone is — how kind they are, their sense of humor, their favorite ice cream — these things don't shift any more during gender transition than they do during the regular course of living. So if Jenner was always a bit brash in interviews, she will continue to be a bit tasteless and overbearing with her opinions. If she was a wealthy, white conservative with a lot of privilege before her transition, she will continue to speak like one as a trans woman, too. We can only hope that once a social conservative isn't always a social conservative because ignoring her, like Slate's associate editor for Outward suggests, isn't an option.

ALSO: This Trans Girl's Before and After Photo Turned into the Best Reddit Q&A