Caitlyn Jenner has dealt with her fair share of naysayers, protesters, and haters since coming out as transgender six months ago.
The 66-year-old was thrust into the spotlight and prematurely dubbed a spokesperson for the LGBT community during a time when, after living as a closeted transgender woman for 65 years, she was only beginning to learn about the issues that still plague the community.
She appears in the February/March issue of The Advocate, her second cover since her infamous Vanity Fair shoot, and gave an accompanying interview titled “The Education of Ms. Jenner.”
“The media has kind of labeled me as the spokesperson for the trans community,” she said. “That is not the case. I am only a spokesperson for my own journey. After that, I know nothing. Am I learning a lot? Absolutely. I’m just trying to do my best, that’s all.”
Caitlyn was recently slammed for insinuating trans women should do more to present themselves as feminine as possible, but admits the public response to her views have made her think twice.
“It does take a little bit more work if you do go out. You’ve got to at least look good, at least the best you can,” she said, recognizing her status as both a trans woman and a public figure. “But there’s more to life and womanhood than just that. And those are things I’m learning; I’m trying to read up on it. I’m trying to understand it because it’s all new to me.”
“There’s more to being a woman than hair and makeup. So recently, I’ve been trying to study up on it,” she said, revealing that she’s currently reading How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.
“What I realized, when going through this book, is how my experience is so different than what a normal woman’s would be growing up — that’s obvious. The second chapter was about having your period. OK? I will never deal with that. So there is so much in life that I need to learn about who I am and be authentic with myself. But I never want to assume that this whole thing called womanhood, that I could ever experience all of that. I will be able to live authentically as female, but I’ve missed so much.”
Jenner says she’s proud of her docuseries I Am Cait, but is most focused on her goal of using her power and privilege to improve the lives of transgender people.
“You cannot believe the stories that people have come up and told me over the last four to five months. I mean, unbelievable,” she said. “You cannot believe the people that I have met. It’s in every walk of life, some hiding in the shadows, some not. This is a human condition. It’s not just here in the U.S. It is everywhere.”
“To see that it’s just — it’s gut-wrenching. Suicide rates, murder rates. We’re up to 20 murders [to date in 2015]. The hatred. There’s just so much work to be done. I am certainly the exception to the rule. I am not the rule.”