Caitlyn Jenner met some of her young critics at a high school in Brooklyn, N.Y., recently and seemed to win them over.
Jenner visited Brooklyn's Academy for Young Writers with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. She had expressed an interest in the academy, known for its inclusive attitudes and policies, after reading an article Kristof wrote about it last year, and the Timescaptured her visit on video.
Some students had denounced Jenner as a privileged white person who didn't understand the struggles of most transgender people, and taken issue with her conservative political positions. But when Jenner met with students, she pointed out that her high-profile transition came with its own set of problems.
"I have been exposed to more than you can ever even imagine," she said, "being destroyed in the tabloids to paparazzis following me everywhere, lies about me."
Kristof noted that the students quickly warmed to Jenner, but did note that most trans people don't have to worry about being followed by paparazzi -- but instead must be vigilant of being stalked by potential attackers. "There is a big gap," acknowledged Joshua (pictured, right), a transgender boy who attends the academy. "But by her using her voice to advocate, it's opening doors for people like me."
Spencer (pictured, left), a student who identifies as male but sometimes dresses as female, said the publicity around Jenner's transition helped advance the conversation on gender issues and make the academy even more inclusive and accepting.
The Times live-streamed a portion of Jenner's visit, showing her in front of the school's gender-neutral restroom. During that live coverage, many viewers posted derogatory comments about Jenner's appearance and her identity. They called her "nauseating," "sick and perverse," and a "freak," and some even said she should be killed.
"A lot of the comments were pretty tough to read," Kristof said. "It's clear we have a long way to go, and while America debates bathroom policies, a crisis continues. Nearly half of transgender people will attempt suicide. But at least we're talking."
Watch the video below.