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‘Cait’ is both trashy, touching

New reality show finds Jenner grappling with new life

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Caitlyn Jenner, gay news, Washington Blade
I am Cait, Caitlyn Jenner, gay news, Washington Blade

Caitlyn Jenner is a reality show veteran. It shows on her new E! series ‘I Am Cait.’ (Photo courtesy NBC Universal)

Caitlyn Jenner’s explosive public unveiling as a trans woman has garnered attention from media and the public alike. Was an accompanying reality show anything but inevitable?

On “I Am Cait,” which premiered on E! on Sunday night, Jenner shares her life now — both her perspective in a deeply personal documentation that delivers a serious message about the trans community and a side of juicy reality television.

“I Am Cait”’s pilot episode starts with chronicling Jenner’s mother and sister as they prepare to meet Caitlyn for the first time. Jenner’s anticipation of meeting her mother and sister has her visibly shaken. At 65, Jenner reverts to childlike nervousness as she waits for her mother and sister to arrive.

Moments like this give a deeper insight into Jenner’s struggle with announcing her trans identity to those she loves. Although, some of these moments are serious, there are plenty of humorous instances where Jenner flat-out demonstrates how this is still a new world for her. While playing tennis with her sister, Jenner admits that she now understands why girls have to wear sports bra in one of the funniest moments of the episode. Jenner says that Bruce was a lot better at playing tennis than Caitlyn because now as a woman, running is harder. Her commentary on such matters gives the show levity.

However, “I Am Cait” is not without its trashy reality show moments. Jenner is a seasoned reality show veteran after appearing on 10 seasons of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and she uses the tricks she’s undoubtedly learned from that show to amp up her own series. In a purely contrived attention-seeking move, there’s a scene where Kim Kardashian and Kanye West drop by. West has made it no secret that he does not like appearing on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” forcing his relationship with Kim to be off camera. Yet here, West utters more words than he ever has on a Kardashian-related show to give his support to Jenner saying how heroic she is for being herself. Nicely put, but a clear PR move calculated by Jenner and West.

The highlight of the entire episode is Jenner consistently bringing attention to the trans community’s struggles and hardships particularly for young trans people. Jenner admits, as she sits for her interview segments in perfectly applied makeup with a closet full of designer clothing donated to her by Tom Ford and Diane Von Furstenberg, that many members of the trans community don’t have the platform she does. She expresses the desire to help the trans community however she can by using the public platform and her voice to spread awareness.

Jenner brings attention to the high rates of murder and suicide in the trans community. She even reveals she has had suicidal thoughts herself. She reaches out to family and friends of transgender teen Kyler Prescott who committed suicide. Jenner speaks with Prescott’s mother and friends and attends a memorial service for the teen. This is what will set this series apart from any like it. Jenner’s dedication to letting the trans community be heard that they are hurting, they are dying and they are in need of support and help. It’s a message that isn’t heard in mainstream entertainment and can be a starting point for making headway on an issue that before has been floundering for visibility.

Yes, there are trashy reality show gimmicks. This is E! after all, what else would one expect? Yet there’s also heart, humor and most importantly a difference being made with this show. Yet Jenner’s intelligence and understanding of her privileged position in the trans community make the show far more than part of an entertaining Sunday night lineup for E!.

At the start of the episode, Jenner worries alone in bed talking to the camera about the tremendous responsibility she feels towards the trans community. “I just hope I get it right. I hope I get it right,” Jenner says. “I Am Cait” is a step in the right direction.

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PHOTOS: Capital Pride Festival and Concert

Keke Palmer, Billy Porter among entertainers

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Billy Porter performs at the 2024 Capital Pride Festival on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2024 Capital Pride Festival and Concert was held along Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest D.C. on Sunday, June 9. Performers included Sapphira Cristál, Keke Palmer, Ava Max, Billy Porter and Exposé.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Out & About

Get ready for Baltimore Pride

Events scheduled throughout weekend

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Baltimore Pride Parade (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Baltimore Pride begins this weekend on Friday, June 14 in the heart of the city.

There will be a variety of events, the main ones being Mt. Vernon Pride on June 14 at 2 p.m. on the 200 Block of W. Read St., the Parade and Block Party on Saturday, June 15 at 3 p.m. on N. Charles St., and Pride in the Park on Sunday, June 15 at 3 p.m. at Druid Hill Park.

For more event details, visit Baltimore Pride’s website

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Out & About

New film festival to spotlight LGBTQ docs

DC/DOX held in theaters throughout city

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DC/DOX, a new film festival in Washington D.C., began on Thursday, June 13 at E-Street Cinema, the U.S. Navy Memorial Burke Theatre and Eaton Cinema.

The festival is dedicated to promoting documentary as a leading art form and a series of documentaries on LGBTQ+ stories will premiere, including “Love That Dares Not,” “Sabbath Queen,” and “Familia.” 

For more information, visit DC/DOX’s website.

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