That really sums how I feel.
2015 was the year I came out and went full time. It was the year she did the same. While Caitlyn was giving her coming out interview with Dianne Sawyer, I had just spent that very same month coming out to friends, family, and my employer's HR / Management types. The same day that Caitlyn's Vanity fair cover dropped, I called a meeting with my employees to let them know I was about to go full time.
I've had Caitlyn's shadow over several of my milestone moments, and I've needed to respond to comparisons to her for much of my journey. That alone is draining... While Caitlyn and I have a few things in common, we're very different kinds of women. So the first thing I feel is tired.
After that.... I'm kind of scared of her and how she chooses to use her platform.
I'm scared of a trans woman who says that the hardest thing about being a woman is choosing what to wear. I'm scared of that because it perpetuates the notion that trans women don't understand how women suffer or struggle simply because they are women and I'm scared it because it perpetuates the stereotype that trans women are fetishistic cross dressers who are really all about the clothes.
I'm scared of a trans woman who sees the halloween costume made to mock her and says "I'm not offended, it's okay." I'm scared because she's legitimizing jokes at the expense of trans women and undermining the work of the trans community to say "we're done being reduced to the butt of jokes."
But more than that, I'm scared of a trans woman who has a powerful platform but seems to lack the skill to wield it effectively. We speak so much about the need of people with powerful platforms to use them, but while Caitlyn has a platform that is arguably more powerful than the one she wielded prior to transition, in many ways, she still addresses the needs of the trans community as an outsider, and she holds herself apart from the community. In many ways, while she is like many of us, she doesn't see herself as one of us and that really frightens me.
Caitlyn is learning. I hope she continues to do so. I hope she continues to achieve positive things as she uses her platform. I hope, more than anything, that she's able to live a happy and authentic life.
But part of me can't help but hope she'll take a small step back from the spot light to do some of the learning and growing that her actions make clear she needs to do. I hope that she can then re-engage as a more powerful ally in the fight for trans rights. I hope that one day she'll feel that she really is one of us... because we need her and trans women like her to stand with us, shoulder to shoulder as one of us. And I don't feel like she's there yet.