This Tweet Points Out the Most Important Thing About 'I Am Cait'
It's hard to make a self-titled reality show be about more than just one person, but Caitlyn Jenner is managing to do just that in the debut of her new E! series "I Am Cait."
If there's one tweet that sums up how important that gesture is, it's this information from Janet Mock, who guest hosted MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry show on Sunday:
At least 11 known transgender women have been killed so far in 2015, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a group that tracks hate violence nationwide. The latest, K.C. Haggard, was stabbed to death last week in Fresno, California. The weight of those issues opened the show with Jenner's straight-to-camera confessional, in which she disclosed her purpose: elevating the struggles transgender Americans face, including high rates of suicide and violence.
"I feel bad that these, especially young people, are going through such a difficult time in their life," Jenner says in the opening moments of the show. "We don't want people dying over this. We don't want people murdered over this stuff."
In the show's hour-long debut, Jenner mixed brutally honest moments with her family — accidentally introducing her transitioned self to daughter Kylie on FaceTime, anxiety around her mother's getting used to her new name -- with moments that shift the conversation to trans people who aren't in the spotlight. She mentions the challenges facing younger trans kids. And she ends the episode by meeting with the family of Kyler Prescott, a 14-year-old transgender boy from the San Diego area, who committed suicide in May.
"It's so hard for young people because they don't see the future," Jenner says after meeting Prescott's family. "Because of that they become extraordinarily desperate."
Jenner's decision to center on other stories from the trans community won tons of praise on Twitter:
Jenner's entire transition has been orchestrated as an educational journey for her, her family and the millions of people watching it all unfold. And that's exactly what Jenner intended for the series. As she said at the ESPYs on July 15, "If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions — go ahead. Because the reality is, I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there coming to terms with who they are, they shouldn't have to take it."