Caitlyn Jenner to address Parliament about ‘diversity’—and the internet is perplexed over this choice
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Caitlyn Jenner is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech to the U.K. Parliament on diversity next week, and the internet has a few questions about the white, Trump-supporting transgender woman’s inclusion for the event.
BuzzFeed News reported on Friday that Jenner, 68, will give the keynote lecture on May 9 in the House of Commons for the third-annual annual event hosted by British broadcasting network Channel 4. British actors Riz Ahmed and Idris Elba delivered the keynotes in previous years.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 told BuzzFeed News that Jenner’s lecture will kick off a season of programming “on the topic of gender,” which Channel 4 is calling “Genderquake season.”
Genderquake Season - a series of programmes exploring gender.— Channel 4 (@Channel4) April 30, 2018
Starts Monday 7th May. pic.twitter.com/BNyTC4kcOA
However, despite the effort Channel 4 has made to expand upon gender diversity, specifically for transgender representation, Jenner isn’t exactly known for her activism for trans people, and doesn’t represent trans people in the U.K.
Moreso, Jenner is known critically for her history as a lifelong Republican, even after coming out as trans, and for her support of President Donald Trump. Trump’s administration has continuously attacked protections for transgender people in education, public spaces, and military service.
On Twitter, critics further lambasted Channel 4’s decision to have Jenner speak, citing her lack of support of trans people.
Seriously @Channel4News This Is The Best You Can Do? How About Inviting Donald Trump Next Year to Talk About Women’s Issues and Equality? @BuzzFeedNews @BuzzFeed How About Having Trans Piioneers? Caitlyn Jenner Will Address The UK's Parliament On Diversity https://t.co/0SBPK6MTTO— Meghan Stabler (@MeghanStabler) May 4, 2018
Jenner? Who said the toughest thing about being a woman was 'deciding what to wear'??? Fuck's sake. This isn't diversity. This is reactionary bollocks. https://t.co/b8ScWnvxk5— Kim Revill (@KimRevill) May 4, 2018
Oh good grief! Like there aren’t properly experienced trans advocates for equality and diversity nearer to home? Is she perhaps going to explain her support for the man (Trump) who is persistently trying to force trans Americans out of the public space? https://t.co/NY8eJOd9rc— Christine Burns MBE (@christineburns) May 4, 2018
This is shocking and disgraceful, even in today's climate of Orwellian madness. Jenner is a total abomination: https://t.co/GDH1gJ0Cdh— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) May 4, 2018
When a UK broadcaster can only pick a white, conservative, rich, famous AMERICAN trans celebrity to address the BRITISH Parliament on diversity re transgender issues - that isn't a sign of progress, thats a sign of a problemhttps://t.co/ftLAxiMq1k— shon faye. (@shonfaye) May 4, 2018
Shon Faye, a trans feminist writer, criticized Channel 4’s decision to host Jenner, tweeting that the problem with the reality star’s involvement “is not just about Jenner being completely out of touch with the current toxic conversation in Britain or 95 [percent] of trans people’s experiences. It is that journalists and politicians are seeing us, still, as sensational media objects. Not peers. Or hires.”
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Jenner's life story is as far removed from what British politicians need to be hearing and considering on this "issue" this is a fucking mess. Lol I'm tired.— shon faye. (@shonfaye) May 4, 2018
Wow. Caitlyn Jenner, who said of Trump "I think he would be very good for women's issues." https://t.co/oR1GulekNP— David Shariatmadari (@D_Shariatmadari) May 4, 2018
Do any #trans people actually want Caitlyn Jenner as a spokes person? I know it's not my place to say that she shouldn't be but from my lane there seems to be better spokes people such as Laverne Cox and Ian Harvey! #KeynoteOnDiversity— Pathological Interferer (@wheeliebinns18) May 4, 2018
“The aim of the Channel 4 Diversity Lecture is to raise awareness and stimulate public debate about diversity issues,” a spokesperson for the broadcaster told BuzzFeed News. “Caitlyn Jenner is one of the most high profile transgender people in the world and her transition brought transgender issues into the mainstream, helping to stimulate debate and increase awareness.”
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.