Social media is blowing up today with comments about Caitlyn Jenner’s interview with The Advocate, most of them focusing on her desire to be the “trans ambassador” to her favorite presidential candidate — Ted Cruz.
Jenner, still the conservative Republican she was before publicly transitioning, said she realizes that the candidate is “probably one of the worst ones when it comes to trans issues.” But she likes the senator from Texas because he’s “a great constitutionalist and a very articulate man,” she said, while stopping short of endorsing him. She favors Republicans over Democrats because she thinks Republican free-market economic policies are better for the nation, and she hypothesized about forming a “trans issues board” to help change Cruz’s thinking in that area, should he become president.
As both Cruz and his father, minister Rafael Cruz, are famed for anti-LGBT stances, Jenner’s comments angered some LGBT celebrities and commentators:
Caitlyn Jenner Wants 2 Be A Trans Ambassador For Cruz-would that be before Cruz's dad tries 2 kill us gays or after? https://t.co/yXbnBwPdby
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) March 3, 2016
— Judy Gold (@JewdyGold) March 4, 2016
— Monica Roberts (@TransGriot) March 3, 2016
Doing my best to not send tweets to a woman I respect for her courage, but dang it, @Caitlyn_Jenner you're killing me with Cruz support!
— Chely Wright (@chelywright) March 3, 2016
— Zack Ford (@ZackFord) March 3, 2016
Ford, who covers LGBT issues for ThinkProgress, elaborated in a post for the site, saying that while Jenner has increased the visibility of transgender people, "her insistence on supporting Republicans that are openly hostile to trans rights continues to taint her credibility."
Ford notes that trans people have high rates of poverty and unemployment, and that "the economy isn’t what’s keeping transgender people from finding employment — it’s anti-transgender discrimination." He continues:
“Rather than try to support these transgender people, Cruz has relentlessly attacked them. In one interview, he called protections for transgender students a 'ridiculous' decision made by 'zealots,' explaining, 'I don’t want my daughters taking showers with little boys.'”
Other sites picking up and reacting to the Jenner interview include Gawker, where Rich Juzwiak writes, “Hearing a trans person calling Presidential candidate Ted Cruz 'very nice' is like hearing a seal wax ecstatic about her new shark buddy.”
Jenner's faith in capitalism, he adds, "sounds about as idealistic as convincing Ted Cruz that trans people are people too, or to at least stop spouting his hateful bullshit."
Several other outlets presented Jenner's statements as straight news, without commentary, including People and CNN. The latter sought comment from Cruz campaign officials but had not received a response by this afternoon.
As for Cruz, he's continuing to engage in anti-LGBT rhetoric. Speaking last week to the National Religious Broadcasters' convention, he claimed that last year's Supreme Court marriage equality ruling means that the federal government would threaten the licenses of radio and TV stations on which religious activists speak against same-sex marriage. That has no basis in fact; Right Wing Watch, which shared a clip of Cruz's talk, points out that he "simply made it up." Watch below.