Caitlyn Jenner may not like everything U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has done so far — especially when it comes to actions affecting transgender Americans like her.
But she does not regret her decision to vote for Donald Trump, she told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday.
“As far as LGBT issues, yes, he’s made some mistakes,” she said. “I don’t support him in everything that he does. But we needed to shake the system up.”
It’s been almost two years since the famed U.S. Olympian came out as transgender in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, revealing she had “the soul of a female.” Weeks later she debuted her new look in a Vanity Fair cover story that was heralded as a watershed moment for transgender visibility.
Jenner opens up on the trials and tribulations of coming out in the public eye in a new memoir, “The Secrets of My Life.”
‘We need to get outside the box’
Jenner was and still is a Republican, despite the party’s anti-LGBT positions. Before the election, Jenner said Trump appeared to be a champion for women and LGBT rights. When Trump famously said people should use “whatever bathroom they feel is appropriate,” including Jenner, she took up his offer to use the women’s restroom in Trump Tower.
Her position evolved when the Trump administration withdrew Obama era guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination in public schools. She called the decision a disaster and urged him — “from one Republican to another” — to fix it.
She still believes Trump is the man “we need to turn this country around,” for better or worse.
“To, you know, to have career politicians constantly, the Clintons, the Bushes, run this country. We need to get outside that box and shake things up again.”
Criticism from her community
Jenner has weathered plenty of criticism for her conservative politics, especially from within the transgender community. She said she could have been a better ally and representative for her community by stating her support for marriage equality on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Instead, she called herself a “traditionalist” and said she did not “quite get it,” drawing rebukes from DeGeneres and others.
“I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes with a lot of things over the last two years. But I’ve tried to learn from those mistakes, I try to a better job next time,” she told CNN.
She said she does not consider herself privileged, noting that she’s worked for everything she has. But she acknowledges her “road to womanhood” has been different than it is for most, transgender or otherwise.
For example, she had gender reassignment surgery. For many transgender people, the cost of surgery, often not covered by insurance, is too expensive a hurdle, and not every transgender person desires such a procedure.
Jenner felt obligated to broach the topic in her book to educate the public.
“I was no more a woman the day before I had the surgery than I was the day after I had the surgery. It’s just the public’s perception is, they think that’s what it’s all about, but it’s not about that. It’s about my soul,” she said.
“My loyalties are with my community and I want to make it better.”
She spends so much time lobbying lawmakers on behalf of LGBT Americans that she’s not writing off a possible run for office.
“Now, I have no more secrets,” she joked. “I would have to look over the next year or two and see, ‘Can I do a better job on the outside?’ or ‘Am I in a position now that I can do a better job for my community on the inside?’ “