To say Caitlyn Jenner is a divisive figure would be a massive understatement.
The Olympian-turned reality star-turned trans rights advocate has effectively pissed off those on both ends of the political spectrum since coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015.
In the months after introducing herself as Cait, Jenner was embraced by the trans community and celebrated as the most famous transgender woman on the planet.
Surprisingly, however, Jenner clung to her conservative political beliefs after transitioning, a decision that bewildered and outraged many who had once supoorted her.
Jenner’s support of Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primaries and Donald Trump in the general election created the impression that she has little sympathy for members of the LGBTQ community from less privileged backgrounds.
Through it all, Jenner has stuck to her guns, proving that for better or worse, she is very much a woman who contains multitudes.
Now Cait is embroiled in yet another controversy, this one having to do with a joke she made on Instagram.
Jenner posted the below photo of herself with Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler on Tuesday night.
Her caption for the pic attracted loads of negative attention.
“@iamstevent and I are working on our duet for Dude Looks Like a Lady. One of my favorite songs!” Jenner wrote, in reference to one of the band’s more famous songs.
Many have complained that the post is insensitive and perpetuates negative perceptions of trans women.
Caitlyn appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week, where she clarified that the comment was actually much more than a joke to her, as the song she mentioned helped her through some very trying times:
“I was at a fundraiser in Minneapolis and he was the entertainment. I’m sitting there thinking, I gotta go say hi,” she told Kimmel.
“I go backstage after and I go up to Steven and said, ‘I have had some really tough times in my life and I said for 6 years, every once in a while I would sneak out, get dressed and go sneak out in the dark and drive around,” she continued.
“I said I’d always used to take your song, ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’ and that became my theme song, driving around in my little car with my little CD in there, whipping up the tunes and stuff and I said I just want you to know that made me feel good.”
Asked about Tyler’s reaction to her revelation, Caitlyn replied:
“He loved it! He hugged me and said we have to get together.”
Perhaps Caitlyn’s explanation will soften the criticism against her.
At the very least, it serves to highlight the fact that while we tend to divide the population into groups based on shared traits, each of us is the product of wholly unique experiences.