6 Things We Hope Caitlyn Jenner's Upcoming 20/20 Interview Will Address

There's no denying that there has been a heavy amount of controversy following Caitlyn Jenner lately, between her being awarded Woman of the Year by Glamour and her "man in a dress" comment in an interview with TIME. Sometime in 2016, she'll be interviewed by 20/20's Diane Sawyer for the second time since coming out as transgender, and these are the 6 things we hope the interview will address.

1. Why don't you want to be a spokesperson for the trans community?


In Cait's TIME interview, she said, "And I am not a spokesperson for the trans community, I am not. The media kind of projects me as being the spokesperson, but from my standpoint, I am not. I am a spokesperson for my story and that’s all I can tell." 

We get that—nobody wants to feel like they have to be the authority on the marginalized group they belong to. But we're still wondering why Caitlyn might not want to step up to the plate and use her celebrity status to make the public aware of the multitude of issues faced by the transgender community, including increased violence against trans women of color, lack of access to medical needs for lower-income trans people, and employment discrimination

Caitlyn also said during her interview with TIME, "I want to make a positive impact on this community and on the world, open up this conversation [about the transgender community]." 

We agree, and we'd love to see what Caitlyn has to say about using her platform to speak out about these issues. She certainly holds enough media power to get these very real and devastating problems in front of a wide audience.

Related: I Don't Think Caitlyn Jenner Deserved the Woman of the Year Award

2. What did you mean by your "man in a dress" comment?


The transgender community and allies spoke out against Caitlyn immediately after her TIME interview was released. 

Caitlyn said, "I think it’s much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role. So what I call my presentation. I try to take that seriously. I think it puts people at ease. If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable."

Quite a few transgender activists were put off by this comment, because it reinforces an idea that trans people have had forced on them for years—that they have to "pass" in order to be accepted by society. It's problematic even for non-transgender people, as well, because many people who don't identify as trans are also presenting their gender in a very non-binary, androgynous way. 

We're hoping Cait will address it, because although she issued an apology, it would be great to hear her talk about transphobia, and how transphobia shapes the way transgender people live their lives. Again, she could use her platform to address the issues that transphobia and the strict gender binary cause, both for the trans community and beyond. 

3. What do you hope to learn about trans issues this year?


As humans, we're all works in progress, and no matter our identities and the communities we belong to, we can always learn more about what it means to be accepting and inclusive. Caitlyn has said several times that she hopes to "learn more and more." 

We'd like to hear what kinds of stories she hasn't heard yet, and what issues she'd like to know more about. Does she want to delve more deeply into the intersections between mental health and transphobia? Does she want to meet transgender people who are homeless or struggling to find employment? Is she interested in transgender sex workers and the struggles they face? Does she want to learn about sex positivity and body confidence in the trans community?

Like Cait has said herself, "There are a lot of ways of being trans," and we're as interested in those diverse experiences as she is.

4. How can the media better address privilege in the trans community?


Caitlyn talked about privilege in her TIME interview, admitting that she benefits from white privilege along with the privilege of having a higher income and celebrity status. 

Cait said, "Because of my position in life, maybe I can make a bigger and faster change of thinking in the world than someone who doesn’t have a platform."

That's exactly what we want to hear. We hope the interview will address Cait's privilege, and give her time and space to talk about transgender community members who may not benefit from the same privilege. Because she has such a wide-reaching platform, there's a real opportunity to shed media light on the issues faced by other trans people who aren't benefiting from socioeconomic or white privilege. 

We'd love to know what Cait wants to do about that, and what she hopes the media in general will do to cover these topics more often.

5. What can society do to dismantle transphobia and binary gender expectations?


We all know that Caitlyn's comments about passing come from a place of societal transphobia, and she acknowledged this in her apology letter. Given that, we'd love to hear Caitlyn's thoughts about we as a society can do to dismantle problematic ideals about the gender binary that reinforce transphobia—like the idea that women have to wear dresses, while men can't.

When Caitlyn came out, an unfortunate number of media outlets focused on her appearance and her ability to "pass," rather than on her courage or the nuances of coming out as transgender. In this interview, she has the perfect opportunity to address how sexist and transphobic it was for the media to focus on her physical appearance. 

With her platform, Cait could suggest something like a widespread change to using gender-neutral pronouns, dismantling gender stereotypes at a young age, moving to gender-neutral bathrooms, and her voice would be heard. Granted, there would be those who disagree, but we're anxious to hear what Caitlyn thinks.

6. Does she support same-sex marriage?


There was quite a controversy when Caitlyn seemed to imply that she didn't support same-sex marriage, especially from members of the LGBTQ+ community who support transgender rights, such as Ellen DeGeneres. Cait has since clarified what she meant in that situation, too, but it would be interesting to see Diane Sawyer and Caitlyn dive deeper into the issue.

Does Cait support same-sex marriage now because her eyes were opened to a wider variety of struggles after she came out? Has she changed her mind on any other social issues? Has coming out as transgender made her more liberal, or have her political views stayed pretty much the same?

It's definitely a topic we'd be really curious to hear her thoughts on, especially as she becomes more aware of a diverse range of transgender experiences. 


No matter what the 20/20 issue covers, there's one fact that is certain: instead of turning the blame to Caitlyn for any misguided comments, we should think about the systemic societal issues that these comments are coming from. That's not to say we can't hold her accountable for problematic comments she makes, but once she apologizes and finds a place of understanding, we need to turn our attention to the place those comments came from: transphobia. 

Instead of placing the blame entirely on Caitlyn, we need to refocus and think about how we can dismantle discrimination and systemic oppression. Those are the real enemies here, not a woman of celebrity status who is just learning what it means to be a part of the trans community.