“The landmark Bruce Jenner interview that aired Friday addressed the former Olympian’s struggles with coming out as transgender, deconstructed the oft-conflated issues of gender identity and sexual identification and confirmed speculation that has received much attention in the tabloids: that Jenner identifies as a woman.
“A more surprising disclosure to some was that, politically, Jenner leans conservative Republican, saying: “Neither political party has a monopoly on understanding.” Interviewer Diane Sawyer then encouraged Jenner to consult House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about advocating for transgender issues in Congress. Jenner agreed, saying: “I think they would be very receptive.”
“Given that most LGBT people identify as liberal (a July Gallup poll said 21% of LGBT-identifying people are conservative), supporters and advocates may have expected to hear otherwise about Jenner’s political preference.
“One conservative group, the Log Cabin Republicans, was quick to embrace Jenner following the Friday night interview. The group’s national executive director, Gregory T. Angelo, said in a statement: “As the nation’s only organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies, Log Cabin Republicans congratulates Bruce Jenner in the tremendous courage he demonstrated tonight, being true to himself both in terms of his personal identity as well as his political identity. There is a home for you in Log Cabin Republicans – as there is for all lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender conservatives and straight allies.”
“Historically, the GOP hasn’t been the most welcoming to people identifying as transgender. Back in 2013, the former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party, Todd Kincannon, made a series of ill-fated remarks over Twitter regarding transgender rights, saying: “There are people who respect transgender rights. And there are people who think you should all be put in a camp. That’s me.”
“Some in the Republican Party have also been quick to halt progressive legislation concerning transgender folks. CBS Denver reported that, earlier this month, Colorado Senate Republicans axed a bill that would enable people to amend gender listings on their birth certificates without requiring surgery. In January, Kentucky Republican Senator C.B. Embry Jr. proposed a bill that would stop trans-inclusivity in bathrooms, and those who reported a “person of the opposite biological sex” in a stall or bathroom could be given up to $2,500 as a bounty.
Only a day after his groundbreaking interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC, Bruce Jenner agreed to speak to Newslo exclusively. He stated that, although he leans conservative, he has still not reached a decision on who to vote for in 2016.
“It’s not that easy, you know. Well, that’s sort of an understatement. Nothing is easy about me right now,” he said, with a laugh. “I’ve just made the most important confession in my life, and I have to deal with the fact that from now on, I’m probably going to be under the spotlight 24-7.”
He continued: “I really have no idea who to vote for come 2016. On one hand, I feel strongly about Ted Cruz and agree with his conservative views. On the other hand, I feel that Hillary Clinton, although a Democrat, understands America and the world from a very unique perspective. A woman’s perspective. And, you know, that’s a powerful argument, considering what I’ve just revealed about myself.”
“I still have a lot of thinking to do,” he added. “Both of them want the best for this country, I’m sure of it. However, the rights of LGBT people in the US just aren’t what they could potentially be, and that troubles me deeply. My vote will greatly be decided by the level of understanding both of them show for the LGBT community in America.”