On Thursday, Fox News announced that Caitlyn Jenner, the Gold medal-winning Olympian turned reality star, would be joining the network as a contributor.
“Caitlyn’s story is an inspiration to us all,” said Suzanne Scott, Fox News Media chief executive. “She is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community and her illustrious career spans a variety of fields that will be a tremendous asset for our audience.”
However, the news was not greeted so enthusiastically by many on the right, who denounced Fox’s decision as pandering to progressives and the LGBT lobby.
“I’m embarrassed for my friends at Fox News,” wrote Blaze host Elijah Schaffer.
“NO. Roger Ailes was a trailblazer,” added the conservative commentator Michelle Malkin. “Caitlyn Jenner is yet another sick, twisted joke promoted by clown media in this clown country.”
“Fox didn’t hire “Caitlyn” Jenner because she is a brilliant and astute political analyst who happens to be a trans,” weighed in journalist Jon Miller. “That would be bad enough. They hired her [because] they needed a drag queen and who better to open up the trough to an incoming conga line of moral reprobates?”
Such vitriol is not just uncalled for but misses the point entirely. Whatever one’s views as to whether transgenderism equates to a mental illness do not impact Jenner’s ability to weigh in on the many other substantive issues facing America and the world as a whole.
Even if transgenderism is a mental disorder, that alone is not a justification for her exclusion. Would those same people seek to prevent people with other illnesses such as Aspergers or bipolar disorder from getting high-paid jobs? Yet most important of all, Jenner is a human being and therefore deserves the same right of access and opportunity as anyone. For those who talk about judging people by their character rather than their inherent characteristics, to say Jenner shouldn’t appear on Fox because of her identification smacks of at best intolerance, and at worst outright bigotry.
Jenner identifies as a conservative, and as someone with decades of experience in sport, entertainment, and showbusiness, can surely provide interesting insights for Fox’s audience. Her status as a transgender icon should indeed be viewed as a positive; her appeal as an LGBT trailblazer may well help her reach the other side on important issues such as men competing in female sports and the increasing sexualization of school-age children.
Fox’s move to hire Jenner does not eradicate the many burning questions around the transgender movement and its ever-powerful lobby. The existence of trans people, whether justified or not, is not going away. Yet there are still many battles that can and must be won. As possibly the most famous transgender person in the world, Caitlyn Jenner is perfectly positioned to help us win them.