“What a responsibility I have toward [the transgender] community,” Caitlyn Jenner says at the beginning of I Am Cait, her eight-part docuseries that premiered Sunday night on E!. “I just hope I get it right.”
She was more than right. The first hour of I Am Cait was touching, thought-provoking, and—most important—raw. Yes, this series is about Caitlyn’s personal journey. However, it also details her family’s various stages of acceptance toward her trans identity. It’s not all sunshine and roses. There’s crying, confusion, and even static silence from some members. This whirlwind of emotions is exactly why I Am Cait is necessary programming in 2015. We’re watching a real family, with the best intentions, respond authentically to a new situation. And it’s going to help many people experiencing the same thing.
I Am Cait puts trans issues in the mainstream eye more than ever before. (The former Olympian’s interview with Diane Sawyer is the only pop culture event in recent memory that rivals it.) Caitlyn’s transparency is thrilling to watch, but even more exciting is her eagerness to learn—and help—the trans community. She genuinely cares about using her voice to profoundly affect others. And that’s incredible.
We learned so much about Caitlyn in the first hour of I Am Cait. If you missed it, check out the five best moments from the premiere.
Caitlyn introduces herself to her mom (Esther) and two sisters (Pam and Lisa).Getty Images
This happens at the top of the episode, and you can literally cut the tension with a knife. Dressed in an all-white outfit, Caitlyn’s leg shakes in anticipation before meeting her family. “It’s my mother,” she states in an almost panicked voice. “God!” (In one moving scene, Caitlyn even agonizes over how to sign her mother’s birthday card.) Thankfully, the nervousness dissolves when Pam, Lisa, and Esther embrace Caitlyn with open arms. “You’re gorgeous,” Pam tells Caitlyn, and you know she means it. But it’s not totally perfect. Esther struggles with Caitlyn’s identity at first. “It’s a lot of getting used to,” she says. “But I will.” However, after several conversations with both Caitlyn and a gender counselor, Esther ends the episode (seemingly) 100 percent on board with Caitlyn. “I certainly love her with all my heart,” she says. So tender!
Kylie meets Caitlyn on FaceTime.E!
In true Kardashian fashion, Kylie first catches a glimpse of Caitlyn when she FaceTimes her while “loopy” at the dentist’s office. It’s an awkward exchange at first; Caitlyn considers turning the camera away from her at one point because she doesn’t want to make Kylie uneasy. “You’re not scaring me,” Kylie says. “You look pretty.” Kylie proves her acceptance even more when she pays Caitlyn a visit and gives her a present: blue hair extensions. Very fitting, don’t you think?
Kanye West to Caitlyn: “Whaddup?!”E!
Ugh, instantly iconic. Wearing a big (rare) grin, the first word Kanye says to Caitlyn is: “Whaddup?!” If that’s not epic enough, his rant about Caitlyn revolutionizing the world will give you such life. “I think this is one of the strongest things that have happened in our existence as human beings, that are so controlled by perception,” he says nonsensically (but it makes total sense). “You couldn’t have been up against more.” Kim is in tow, looking fab AF, and determined to make sure Caitlyn’s wardrobe is on point. She scoffs at a blue-striped dress in Caitlyn’s closet and demands she dispose of it immediately. Even more interesting, however, is when Caitlyn finds out ex-wife Kris has the same Tom Ford dress sitting in her closet. Caitlyn gets giddy over the idea of Kris and her wearing the dress at the same time and engaging in a little “Who wore it better?” shenanigans. We’re so here for that.
Caitlyn visits Kyler Prescott’s family.
The beautiful thing about I Am Cait is that it delves deep into the transgender world outside of Caitlyn. (In fact, one could argue the community at large is more essential to I Am Cait than Caitlyn herself.) And this first takes shape when Caitlyn pays a visit to Katherine, Carl, and Chloe Prescott, the family of Kyler, a 14-year-old transgender boy from San Diego who committed suicide in May. Caitlyn is visibly moved by Kyler’s story and has a lengthy conversation with Katherine about what she can do to help. She attends a balloon-releasing ceremony in honor of Kyler at the end of the episode, a symbol (of sorts) that lets the world know she is here to fight alongside her community. “[Suicide] happens all the time,” she says. “It just doesn’t need to happen…. I know how these kids can feel. I’ve had some very dark moments in my life. I have been in my house with a gun and said, ‘Let’s just end it right here.’ That struggle. It’s real, and I’ve been there.” (Another thing we learned from this part? Caitlyn has to change cars three times to evade paparazzi on her way to San Diego. So crazy!)
Caitlyn still worries how some family and friends will react.Splash News
Caitlyn is overwhelmed with support, but she still doesn’t know how her less present family and friends will respond to her. In particular, Caitlyn mentions that Khloe Kardashian expressed support vocally, but still hasn’t visited her. The same goes for her guy friends. How will they take it? “Something else is going on in their head,” Caitlyn muses. Furthermore, Ms. Jenner wonders if the people being supportive to her face are singing the same tune behind her back: “I’m kinda waiting…for mom to go in a quiet time, ‘Oh my God! What’s happening?’” We totally understand her fear, but we’re confident she has nothing to worry about.
What did you think about I Am Cait? Sound off in the comments below.