Caitlyn Jenner’s primary mentor on her reality show, I Am Cait, said today that “hanging out with her was infuriating” and that she nearly quit the show.
Jenny Boylan, a professor who is one of the most well known transgender thinkers and author of 13 books, reacted to Jenner declaring in an interview with The Advocate that she wants to become “trans ambassador” for President Ted Cruz with a rejoinder on her website.
“No, I wasn’t surprised by Caitlyn Jenner’s expression of support for Ted Cruz,” wrote Boylan. “I heard her say as much hour after hour this fall as I worked on her show. Everyone needs to get their mind around the fact that politically she is, like half the country, a conservative, and the sooner you get your mind around this, the angrier you can be.”
In the very first episode of the second season, which premiers on Sunday, conversation turned toward Republican politics, and Boylan says she can be seen striking Jenner with a rolled-up newspaper — “and not ironically either. I smack her like she is a basset hound that just took a dump on the carpet.”
The Internet seems to have responded similarly to Jenner’s support for Cruz (though it’s not an outright endorsement). Twitter is filled with disappointment and outrage that she'd back someone who opposes trans people at every turn. So, Boylan mostly used her post today to explain why she’s still on the show, divulging she’d actually tried to quit.
“On the second day of filming, I tried to quit the show,” she remembers. “I had a lengthy conversation with the show-runner saying, ‘I just can’t do this. I want to go home.’”
Boylan has helped Jenner from the beginning, playing a large role in the Diane Sawyer special when Jenner came out. And she wound up staying, along with a number of other trans cast members who don’t share Jenner’s politics.
“I stayed in there,” Boylan said. “In part, because on Survivor, (my favorite show), I always get angry when people ‘quit the game,’ as if they really didn’t understand what they were signing on for when they agreed to spend 39 days boiling rice and eating tarantulas.”
Really, she stayed because of hope that things could improve.
“How do we learn to live with people whom we disagree? How do we learn to love each other? How is it possible to communicate with people whom we want to smack with a newspaper?” she wondered. “The question, for me, is not, will Cait become a liberal? There is no operation for that, alas. But she CAN become someone who listens, who opens her heart, who has compassion. And so can I.”