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Genesis P-Orridge
Genesis Breyer P-Orridgevia

Genesis P-Orridge: Caitlyn Jenner is not a spokesperson

The pandrogynous icon has said that Caitlyn fails to address the difficulties faced by less privileged transgender people

When Caitlyn Jenner had the most glamorous coming-out moment of all time via the cover of Vanity Fair, it marked a historical moment for many reasons. Not only did it catapult trans awareness to the mainstream, but it also displayed a huge amount of courage, and set an example of inclusivity in a world still blighted by transphobia.

However, as many rightly pointed out, Caitlyn’s experience as a rich, white American trans person is radically different to the experience of trans people without her celebrity status and situation, particularly trans people of colour from low-income backgrounds, who are much more likely to experience violence and hate crimes based on their identity. 

In an hour-long podcast discussion with Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace, pandrodgynous musician, avant-garde artist and Throbbing Gristle icon Genesis Breyer P-Orridge echoed the idea that Caitlyn Jenner should be careful about referring to herself as a spokesperson for the wider trans community.

“Apparently Caitlyn is already saying things like, ‘It’s so difficult being a woman and having to decide which designer gown to wear when you go out at night’… That’s not being a woman, that’s being a glamorous Hollywood figure and that’s not how it is for most people. There are lots of teenage kids on the streets of New York who are hustling and risking Aids because they need to get money to transition, and they’re prepared to risk their lives because it’s such a deep need, and they don’t have that back-up system.”

“We’re not saying Caitlyn isn’t courageous in terms of the personal experience, but the way it’s being presented by the media could end up being really, really damaging. We actually saw one thing on the news and Caitlyn’s going, ‘I feel like I can be a spokesperson for the transgendered community.’ And later on she says, ‘I actually don’t know any transsexuals.’ What the fuck, she’s going to be spokesperson? She hasn’t got a clue! She’s been living in her own bubble with her own issues, dealing with them, but she doesn’t understand what it’s like for the ladyboys in Bangkok, or the transsexuals in Japan or people in Russia. She doesn’t know! Stop being a spokesperson.”

Genesis, who transitioned in 1993 to become pandrogynous, or non-gender specific, then shared their own perspective on gender identity. “Binary systems are the critical problem, the either/or, the black/white, gay/straight, Christian/Muslim, you name it. Maybe the problem is that we haven’t evolved into a unified being; not male or female but both. The human body is not the person. Identity is the way the brain operates; it’s memories, it’s sensory input and output. The mind is the person.”

Listen to entire podcast below: