Bruce Jenner doesn't represent transgender community: Toronto activist
Olympian turned reality TV star set to appear in high-profile ABC interview with Diane Sawyer
A Toronto activist says there's "no way" Bruce Jenner represents the experience of being a transgender person, no matter what he says in a high-profile Friday night interview with Diane Sawyer.
Jenner, who became an American hero after winning gold in the decathlon event at the 1976 Montreal Olympics and went on to an acting career in Hollywood, has been the subject of tabloid speculation for months.
Many believe Jenner, now perhaps best known for his role in the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, is in the process of transitioning from male to female, though he has not confirmed that.
There's no way that Bruce Jenner can represent the trans experience.- Rachel Lauren Clark, Trans rights activist
He's expected to make some form of announcement on ABC's 20/20 tonight at 9 p.m. ET, in a two-hour interview with Sawyer titled "Bruce Jenner — The Interview."
"There's no way that Bruce Jenner can represent the trans experience," Rachel Lauren Clark, a Trans rights activist and Pride Toronto board member told CBC Radio's Metro Morning.
Clark — who actually met Jenner when she was a child and said she looked up to him — said while she wants Jenner to get the support he needs, it's frustrating to watch a celebrity dominate the discussion about trans issues.
"It's really disheartening that Bruce Jenner is dominating the media right now about trans issues when there's some real serious things that need to be addressed."
Clark says Jenner is different from most transgender people because he's rich, he can afford whatever medical procedure he'd like and he has a platform to express himself — something coming out as trans is unlikely to change.
By contrast, Clark said the average trans person makes less than $15,000 per year, faces "tremendous discrimination" while applying for work and deal with extremely high levels of depression and suicide.
While Clark admits it's good to have high-profile discussions about the topic — "I certainly would love to have a platform with Diane Sawyer for two hours," she said — she thinks it's likely Bruce Jenner will focus on Bruce Jenner, and not real trans issues.
Clark said she's already concerned about the tone of the ABC interview.
"I love him. I want him to be protected and safe. And I want him to be successful with what he does," Clark said.
"I just don't like the media spectacle around it."