An open letter to Caitlyn Jenner

Dear Cait,

Even though we’ve never met and we’re not fast friends like you and your “buddy” Diane Sawyer, I feel comfortable calling you Cait because that’s what you said to do on the cover of Vanity Fair.

patti dawn swansson
patti dawn swansson

So, Cait, from one transgender girl to another, here’s the deal…

If you’re serious about spreading the good word on behalf of myself and others in the transgender community, shouldn’t you stop partying long enough to actually spread the good word?

I mean, in accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the tinny, made-for-TV fluff event known as the ESPYs, you, the galaxy’s most glam trans girl, made a breathless vow that you would do everything in your power to “reshape the landscape of how transgender people are viewed and treated.”

An admirable crusade, that. Except you have an odd way of delivering the message.

It has been five days since you took hold of the till to “reshape” the landscape and, based on your activity to date…well, I hesitate to call you an attention-seeking diva with far too much time on your hands, but the rest of the world surely must view us transgender girls as a band of unsmiling, bar-hopping bimbos who flit to and fro about town with a body guard and camerman in tow and a celebrity at each elbow.

(ATTENTION WORLD: That is not what we’re like at all! Honest!)

I would like to tell the rest of the world to pretend that you aren’t really happening, Cait. Trouble is, we can’t ignore you, can we Lady Prance Alot? The media is having a feeding frenzy. They’re pigging out. You have become their all-you-can-eat buffet and they’ve invited us to belly up to the salad bar. Consider some of the headlines since you hopped on your high horse and spurred her into a full gallop:

Caitlyn Jenner Rocks Fierce Black Outfit with Leather Pants—See the Photos!

How True? Caitlyn Jenner is really going to set foot on Dancing with the Stars

Will Caitlyn Jenner and ‘girlfriend’ Candis Cayne share a kiss on new reality show I Am Cait?

EXCLUSIVE: Caitlyn Jenner Has Dinner Date With Naomi Watts In Malibu

Caitlyn Jenner Stuns in a Chic Wrap Dress and Gorgeous Hat (Naturally)

Caitlyn Jenner Has Trouble Walking In Heels: Sinks Into Ground At Racetrack

Caitlyn Jenner wears a plunging leather mini-dress as she leaves gay bar after partying until the early hours

Caitlyn Jenner bonds with Laverne Cox at a Private I Am Cait Screening: Pics

I’m sorry, Cait, but I think you might want to change the blades on the till, because you’re reshaping the transgender landscape like Donald Trump is reshaping personal relations with Latinos and war veterans in his bid for the White House. He’s an ass-clown starring in a Republican presidential wannabe sideshow and you’re a gross misrepresentation of transgender women. At least those I know.

jenner picNot that there’s anything wrong with you adorning yourself in outfits you’re apt to find in a fashion-challenged teenage girl’s closet, or pulling an all-nighter in a gay bar. I sometimes wear short skirts, although the hem is usually closer to my knee caps than my crotch (as much as I hate to sound catty, Cait, if I had your legs I wouldn’t be wearing anything that shed light on those wrinkled, knobby knees). I’ve also been known to pull the odd all-nighter—about 20 years ago!

Am I saying you should start acting your age, Cait? No. Heck, I’ll be 65 in four months, the same age as you, and I’m not sure how 65-year-old women are supposed to act. Age, after all, is just a number, and it should not dictate how we dress or behave. Clearly, you share that sentiment, otherwise you’d be governed by the natterings of a “they say” society that harrumphs and tsk-tsks at the sight of an older woman with a high hemline and late bedtime.

Normally, I would say, “You go, girl!” but you’re a different head of lettuce, party girl Cait.

You have positioned yourself as the great advocate of, and for, the transgender community. We are watching you. Listening to you. Waiting for you to deliver the message of acceptance, which, by the way, is far from original and might come at a cost of $100,000, or more, if an organization hires you to flap your pumped-up lips.

Before closing, I’ll remind you of something else you said the night you accepted the Ashe Award:

For the people out there wondering what this is all about—whether it’s about courage or controversy of publicity—well, I’ll tell you what it’s all about. It’s about what happens from here.”

I don’t pretend to speak for anyone else in the transgender or gay collective, Cait, but I submit that what has happened from there is rather shoddy, and whatever message you had planned to deliver might already be long lost in the funnel cloud of your Kardashianism.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope you can still deliver the goods. But my fear is that you’re just a rich, 65-year-old transgender babe making up for lost time.

That would be such a waste. For you and for the community.


Call Me Patti


9 thoughts on “An open letter to Caitlyn Jenner”

  1. Interesting read. I think personally, she is just settling into her new life. She’s been basically hiding under a rock for all of these years, so I guess I can’t blame her for wanting to let loose a little. She’s enjoying herself for a minute.

    However, if she IS reshaping the trans community, she better start soon…

    1. I think it might already too late for most people to take her seriously. I think she needs a start-over.

  2. I totally get your point. And I agree that she is Karashianing it up. However, part of what I would like to see in the Transgender movement is that the mold is broken on sterotypes. And that makes me feel as though I should sterotype her as a style-mag headline whore, just yet. She doesn’t even know who she is yet. And to have all this glam and fame and paparazzi tailing her tail… I gotta give her a moment or two to whoop it up before I write her off. It’s her life… who am I to tell her how to live it? Anymore than I should tell anyone which gender they should be….

    1. I don’t think I’m stereotyping her. She’s doing a good enough job of that on her own. And, you’re right, we can’t tell her how to live her life. But in setting herself up as the great champion of the transgender community, she has to be aware of how people are viewing her. So far, it’s not a favorable picture. Any publicity, Caitlyn Jenner has brought on herself. She made the choice to come out on TV with Diane Sawyer. She chose to do the Vanity Fair cover and inside spread. She has chosen to do a reality TV show on her life. She has chosen to have a cameraman tail her wherever she goes. She loves the limelight. She loves playing Ms. Dress Up. Of that there is no doubt. At what point does she begin the reshape the landscape?

  3. I am so disappointed in you Patti. All I see is a zealous woman that can’t be happy for another. You do not know Caitlyn (name with respect) so to put her down in the way you are just says to me you are put out another has the attention you so want. If one has nothing nice to say, say nothing at all! Remember that phrase?Maybe this is your way of seeking attention, I am not impressed. You of all people should realize the pain endured through life when feeling you’re in the wrong gender or body. I thought you had a heart. I assume if you had the same platform you would remain hidden I guess. Shame on you!!!! I don’t think you are the perso I thought you to be. Sincerely Christina

    1. I’m very happy for Caitlyn. But until she realizes that being transgender is about who you are, not what you look like, she has no message to deliver. I don’t want her wealth. I don’t want her fame. I don’t want her looks or her wardrobe. I just want her to do what she said she would do: reshape the landscape. You don’t reshape the landscape by being a party girl.

  4. Catty to the nth degree. I’m glad that you found yourself so quickly and without any growing pains. What a cow! Parading her new pride in herself around for the world to see! Jeez! And with THOSE knees!? Gosh.

    1. Sorry, Andy, but you are sadly mistaken. I had serious, serious growing pains. I cannot even attempt to tabulate the amount of tears I have cried due to the nastiness and the horrible treatment I have received since my transition. The suicidal thoughts were intense and very real. I sincerely hope Caitlyn never has to endure what myself and other transgender girls have gone through.

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