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She Said, They Said: Caitlyn Jenner Waffles on Her Name and Wows 'Em at the ESPYS

She Said, They Said: Caitlyn Jenner Waffles on Her Name and Wows 'Em at the ESPYS

Caitlyn Jenner is challenged this week to stop "living on both sides of the fence," prepares to face the public, and ultimately, her ex-wife, on the next-to-last episode of I Am Cait.  

Every weekThe Advocate is presenting a look at the moments in each episode that we feel resonate most strongly within the trans community. What you’ll read here are just opinions, not facts.

I’m news editor Dawn Ennis, writing from my experience as a woman assigned male at birth who transitioned in the public eye. To provide variety, I've invited a different trans man to join me each week on what we’re calling “The Advocate’s sofa,” comparing our notes as we watch, for the duration of the season. 

This holiday weekend, I've switched it up to include the Twitterati, folks of all genders, orientations and backgrounds, alongside my own commentary. 

This week, Cait's friend and adviser Jennifer Finney Boylan made another appearance, and viewers had the pleasure of meeting Boylan's intelligent, beautiful and resilient wife, Deirdre ("Deedie"). Cait's mother and sister and her friends Candis Cayne, Jen Richards, and Chandi Moore also returned.

I think most viewers were likely shocked to learn Caitlyn Jenner was still willing to use her old name -- what trans folks often refer to as her "deadname" -- on an application for membership at a country club where she plays golf, and has maintained a locker as "Bruce Jenner" for years. 

Not only was her assistant Ronda left speechless, but her close friend Candis left her no wiggle room, each reminding her there was no going back. Cayne went so far as to tell her she can't be both Bruce and Caitlyn, accusing Jenner of fence-squatting. 

Chandi invited Cait and Candis to witness firsthand the struggle of correcting identity papers that trans people experience, by speaking with some young transitioners, face to face. It was another eye-opening scene thanks to some brave folks who get counseling at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles Center for Trans Youth and Development

Then, Jenner and her assistant got a one-on-one lesson in changing your name. This was a valuable experience to share with viewers who may have no clue how hard, or how important, this step can be. 

Drian Juarez, programming manager at the LGBT Center in Los Angeles, described changing her name as akin to "the day I was born." 

Another highlight, to be sure, was seeing Cait's mother, Esther, and sister, Pam, return for a visit, the night before the ESPYS. Jenner stood in front of a huge gathering of her peers, on live television, to accept the Arthur Ashe award for bravery. Esther was recovering from a fall in which she broke a hip. 

And for the first time we heard and saw Cait talk about that huge moment, in which she came out for the first time as herself. It was just as emotional for me to watch, as it was when I saw her deliver this speech live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

But the scene in which Jenny introduces her friend Cait --  and viewers -- to her wife, Deedie, was perhaps my favorite. Deedie gives voice to those wives and husbands of transgender Americans who struggle with their loved one's transition, a sentiment that my wife, watching with me for the first time, appreciated. Not every trans woman is as lucky as Jenny Boylan. 

That scene set up the moment the series has been promoting for weeks: Kris Jenner met Cait face to face, for the first time since her transition. And Jenner conceded it's been months since they even spoke. 

Next week on The Advocate's sofa, TLGB activist Anthony Barreto-Neto and I will break down the season finale, and the conclusion of this big confrontation between Kris Jenner and her ex-husband, Cait! 

Join the conversation on Twitter @TheAdvocateMag

Watch the clip below in which Jenner insists on filling out an application using her "deadname," Bruce. 

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