Caitlyn Jenner, according to a new profile in Variety, has been quietly advocating for transgender rights with Trump administration officials and members of Congress, regularly traveling to Washington DC to change the minds of Republican leaders who have long championed legislation and policies that actively harm transgender Americans.
“Today, I’m very politically involved. Nobody really knows it,” said Jenner, a long-time Republican who voted for Donald Trump. “I do it very quietly because I have been so criticized by the liberal side of the media. I can get more things done if I don’t stick my nose into everything publicly.” (Jenner also spoke at length about her advocacy back in May with Broadly.)
She described what some of that private advocacy has looked like:
She’s held long meetings with members of Trump’s White House and roughly 50 members of the House and Senate—to personally make the case for equality.
She’s patiently endured invasive questions about her body and genitalia, all in an effort to change people’s minds.
She says that these meetings are conducted away from the cameras. “I met with Paul Ryan,” she says. “I’ve met with just about everybody. Publicly, they aren’t supportive of transgender rights.” What do they say to her? “I’ve never had anybody not be nice to my face,” says Jenner, who did not want to elaborate on conversations that were confidential.
Jenner also shared her thoughts about Donald Trump:
Jenner was originally hopeful about Trump, given that he promised to make LGBTQ rights part of his platform. But since taking office, he’s stoked fears by rolling back protections in schools and vowing to ban transgender people from the military. Jenner says her message to Trump, whom she met during the campaign but hasn’t spoken with as president, is simple. “Get over it! I honestly don’t know what happened when he got in there. It was extraordinarily disappointing,” she says.
In February 2017, Jenner lashed out against Trump on Twitter for withdrawing federal guidelines that allowed transgender youths to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity. “From one Republican to another, this is a disaster,” she tweeted. “You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.”
Whether one reads Jenner’s efforts with her fellow Republicans as laudable if naive or more proof that she is remarkably distant from the concerns of most LGBT Americans, what is clear is that she is comfortable in continuing to align herself with a group of people who quite frankly don’t give a shit about trans people, let alone the many issues—from access to health care to affordable housing—that aren’t framed as transgender rights per se but have a disproportionate impact on the community that she claims to be fighting for.
And it seems like she’s not quite willing to give up on Donald Trump. “He’s not been doing a very good job, but it’s not over yet,” she said. Alright!