Delivering ESPY speech was big pressure for Caitlyn Jenner

8 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Delivering ESPY speech was big pressure for Caitlyn Jenner.

Reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner says her ESPY speech was the “biggest pressure thing” she had ever done as she wanted to raise awareness of transgender issues. E! has been teasing the Great Kris Jenner Confrontation of 2015 with such a you-can’t-afford-to-miss-this-episode! frenzy, you’d think that Kris might actually drop by Caitlyn’s place to reveal who really killed JFK.

The penultimate episode of “I Am Cait” is a combination of much that has come before: it is entertaining, silly, sporadically spot-on and painfully obvious in its attempt to construct faux drama. Find out how the former power couple reacted after seeing each other for the first time after Caitlyn’s transition –– and Cait’s surprising decision to identify as Bruce Jenner at the country club. The 65-year-old former Olympian was honoured with the Arthur Ashe courage award earlier this year and said she felt the weight of expectations on her more than it was in the Olympics, reported Female First. Kris opted to keep her distance after Caitlyn came out as a transgender woman, but Cait’s friends don’t necessarily think the momager did anything wrong.

Remember how the appearance of Cait’s ex-wife Kris was featured in the teaser clips for Episode 5, after a tumultuous argument between Cait and her stepdaughters Kim and Khloé? Because it’s so important because I’ve always wanted to keep a good relationship with her because of the kids.” Everyone knows that Caitlyn Jenner loves her some golf, but the reality star struggled with her identity while applying for a new club membership –– despite the fact that she was seeking a legal name change. Presumably we’ll actually see this reunion then, although if the show is renewed for a second season (E! hasn’t said either way), I wouldn’t put it past the network to delay it until then. • Cait renews her country club membership. Surprisingly, Cait decided to stick with Bruce Jenner –– at least at the golf course. “My membership is under Bruce,” Caitlyn explained, later adding, “I’ll worry about the locker rooms later on down the line.

She finds herself squeamish about using her new name since the club is “conservative” and worries about what older women there will think of her presence in the women’s changing room. It’s hard to imagine a less suspenseful cliffhanger than Kris Jenner telling Caitlyn, “Nice shoes!” Granted, it feels a little strange to actually wish for a more suspenseful ending. The stylist Jen Rade shows up to help her figure out what to wear (“This show has exactly the right amount of fashion montages,” my girlfriend noted a couple of weeks back.) Cait delivers the speech to knockout applause and coverage. • As Cait frets about Kris’s not talking to her, Jennifer Finney Boylan shows up with her wife of decades, Deedie. From the very beginning, it has been clear that this thoughtful show isn’t just about Caitlyn—it’s about the transgender stories that don’t often get told.

First, that meant focusing on transgender people who aren’t as privileged as Caitlyn: teenagers who’ve been bullied in school, transgender women who’ve been forced into sex work, activists who’ve been fighting for transgender rights behind the scenes. Though the hype about Kris feels forced, Jenny and Deedie have a nice dynamic on-camera. • Cait and Candis visit Chandi Moore at a transgender youth program Chandi runs at Children’s Hospital. Cait listens to members of the group talk about their troubles with changes in their legal names and in gender — expensive, complicated, and time-consuming procedures that not everyone can manage. Tonight, we got to hear from Jenny Boylan’s partner, Deedie, who reminded us that people who transition get to be giddy and celebrated by friends and family, while their partners are sometimes forced to deal with sadness and confusion all alone. The kids talk about how hard it is to make life work with an ID that doesn’t match who they are, particularly with harassment from the police: “They were laughing at me, saying how much did my implants cost,” one girl says.

As is the show’s habit, Cait then visibly processes this on-camera: “It makes me so sad to see what these kids have gone through,” she says. “It really puts my personal challenges into perspective.” • Cait’s family and her new transgender friends show up for a dinner at her house. And I really hope that Caitlyn and Kris show just as much kindness and empathy for each other as Caitlyn has shown for the wonderful transgender people she has met throughout this show. It’s interesting that this week’s episode seemed determined to test the transgender community’s empathy for Caitlyn, who’s still not aware of the full extent of her privilege. This week, it’s the lead-up to the ESPYs, when Cait discusses not going on the red carpet: “I don’t want to be in the media and be answering stupid questions.” She wants to pop in for her speech, then head back to her hotel room unnoticed. “So all they’ll have is that image of me onstage.” Which is, of course, exactly how it went. Not every transgender woman gets to make her first public appearance at the ESPYs with help from Angelina Jolie’s stylist, Jen Rabe, as Caitlyn does here.

Though I have continuously conflicting feelings about the show, I’ve begun to find it effective how it shows other transgender people, laying out how they’ve suffered, followed by Cait’s visibly processing these new discoveries. It’s not surprising that later, when Caitlyn and her assistant Ronda discuss whether or not Caitlyn should officially change her name, they’re talking about the name she will use on an application for a luxury golf club.

While these moments, like many on the show, are not made for transgender viewers, it is a smart way to try to hook cisgender (that is, non-transgender) viewers into caring about issues they probably would not have been interested in. Candis has to tell her straight up: “You can’t play both sides of the fence anymore.” Still, it’s refreshing when Chandi puts Caitlyn’s problems in perspective. Many of them are harassed by the police when they’re pulled over for traffic violations and forced to show their driver’s licenses, revealing the names their parents gave them. While pre-gaming the ceremony with a round of cocktails, Esther asks Chandi and Candis some personal questions about being transgender, but they know Esther is asking out of love for her daughter, so they answer her patiently and honestly. “For the first half of our lives, our parents teach us,” says Caitlyn’s friend, Zackary. “And then we teach our parents.” Well said.

We get to see highlights from Caitlyn’s speech, including the touching part when she says, “I always wanted my children to be so proud of their dad.” But the most moving scene doesn’t even involve Caitlyn. It comes when Candis gets Chandi a beautiful dress for the ceremony, and Chandi gets choked up, because no one has ever cared about her enough to do something so kind. Deedie reminds Caitlyn that, for the family of the transitioning person, there’s a period of real mourning the loss of your mate or your father or your partner. But Caitlyn doesn’t sound like she’s ready to sympathize with Kris just yet. “Kris can be very strong, very opinionated,” she says to the camera, ready to poison the audience against her ex.

Throughout the season, it has featured the mothers and fathers and siblings of transgender teenagers, all showing unconditional love for their family. As we wait for next week’s finale, hoping that some kind of painful breakdown will make for good television, maybe it’s important to ask: Haven’t we learned anything about being compassionate ourselves?

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