Women from all walks of life came together at last Saturday’s Women’s March in a massive display of solidarity and resistance all around the globe.
One such protestor was Jennifer Boylan, a long-time trans activist and author who marched with thousands of others in the Women’s March in NYC.
While marching, Boylan used Twitter to send out a message to her friend Caitlyn Jenner, who was noticeably absent from the protest, about the responsibility women have to fight for one another ― even if they identify as conservative.
The video made waves on the internet and some people tried to claim that Boylan was “throwing shade” or “dragging” Jenner. But Boylan told The Huffington Post that the intention was not to come for her friend ― who has previously stated that she is a conservative ― but rather start a larger conversation about what is articulated by Jenner’s decision to attend President Donald Trump’s inauguration and not the Women’s March.
“[Caitlyn has] done many good things for trans people, not only through raising our visibility, but through other things that she’s done in secret that she’s taken no public credit for,” Boylan, who regularly appeared on Jenner’s reality show, “I Am Cait,” told The Huffington Post. “I understand that she is a Republican, as are about half the women in this country and as are about a quarter of its LGBTQ people. I guess I understand that these voters feel that there are more important things than fighting for their individual rights, but of course I wish that they’d change their minds. But being a woman ― like being trans ― doesn’t mean any one thing, and I think it’s in all of our best interests to have a ‘big tent’ approach. As I’ve said before, ‘this dress is big enough for everyone.’”
In Boylan’s eyes, if someone lives their life as a woman ― however they choose to define that term ― then they share a responsibility to fight for the rights of womanhood across the spectrum of identity.
“For me, womanhood means fighting for other women, especially people without privilege, who rely on assistance to get pap smears, and access to contraception, and mammograms, and yes, safe and legal abortion. I know that there are other women who disagree,” Boylan said. “Personally, I think you can be for small government and low taxes and also understand that government can be a force for good. It can, in fact, save people’s lives. And if we are not here to look out for one another, what are we here for exactly?”
Boylan added: “I have my doubts about whether the Republican party will ever change its tune, though ― it feels to me like so much of its core identity for the last quarter century has been about oppressing us. If the party becomes less homophobic and transphobic as a result of Caitlyn’s work ― or anyone’s work, I’ll be delighted. In the meantime, I’m going to keep marching. I wish Caitlyn would march too. As I said in the video, ‘Join me. The water’s fine.’”