RuPaul, a famous drag queen, was selected as their very first Viva Glam MAC AIDS fund spokesperson, which in 1994 was extremely progressive and daring. Even though race relations in the US are not really any different now than they were back in 1994, the fact that a black openly gay male made famous for impersonating a woman was chosen to be the face of a campaign created by the most popular cosmetics brand in the US was a big deal!
Fast forward to 2016, where we all live in the Kardashian/Jenner matrix whether we want to or not!! Not long ago(cue time travel music) a very young Kim Kardashian did a sex tape with a dude named Ray J (younger brother to Brandy, star of hit sitcom Moesha), Chris Jenner aka the white female version of Don Magic Wand and Kim’s mom turns the tape and Kim into a super star celebrity, brokering that celebrity into a family reality show, clothing stores, endorsement deals, perfume, apps, magazine covers, superstar celebrity status for the rest of the children and one seemingly frustrated Bruce, former husband of Chris aka Don Magic Wand.
Watching the early episodes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians(yes I am very ashamed), one could easily tell that Bruce really wasn’t sold on the whole “let’s sell our souls to become even richer and more famous” mantra that Chris was mastering. He always seemed to be on the opposite side of the fence when it came to Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe, and especially his own girls Kendall and Kylie. He seemed to always represent the tiny bit of “normalcy” for the family until 2015.
Bruce a celebrated Olympian married to Chris aka Don Magic Wand decided he was gonna shock the world at 65 years old and do the unthinkable, transition into a woman! Bruce Jenner, the epitome of white male privilege, was gonna become Caitlyn.
Now I have had the privilege of being close friends with quite a few transgender women. I have also worked with several either as coworkers and/or clients. I have witnessed first hand the discrimination that they face on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. I have seen the nasty looks, heard the loud whispers, and out right disrespectful comments made to my friends, coworkers, and clients to their face. I have also heard the stories of how difficult is it for my friends to obtain simple life necessities like housing, work, bank accounts, good customer service, a cab, etc…Let’s not even talk about dating because that is a whole other can of worms!! Simply put, my friends coworkers, and clients have all had ridiculously challenging lives that some of us would literally not be able to live through. Let’s take Laverne Cox for example.
I am sure Laverne Cox’s journey was/is pretty similar to my trans women coworkers etc…mainly because like them, she transitioned from being a black male(enemy number one/lowest on the western hierarchy of human beings, shot at daily or imprisoned) to a gender often ignored, misunderstood and disrespected by the majority of society. The assumption is that Cox overcame many obstacles to get where she is today which is an excellent actress and brave and eloquent spokesperson for the transgender community.
While Caitlyn Jenner did transition, I cannot help but ask if her struggle was as difficult? I would be a fool to think that she did not benefit from revenue generated by her wife Chris and her Kardashian/Jenner family and brand. I would also be a fool to not consider all of the endorsements, money from photos, and television show offers that would come her way.
Transitioning from one gender to another is no easy task, but taking everything that I know as a super inquisitive person that has asked my trans women friends every question imaginable I cannot help but question if choosing Caitlyn Jenner was the best choice to represent a whole entire population of people who more than likely don’t have anything remotely in common with her besides being transgender? Either way, I am pleased that MAC cosmetics has created a special initiative for the transgender community specifically. I just cannot help but wonder if their was someone better for the job of being Spokesperson.