Dear Caitlyn

Content Warning: Suicide Ideation, Transmisogyny

Caitlyn, it’s been over six months since you announced who you really are. While the hoopla over a Olympic gold medalist coming out as trans has not died down, trans women have increasingly been trying to distance ourselves from you.

While I was personally not extremely elated that you came out, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. I knew your personal politics and the media circus would not help my sisters get on with their lives. I had hope though. I thought maybe with you reaching out to people like Jenny Boylan and Janet Mock, you would learn that maybe voting Republican and espousing support of “traditional marriage” isn’t conducive to trans rights.

The Vanity Fair cover came and it sold fast. Trans women were so excited to finally have one of our own in a major feature. A lot of us did our version of the cover, including yours truly which landed me on Cosmopolitan‘s website!

Copyright Alyson McManus 2015
My Vanity Fair cover

Your show debuted and a lot of us tuned in. I watched clips but I couldn’t bring myself to watch the whole thing. Cis people have told me how much they learned about being trans from the show which I guess is a good thing. I’ve felt your entire coming out and existence has been about the cis gaze.

You have won multiple awards this year. I watched your speech at the ESPYs and I did even tear up a bit.

I thought maybe you would start to pay attention to what trans women were saying about you. We all watched the clip where other trans women told you about what their life was like. You seemed stunned but receptive.

So many people have denied you your gender and have insisted on deadnaming you in public. I thought that may spur some change in you. I realize not all trans people are activists, but you are one of the most well known trans people in America now. I shouldn’t have trusted you to change. You thought the mocking Halloween costume was funny and that maybe we should lighten up. Still, I gave you some leeway. After all, you hadn’t been out long and maybe you were just putting up some walls for protection. We’ve all been there.

This week is Trans Awareness Week. Instead of focusing on what it should be about, it seems all everyone can focus on is you winning Glamour’s Women of the Year award. People are divided and a lot of anger has been thrown your way. Apparently, you being trans has brought at least one former recipient out of the woodwork to turn the award back in. You made an off the cuff comment that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, including many trans people. You said the hardest part about being a woman is choosing what to wear. I get it you are a Kardashian and clothes are part of your brand. It reduced trans people to nothing more than clothes.  Rose McGowan took you to task for it. Unfortunately, it came off extremely transantagonistic and mean.

I get tired of cis people controlling the discourse around you specifically Caitlyn. The worst part is you have let them do it because you seem aloof from trans people, other than to further your brand. You charged a lot for people to see you speak on your tour. Trans people are some of the most marginalized in America. A lot of us are underemployed, unemployed, or homeless. I am guessing most of your tour was filled with middle class cis white ladies who can afford these things.

The tipping point though came this week, where you declared you are still voting Republican. How? After Houston, how can you support any of these bigots? All the major candidates for president in your party have consistently went after trans people. Three candidates from your party attended a conference who’s sole point was to talk about why gay people should be killed by the US government. You know that includes you.

Trans Day of Remembrance is on Friday. In America, Caitlyn, we have lost 23 of our sisters to violent murder this year alone. Does that not reach your white tower? How about the number of trans people who have killed themselves this year? So many young people have ended their own life because their families were Republicans.

Caitlyn, I have almost killed myself twice this last month alone over Republican parents who have systematically rejected who I am. My mom loves you but still calls you your deadname. She sees your example that its only about clothes. She literally asked me if I could just wear dresses to gay bars on the weekend and be a “boy” during the week.

This shit is harmful. You voting Republican is not doing what Leelah Alcorn asked. You aren’t changing the future for the better. You are just proving yourself to be another rich person who only cares about herself and the almighty dollar. Voting Republican puts blood on your hands for every one of our sisters killed or who kill themselves. Republicans view us as abominations who want to rape women and children. Where were you for Houston, Caitlyn? I know you will probably never see this but if you do, remember that trans people follow your every move. We know how harmful you have been for us.

If you are feeling suicidal and you are trans or gender nonconforming please reach out.

trans lifeline logo copyright 2015
Please Call 1-877-8860 in the US or 1-877-330-6366 in Canada


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Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

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