Cait goes to class! Caitlyn Jenner recently met with a group of LGBT teens in Brooklyn who criticized the former Olympian for not doing enough for transgender youth.
Students at the Academy for Young Writers in NYC were so outraged with Jenner that they pulled down a photo of the public figure moments before she walked through the school's entrance for the surprise visit, which New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof organized.
"Everyone's patting her on the back like many people have not been transgender before her," one student noted in a roundtable discussion recorded by The Times. Another student named Spencer Washington added, "She's privileged, and she doesn't use her privilege to advocate for those who can't speak for themselves."
But the students sat with the 66-year-old I Am Cait star to hear her out — and share their respective stories.
Washington, 17, shared that he was born a female but has identified as a male since he was a toddler. The teen also revealed that he once attempted suicide, but couldn't execute it because he couldn't properly tie a hangman's knot. Instead, he cried himself to sleep. "I just want to be loved for who I am," Spencer said.
"Maybe this is the reason God put me on this earth, to tell my story, to try to make a difference in the world," Jenner said at one point. "Because this story and this issue — trans, gender identity, nonconforming, whatever it may be — is bigger than what I did back in ’76 and winning the Games. It’s bigger than breaking world records and doing all that kind of stuff. This is about life. This is about life and death. People destroy their lives over what we all kind of deal with."
Washington said in the opening video that he was initially proud of the former Olympian for her accomplishments when she came out as a transgender woman in 2015, but that respect has since waned. He and Jenner, as well as the other students in the classroom, bonded over issues affecting the trans community, including the current anti-LGBT bathroom law imposed by North Carolina.
"Let people pee in peace," Spencer remarked while Jenner noted: "There are three Republicans who have been arrested in men’s bathrooms for lewd behavior. So, you know, maybe we should kind of ban the Republicans from going in there! … Now the state joins in the bullying and the harassment. You will lose lives because of it in our community."
Jenner revealed that the hardest thing about coming out as a woman was dealing with the trans community and their criticism. "For so many years, little Caitlyn has lived inside," Jenner continued. "And Bruce kind of took over the world, and did his thing. It was time to put him inside and let’s let her live, OK?"
Jenner first shared her story in a tell-all interview with Diane Sawyer in April 2015, telling the veteran ABC journalist, "For all intents and purposes, I am a woman." Two months later, she posed on the cover of Vanity Fair as a new woman named Caitlyn. "If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, 'You just blew your entire life,'" she told the magazine.
Us Weekly exclusively revealed this past Wednesday, May 4, that Jenner will next pose nude with her Olympic gold medal on a summer cover of Sports Illustrated.
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