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Caitlyn Jenner criticises Trump for setting back trans rights, warns UK ‘not to go down same road’

Lydia Smith May 10, 2018
Transgender rights advocate and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner delivers a speech during the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon on November 9, 2017. Europe's largest tech event Web Summit is being held at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon from November 6 to November 9. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

(PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Caitlyn Jenner has criticised Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people joining the military in a diversity lecture at the House of Commons.

In her speech on Wednesday, organised by Channel 4, Jenner said the US President had set the trans community back 20 years and urged the UK “not to go down the same road.”

Jenner also defended her decision to deliver the keynote after members of the trans community questioned the former Olympian’s suitability to speak on diversity issues in the UK.

She said she had both a “sense of privilege” but also a “platform” and said she “would never apologise for working hard and being successful.”

“When I came out, the first year was great. Then all of a sudden I got this ‘person of privilege,’” she said.

“I didn’t get it when it came to the trans community, as we have a very marginalised community.

“I didn’t start off being privileged. For years I was living on 10,000 dollars (£7,300) a year, living in a 145 dollar-a-month apartment, driving a 150 dollar 1963 VW Bug, training my butt off and training to make it in life.

“I will never apologise for everything that I’ve been able to do because I have worked very hard for everything.

Caitlyn Jenner
Jenner faced criticism over her decision to deliver the keynote speech (Getty)

“So I’m not going to apologise for working hard and being successful. But what that does is yes, give me a sense of privilege – but it also gives me a platform.

“I always suggest to every trans person out there, everybody has a platform that they can utilise to make it just a little bit better for the next generation coming up.”

Channel 4 had previously defended the decision to select Jenner, saying she is “one of the most transgender people in the world” and “her transition brought transgender issues into the mainstream.”

Trans writer, artist and comedian Shon Faye criticised the move on Twitter, saying Jenner’s life story “is as far removed from what British politicians need to be hearing.”

“When a UK broadcaster can only pick a white, conservative, rich, famous American trans celebrity to address the British Parliament on diversity re transgender issues – that isn’t a sign of progress, that’s a sign of a problem,” Faye wrote.

“It is not just about Jenner being completely out of touch with the current toxic conversation in Britain or 95 percent of trans people’s experiences, it is that journalists and politicians are seeing us, still, as sensational media objects. Not peers. Or hires.

“British trans people are experiencing alarming rates of violence, harassment, discrimination. The suicide and mental health stats are dreadful. One of the only elected trans officers (at a junior level) in UK politics was hounded and bullied by the press at the age of 19.”

More: caitlyn jenner, channel 4, diversity, House of Commons, Politics, Transgender

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