The first look at Caitlyn Jenner’s groundbreaking new show ‘I Am Cait’
Just days after Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself to the world as Vanity Fair‘s July cover star, E! has officially released the first trailer for her upcoming docu-series, I Am Cait — and we couldn’t be more excited to tune in next month.
In the trailer, Jenner discusses the importance of “dealing with” ourselves — whether that means with our genders or otherwise — and her experience learning firsthand about the societal pressures of womanhood. The show looks honest, intimate, and ridiculously inspiring. The significance of I Am Cait is not to be understated: To see a transgender woman treated with both respect and acceptance as the star of a reality show is huge, and it has the potential to help change our cultural dialogue on gender and identity. Even more importantly, Jenner will once again get the opportunity to tell her story and share her journey on her own terms, rather than through speculation or the sensationalized lens of a tabloid.
The tone of I Am Cait is decidedly different from Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and Jenner herself has expressed hopes to gain some distance from her family’s public image. As many have pointed out, Jenner chose to spell Caitlyn with a “C” and not a “K” — a Kardashian staple — which she addressed in her Vanity Fair interview.
“It’s one of the hardest things in life — choosing your own name,” Jenner told Buzz Bissinger. She watched the Miss America pageant searching for ideas, but Caitlyn always stuck out to her. When her assistant suggested it offhand, Jenner knew it was the one. According to Bissinger, “With the name itself set, Jenner went back and forth about how it would be spelled . . . Finally, she decided it was best to break tradition, and the media associations that went with it. She settled on ‘C.’”
Jenner is living her truth, and hers alone, so it’s only fitting that she would want a fresh start with her docu-series.
The title of her new show is a wonderful juxtaposition to her Vanity Fair article (“Call Me Caitlyn”), as well, and feels both confident (“I Am”) and informal (“Cait”) — the perfect complement to how Jenner has shared her journey so far. At the end of the trailer, Jenner expresses her desire to be considered “normal” and to one day “just blend into society,” before proclaiming herself the “new normal.” We can think of few statements as empowering.
As Jenner discussed in her Vanity Fair interview, the goals of the pending show extend far. She hopes that I Am Cait will help bring attention to “rates of suicide and attempted suicide in the transgender community, among other issues.” According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, 41% of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth have attempted suicide in their lives. A report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) estimates more than 72% of anti-LGBTQ+ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women; and an alarming majority of them were trans women of color. While trans visibility is definitely on the rise, we have so much more that we need to do to reverse these heartbreaking numbers. Jenner is committed to helping make that happen.
When Vanity Fair released its July cover on Monday, the focus was immediately on the physical, and many praised Jenner for her cisnormative beauty. But this in itself can be problematic — and it’s important we remember that the attention Jenner’s story is getting is about so much more than normalizing a more diverse idea of physical beauty. (If you haven’t read Laverne Cox’s post on the matter, do so immediately.) Diverse representation in popular media has never been as important; by telling her story on I Am Cait, she has the potential to change (and save) real human lives.
We also might be seeing even more of Jenner on TV soon. According to Variety, Jenner could be featured on Amazon’s Transparent. Jenner has already been invited to set, and creator Jill Soloway hopes to incorporate her story into the show somehow or feature her as an actress.
“I feel like the change in the transgender community has happened because of the lived lives of trans people,” Soloway told Variety at the Brass Ring Awards on Tuesday. “Sometimes I just trip on the fact that [Caitlyn Jenner is] the patriarch of the most famous family on the planet. There’s an international resonance with people recognizing that trans people are people, too.”
“The whole family transitions because everybody’s changing. If one person becomes more authentic, everyone comes to be more authentic. If you’re not being yourself, you can’t have an honest communication with someone who is being themselves. So everyone really grows from it,” she continued. “There’s the glamorous part of being trans, then there’s the reality, which is the trans movement is just starting. It’s still unsafe for trans people to use bathrooms. It’s just beginning and there are miles to go on this life’s journey so hopefully, [Jenner will] get to be a part of the community; and I know she will be because she will be an activist for change.”
If I Am Cait is any indication, we think Soloway is 100% right. Watch the trailer for yourself below, and tune into I Am Cait on E!, Sunday, July 26.
(Images via video)