Any comment on the pop culture scene?
Last week, the internet broke down and polished off an entire bottle of wine after former sports star and sex symbol Bruce Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair dressed in the trappings of his new identity—Caitlyn.
65 year-old Jenner came out last week as “Caitlyn,” confirming longstanding rumors teased at by Kris Jenner and others in the Hollywood realm that Bruce’s true identity wasn’t necessarily as masculine as he had portrayed himself since his rise to sports fame in the ’70s.
As “he” flipped to “she,” political pundits on both sides of the aisle took to the airwaves to give their opinion on sexual identity, traditional vs. evolving gender roles, and how issues involving transgender people relate to the battle of ideologies currently raging over the legalization of same sex marriage.
During an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, presidential candidate and US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) surprised everyone by taking a stand on the issue of Jenner’s admittedly Republican political leanings.
By “took a stand,” I mean he welcomed her into the party. Hat tip to the New York Post:
“If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe, and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I’m into addition. I haven’t walked in her shoes; I don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope he—I hope she—has found peace. I’m a pro-life, traditional marriage kind of guy, but I’m running to be President of the United States. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party.”
Watch, via MSNBC:
Is Caitlyn Jenner welcome in Lindsey Graham’s Republican party? You bet. Does Lindsey Graham have clue one about what Caitlyn Jenner was and is thinking? No way. Does that mean he’s going to toss up a talking point about traditional gender roles? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I surprised myself when my first reaction to this wasn’t to immediately write this off as a pander to the growing number of Republicans who are more inclined to accept (or at least tolerate) an albeit shocking (and maybe confusing) gender-bender. I think Graham is sincere, and I think that because he went on to say that he is pro-life, and pro-traditional marriage. He didn’t fumble the ball like Huckabee and Santorum did, and he didn’t call for Jenner’s rejection, like Limbaugh did. Instead, he dropped the toxic T-bomb (“T” for “Traditional”) as the only caveat to his general belief that if a transgender woman wants to be a Republican, then she’s more than welcome to be a Republican.
Of course, the pundits at MSNBC were quick to relate how shocked they were about Graham’s seeming acceptance of Jenner in all her politically controversial glory—but they did it in the context of look how different he is from his hateful party counterparts!
This is where we have to be careful. Whether you agree with Graham or not on this, it’s important to recognize that he at least gave an answer to a question without sounding like a buffoon. However, he also opened a door; this issue isn’t going to go away, and conservative candidates should expect to be hit with a big, fat comparison stick the next time issues of gender and sexuality hit the news.
Hopefully, they’ll be prepared—I’m not sure I’m ready for another gaffe-riddled cycle perpetuated by a group of candidates who would rather backpedal and obfuscate than simply answer a question.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.