Caitlyn Jenner’s Mom ”More Proud” of Her Today Than at the 1976 Olympics …

27 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘I hope I get it right': Caitlyn Jenner shoulders new duty as I Am Cait debuts.

Fittingly, “I Am Cait” (premiering Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT on E!) opens with the former Bruce Jenner, her ample tresses in huge rollers, at home getting hair-and-makeup treatment as she beholds a giant blowup of her bombshell Vanity Fair cover that followed her April interview with Diane Sawyer. The gold medal-winning Olympian is shown sitting up in bed, dressed in a robe with no make-up, looking anxious and preoccupied. “I feel bad that especially young people are going through such a difficult time in their life,” says Jenner, 65. “We don’t want people dying for this.

And, typical of celeb-reality shows, there isn’t a scene in this first of eight episodes that doesn’t seem stage-managed to push the starry uber-narrative along. Delivered to Jenner’s seaside California compound for their first encounter with her as a woman, they seem refreshingly like regular folks who are genuinely focused on a family member they love and support, never mind all the lights and cameras there to capture every moment. “It’s going to be so difficult for me to think of you as ‘she,’ and say ‘Caitlyn’ when I want to speak with you,” her mother says. “It’s going to take some getting used to, but I want to do what you want.” At the other end of the authenticity scale are stepdaughter Kim Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West.

My mind’s just spinning with thoughts.” Americans will have the chance to reach their own conclusions about these questions with the launch of the E! docu-series. They are seen in a cameo appearance that plays as unintended comic relief, with Kardashian never doffing her floor-length coat (she blames her modesty on her pregnancy, yet it smacks more of, “I don’t show my body except for my own projects”) and with West explaining that his shoelaces are untied because they’re unnecessary since his shoes are really slippers (“the laces are sort of after the fact”). Such interludes undercut the dignity of Jenner’s challenges, and make what she is going through arguably less relatable to an audience that needs to relate. Jenner’s carefully choreographed public rollout as a trans woman – in a Diane Sawyer ABC News interview, then on the cover of Vanity Fair, followed by her first public appearance at the ESPY awards – was denounced by some as a publicity campaign to keep her star in the ascendant. With “Cait,” she will have a weekly pulpit and a guaranteed flock to whom she knows how to deliver her message loud and clear. “The tremendous amount of support that I’ve gotten has been overwhelming, but you also have to realize that it’s not this way for everybody,” she takes pains to point out.

Certainly, Jenner has had it easy compared to many transgender women and men who struggle with extraordinary levels of attempted suicide and violence. More than once, she cites the lack of support from family, friends and outsiders experienced by far too many in the trans community, as well as the high murder rate and many suicides. “People are dying over this issue,” she says. “I feel a tremendous responsibility here, because I have a voice, and there are so many trans people out there who do not have a voice.” At the hour’s end, Jenner heads to San Diego (switching cars twice to lose pursuing paparazzi) to meet with the mother of Kyler Prescott, a transgender teen who took his own life in May. With no problems when it comes to money or access to medical treatment, her experience is light years away from that of so many individuals suffering from gender dysphoria – the sensation that identity and physical form are out of sync. The growing strength of her opinions reflect the learning curve she has been on, exposed as she has been to a steady stream of letters from trans women sharing with her their struggles and hardships.

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