AWHS students contemplate continuation of Caitlyn Jenner’s political career after California recall election


Isabella Welter Vazquez

An illustration of Caitlyn Jenner with her signature logo beneath.

Caitlyn Jenner is one of few well-known members of the transgender community. She is a public figure who has been in the limelight for almost 50 years as an Olympic athlete and media personality. Jenner has recently become politically active and uses her existing platform to promote her political career. 

Many voters were surprised to see Jenner running as a Republican in the California recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on September 14, 2021. Many expected her to have little political success, as she is inexperienced in the field. In the end, Jenner received only 1.1 percent of votes in the election against Gov. Newsom. 

Despite this setback, Jenner hasn’t given up on her political aspirations, and is planning on running again in the future. Some AWHS students have noticed that she isn’t being seen as a serious politician.

“I am able to vote now, and I think Caitlyn being a part of the family that she is a part of adds to her reputation, and I don’t know that I would necessarily take her seriously. I think if she were to get elected that would equate to progress on a social scale in terms of electing a transgender woman, which is amazing, but I’m not sure how many people would vote for her as an individual,” said AWHS senior Whitney Fredrickson

Sophomore Will Orenich agrees with Whitney, and adds that a trans woman in power would improve the public’s perception of trans people. Jenner’s reputation and political views, however, make him hesitant to support her. 

“Just because she is a trans woman doesn’t automatically make her a perfect person with perfect views,” Will said.

Will has noticed that, as a former athlete, attention has been drawn to Jenner’s conservative views of fellow transgender athletes. Some of the comments she has made have been viewed as transphobic, and have affected the queer community’s view of her. 

“She has said in an interview that trans girls (male to female) should not participate in female sports because it’s ‘not fair,’ I disagree with that statement because when people transition and take testosterone or estrogen, it changes the way their body works, and their hormones. It does change things like where body weight goes when gained or your muscle mass, meaning that it would not be unfair,” Will said.

Many AWHS students have begun to show more interest in politics and creating a diverse representation. Senior Mal Kim-Price believes having Jenner in office would bring a woman and queer person’s perspective to the table and inform California of the struggles those groups face. 

“The more trans people that are in the media and things, it really helps to kind of break through barriers we may have or misconceptions about those people because… it’s a really hard experience but it’s also really hard to explain to people so it’s really nice to have good media on that,” Mal said. 

Although Jenner has created the Caitlyn Jenner Foundation to promote visibility and eliminate discrimination against trans people, her actions have had harmful consequences for the rest of the queer community. 

“I do wish though, especially for trans people in media, that they understand the importance of their being there and that they don’t act foolishly… because of the lack of them, each one is going to have a microscope on them unfairly,” Mal said.

Junior Morgan Snavely expressed her belief that having a trans person so carefully considered by voters may cause negative consequences for the trans and Queer community as a whole, even if it does bring the needed representation. 

“The trans community would be put into the spotlight more and Republicans and conservatives might put the blame on the trans community if something were to go wrong during Caitlyn’s term,” Morgan said.

Despite possible downsides, Morgan believes there should be a more diverse gubernatorial body. There hasn’t been a California state governor in any minority group based on race, sex, or orientation since Latino Gov. Roumaldo Pacheco’s (R) term ended in 1875. 

“We pride ourselves on being progressive but we still have yet to even have a woman governor,” Morgan said. 

According to CNN, California is one of 19 states in the U.S. that hasn’t elected a female state governor. AWHS sophomore Finn Fleury believes that having a trans woman as governor would make a huge impact on California, but that Jenner’s use of her platform is immature. 

“I just think she could make such a huge impact in the queer community, but instead she has used her platform to harm trans youth and appeal to republican ideals,” Finn said. 

Instead of focusing on improving trans rights, Jenner has directed her attention to immigration, taxes, and COVID-19 regulations. She wishes to continue the building of the wall separating the southern border and Mexico, which was proposed by former President Bill Clinton and continued by former President Donald Trump. 

“Illegal immigration into this state has been such a burden on the taxpayers, on homes, on businesses,” said Jenner in a June 10 interview. 

Although she recognizes the danger COVID-19 poses and encourages others to become vaccinated, Jenner believes mask mandates are restricting California. She hopes to lower taxes, which she also sees as a restriction but could decrease the amount of money state and University of California schools receive from the California Department of Education. To make up for this lack of funds, schools would have to increase tuition, which is one of the most pressing issues for students going off to college. 

Jenner brings a fresh perspective to California politics, but she hasn’t been well received by all – especially the future of voters at AWHS. Although she has the potential to make a difference on behalf of California, many feel that Jenner is limited by her lack of both experience and supporters.