“I have a lot to learn,” Caitlyn Jenner says in the second episode of I Am Cait. And that perfectly sums up the latest installment in the E! docuseries. Ms. Jenner’s transgender peers check her white, affluent privilege several times in the episode. It’s uncomfortable, yes, but extremely necessary.
This latest chapter in I Am Cait echoes the sentiments we said last week. The show does address Caitlyn’s more superficial issues like hair and fashion woes, but—more important—it gives marginalized trans women a substantial voice on a national platform. This has never been done before.
“The Road Trip: Part 1” was deep, nuanced, and incredibly fascinating. If you missed the episode, check out these five need-to-know moments. (Chandi is about to become your new best friend.)
Caitlyn is obsessed with changing her voice.
Are Caitlyn and Candis an item?
This might be the work of show editors, but viewers get the idea there’s a mutual attraction between Caitlyn and her new friend Candis. Caitlyn’s bestie Ronda Kamihira notes that Caitlyn blushes whenever she brings up Candis. But is that enough for ~*LoVe? “Candis is a beautiful woman,” Caitlyn says. “But as far as dating in the future, I have absolutely no idea.” Hmmm, not a yes—but not technically a no, either. Guess we’ll have to wait and see!
Malika tells Caitlyn she has to eat like a girl now.E!
We’re not sure how we feel about this. Caitlyn asks Kim and Malika for “being a girl” advice because they’re both feminine. Malika then serves some bizarre tip about how Caitlyn has to watch the way she eats now—meaning, if she wants to grub hard on a rack of babyback ribs, she will have to do it in private. We say screw those social norms! Caitlyn can still rock a dress and enjoy a messy steak if she wants to, damn it!
Caitlyn doesn’t want to wear a swimsuit…yet.
Caitlyn and her new friends head to San Francisco to chat with transgender folks at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—BTW, Caitlyn didn’t even know what HRC was, but more on that later—and they stay in this gorgeous mountain house with a hot tub. One night, Caitlyn’s trans girlfriends slip into their bathing suits and hit the jacuzzi, but Caitlyn doesn’t join them. Why? Because she’s not ready for that step quite yet. She dubbed the swimsuit issue one of many “hurdles to overcome,” and that “it’s ’gonna take time” to get there. We’re sure she’ll be sporting a string bikini in no time.
Chandi and the other girls check Caitlyn’s privilege.Vanity Fair
Several times throughout the episode, it becomes very clear Caitlyn doesn’t know much about the trans community. One of Caitlyn’s friends, LGBT activist Jenny Boylan, takes issue with Caitlyn’s obsession with looks and her notion that trans “womanhood is a party” without struggles. Chandi, a transgender woman of color, scoffs at Cait for thinking she knows anything about trans prostitution issues because she “read a couple pages” in Janet Mock’s book. (Janet is a famous trans woman who confessed she did sex work to pay for her transition.) The group also doesn’t appreciate Caitlyn’s opinion that some trans women may be abusing government assistance so they don’t have to work. This all comes to a climax at the group’s HRC meeting. Several trans women tell Caitlyn they’ve been advocating for the community for years, but no one wanted to listen. They claim people are now paying attention to Caitlyn because of her race and socioeconomic status. For that reason, she needs to address more than changing her voice and wearing a cute dress.