Caitlyn Jenner Apologised For Saying A Trans Woman Shouldn't Look Like "A Man In A Dress"
She said that looking like "a man in a dress" makes people uncomfortable, and that it's easier for trans men and women who look authentic to the "gender role they're playing".
When Caitlyn Jenner was named as number seven in Time magazine's People of the Year, she caused controversy with some of the comments she made in an accompanying interview.
Speaking to Time, Caitlyn revealed that she believes it's "easier" for trans people who look "authentic" as a man or woman.
"One thing that has always been important for me, and it may seem very self-absorbed or whatever, is, first of all, your presentation of who you are. I think it's much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role. So what I call my presentation, I try to take that seriously."
She went on to say that if a trans woman looks "like a man in a dress", it makes others "uncomfortable".
"I think it puts people at ease. If you're out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good. When I go out, as Kim says, you've got to rock it because the paparazzi will be there."
The comments were criticised for reinforcing damaging stereotypes, and disregarding the fact that for many people, freeing themselves of the expectations of society to "play the role" of their gender is the main reason for transitioning.
And many people were unimpressed.
It's not the first time she's focused on physical appearance. Last month she spoke to BuzzFeed about her transition and said the hardest part about being a woman was "deciding what to wear".
But now Caitlyn has written a blog post apologising for the comments she made to Time and saying she still has "so much to learn".
"I said that my appearance is important to me, that I want people to be at ease when they encounter me, and that people are still uncomfortable if a trans person looks like 'a man in a dress.' I think I caused a lot of hurt with this comment, and I'm truly sorry. What I was trying to say is that our world really is still a binary one, and that people who look 'visibly transgender' sometimes can struggle for acceptance and may be treated poorly by others. And while this may be true, it's also something that needs to change."
She went on to acknowledge those who choose not to conform to societal expectations, as well as those who don't have access to medical procedures to change how they look.
Some people look gender non-conforming because they want to look that way – they don't want to conform to society's expectations. Those people have every right to look and present exactly as they choose. And then there are other people who don't have the resources to access the medical procedures that would help them look the way they would like to look. Procedures, incidentally, that most health insurance plans refuse to cover. All of these people are my brothers and my sisters, and I am fighting alongside them, too."
She concluded by saying that she doesn't just care about fashion, makeup, and appearance.
My comments probably made it seem like all I care about is fashion, or makeup, or appearance. I can tell you I really enjoy all of that—it's who I am. It's the world I come from, and as a person in the media I have certain expectations for myself. But I am only one person. There are a lot of ways of being trans. And I want to help create a world in which people are able to express their gender in any way that is true and authentic for them. And most importantly – a world in which how a trans person is treated isn't dependent on how they look."