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Caitlyn Jenner has remained a controversial figure both inside and outside the LGBTQ community over the past few years. But LGBTQ advocates are upset after paparazzi sexually harassed her while leaving an LGBTQ award ceremony in London.
On May 12, the former Olympian-cum-reality star attended the British LGBT Awards, receiving the “Loud and Proud” award as a transgender woman speaking in the public eye. But as she left the building, a crowd of onlookers began harassing her. Witness Camerson Fallow alleges the problems arose as paparazzi competed with one another to grab a photo.
“One of them shouted, ‘Where’s your dong, fella’ and then they all started punching each other because they were so desperate for a photo,” Fallow told the HuffPost U.K. Fallow’s friend Tess Fair came to a similar conclusion.
“They were addressing Caitlyn as a man, they were trying to get a reaction,” Fair explained.
“Caitlyn kept her cool though and walked to her limo with her head down and security bundled her into the car, but she looked terrified,” the witness said.
Shortly after the incident, the Metropolitan Police were called and informed about the harassment. An official statement from Scotland Yard reveals investigators are currently looking into the case.
“Officers attended and spoke to one of the organizers who alleged that a photographer had verbally abused a woman and a man as they were leaving the event,” Scotland Yard explained in an official statement, according to HuffPost U.K. “No arrests have been made. Enquiries are ongoing.”
Jenner has remained a contentious—and, at times, even despised—figure in LGBTQ activism, in part because of her conservative values, privileged position as an upper-class white woman, and general ignorance on LGBTQ life. But queer and trans advocates turned to social media to denounce Jenner’s treatment on Friday, arguing that every person should respect transgender women’s pronouns and gender identity. Even if they don’t personally like the trans person, or her politics, in question.
here's my crazy idea for the day: you can dislike caitlyn jenner without being transphobic 📝— princess (@millimoon_) May 15, 2017
just bc caitlyn jenner sucks doesn't mean u get to be transphobic towards her— irene (@puertowiccan) May 12, 2017
Just because you think Caitlyn Jenner is a bad person does not mean she deserves transphobic violence and hate speech— no one fucking knows (@floatinglights1) May 15, 2017
But others argued that Jenner’s time in the spotlight robbed attention away from trans women who face even more severe marginalization, like trans women of color.
So Caitlin Jenner can be verbally attack with transphobia and we investigate. Trans BW get murdered and no one gives a fuck?— God herself (@elyseiriss) May 15, 2017
It's a shame that the #BritishLGBTAwards awarded Caitlyn Jenner when she's been against equal marriage and others who have poor history— Joe White (@JoeyWh1te) May 12, 2017
police can investigate when someone shouts trans abuse at Caitlyn Jenner but not when black trans women get murdered— SpookyScarySkeleJen (@JenProuvaire) May 14, 2017
Jenner was also in the U.K. to promote her memoir, The Secrets of My Life. According to LGBTQ Nation, the book has struggled to push sales, with signed copies sitting unsold and the book facing a heavy discount.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.