Caitlyn Jenner: "It Was Easier to Come Out as Trans Than Republican"
"I think the Republican Party needs to understand. It needs to know people who are trans."
CLEVELAND, Ohio — It has not been easy on Caitlyn Jenner to be a Republican since coming out a trans, but she stands by her party.
Speaking before a packed crowd at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Wednesday morning, the same week the Republican National Convention is in town, the gold-medal Olympian discussed why she is "really Republican."
"They already nominated Donald last night, so I can't get in the running, but I can make a difference," Jenner said. She went on to clarify she was speaking only for herself, not the trans community, when discussing the GOP.
"I think the Republican Party needs to understand. It needs to know people who are trans," she said to the crowd of conservatives. "I'm here today, since most of you don't know anyone who's trans, to get to know somebody."
Jenner, star of the documentary series on her transition, I Am Cait, talked a little bit about her father, a World War II veteran, when saying she has always been a conservative, but it has not been easy.
"It was easier to come out as trans than Republican," she said to laugher and applause.
Jenner also addressed trans individuals being able to use the bathroom of their gender identity, a hot-button issue that has led to controversial laws in a number of states.
"I haven't used a men's room in a year and a half," Jenner said.
The issue comes down to safety, she explained.
"it just so happens, all the laws that are on the books right now protect people in bathrooms. A guy going into a bathroom, whether he's wearing a Lakers' uniform or a dress, molesting somebody is illegal and we want him prosecuted and put away. What we are talking about here is something a little bit different. I have not had any issues with bathrooms, myself."
She continued, "But the issue isn't about me, it is about the kids. In society today, kids are coming out much younger."
The suicide rate for children who are trans is on the rise, Jenner said, because of all the adversity they have to face.
"Now you're going to tell me the state of North Carolina (recently passed anti-gay legislation) is going to come in and bully you, too; saying you can't live your authentic life, go in this other bathroom. It just doesn't work. It's even more pressure for these kids."
Jenner then went on to mention a number of Republican politicians who have been arrested in the past for "lewd behavior" in a men's bathroom, saying there have been no issues with trans individuals in bathrooms.
"Maybe we should ban Republican representatives at a state level from bathrooms to protect people," Jenner said. "You're creating laws for a non issue. There isn't a problem here."
In closing, Jenner said if GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump were standing in front of her right then, she would tell him: "These are people (trans) who are out there, who have been marginalized for so many years. I know on the voting scale, it's a small community, I totally agree with that, it is a small voting community, but they're out there. We need to deal with them properly. We need to be open about it, because it is about the kids, the next generation growing up. And we have to provide a safe environment for them."