Meet the Trans Woman Challenging Caitlyn Jenner on Her Conservatism
Author and activist Jenny Boylan was on a bus full of trans women, barreling down a highway in the Southwest, when she learned that a high-profile trans rights measure on the November ballot, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, had been voted down.
In Houston and nationwide, the religious right had campaigned fiercely against the anti-discrimination measure, claiming it would allow men to use women’s restrooms. The argument, ludicrous as it may sound, resonated with voters, and 62 percent of them voted against it.
Boylan was on that bus as a cast member of Caitlyn Jenner’s reality show I Am Cait, which in its second season takes the form of a cross-country road trip. In the first episode, which aired Sunday on E!, the cast members have a contentious conversation about HERO, in which Jenner declares — to the horror of the other trans women onboard — that Republicans aren’t standing in the way of gay and trans rights.
Boylan, a board co-chair for GLAAD and a consultant on I Am Cait and Transparent, acts as a kind of a spirit guide for Jenner as she eases into the role of very publicly bringing awareness to the trans community. In this case, perhaps Jenner is bringing awareness to the fact that not all trans people share the same political beliefs.
Boylan tells Rolling Stone she sees Jenner’s political views as frustrating, but not really surprising. “There are people in this country who don’t see their own civil rights as the most important issue on the ballot. For me, it’s pretty important. It’s a matter of life and death,” she says.
As for Jenner’s claim that “every conservative guy out there believes in everybody’s rights,” Boylan says, “I just think that’s delusional.
“To pretend that Republicans and Democrats have been equally supportive of LGBTQ rights, this or any other election year — it’s just plain false.”
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