According to Caitlyn Jenner, coming out as transgender hasn’t been nearly as difficult as coming out as a conservative. In a speech at the University of Pennsylvania Wednesday, the former Olympic legend answered a student who asked why Jenner was not a Democrat.
“I have gotten more flak for being a conservative Republican than I have for being trans,” Jenner said.
And indeed, Jenner is not wrong. While Christians have more than their share of concerns about turning transgenderism into a valid lifestyle choice, conservative media has largely taken the high road when it comes to Bruce’s shocking transformation. Yes, there are issues when it comes to promoting people like Jenner as role models and heroes. Yes, there are cultural questions that may only be answered by the passing of time. Yes, there are side-issues to be discussed regarding our nation’s obsession with sensation and reality TV. Yes to all of this. But for the most part, the reaction was mostly, “Hey…whatever.”
In the mainstream media, of course, Jenner was celebrated as a pioneer. But even in the midst of all the adulation, there was that thorny sticking point, stemming from Jenner’s coming-out interview with Diane Sawyer last April. Sawyer brought up the fact that President Obama had become the first president to ever publicly use the word “transgender” in his 2015 State of the Union address.
“Did you cheer the president?” Sawyer asked.
“I will certainly give him credit for that,” Jenner said. “But not to get political, I’ve just never been a big fan. I’m kind of more on the conservative side.”
“Are you Republican?” Sawyer asked.
“Yeah,” Jenner replied. “Is that a bad thing? I believe in the Constitution.”
Later, in an episode of the reality show “I Am Cait,” Jenner was told that transgender people are often homeless and unemployed. Jenner, responding to the issue, said, “A lot of times they can make more not working with social programs than they actually can with an entry-level job. You don’t want people to get totally dependent on it. That’s when they get in trouble – ‘Why should I work? I got a few bucks, I got my room paid for.'”
To even talk this much about the political leanings of the one-time Bruce Jenner is probably giving the whole situation much more thought than it’s worth. But this is about more than one celebrity’s strange transition from male to female. This is about a mainstream culture that is so vicious against conservatism that they will even turn against the biggest transgender star of all time. There is exactly zero room for ideological diversity in their world.