Thursday, March 31 was International Transgender Day of Visibility.
It’s a day for the trans community to be celebrated, where past celebrations focused upon remembering those lost to transphobic violence.
Fox News found a unique way to marr — sorry, “mark” — the occasion.
The network has hired Caitlyn Jenner as a commentator.
On Thursday, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott announced that Caitlyn Jenner has been signed as a contributor.
“Caitlyn’s story is an inspiration to us all,” Scott claimed.
“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,” the statement alleged.
Caitlyn will provide her version of analysis across Fox News platforms, and got her start on Thursday’s Hannity.
“I am humbled by this unique opportunity to speak directly to FOX News Media’s millions of viewers about a range of issues that are important to the American people,” Cait said.
In many ways, this feels like an insult to the transgender community, as the timing is hardly a coincidence.
Generally, if one is making a sincere effort to celebrate a community, one cites a person who is working for that community.
Caitlyn Jenner has made tremendous strides in representing herself as a trans woman, for which she has been applauded.
When it comes to the vast majority of the trans community, however, many have accused her of doing more to impede progress than to help.
Fox News did not hire Jazz Jennings or Nicole Maines or Laverne Cox.
Instead, they sought out Caitlyn, handpicking perhaps the only famous trans person who has spoken out against trans inclusion in sports and schools.
This was not an accident, of course.
Calling Caitlyn a “trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community” is also a bit odd.
One might say that she has ignited a trail behind her, in an effort to prevent others — particularly trans youths, from following in her footsteps.
Cait spent many decades closeted before coming out as her authentic self. Judging from her public statements, she wants to impose that upon others.
Cait was chosen precisely because she has a history of throwing the rest of the LGBTQ+ community under the proverbial bus.
We don’t just mean how, shortly after coming out as trans, she admitted that she opposed marriage equality.
We also mean that she has expressed support for segregated sports — one set of sports for trans students, another for cisgender students.
That’s not just cruel, it’s hypocritical — coming from a woman who has herself participated (appropriately!) in a women’s golf tournament.
The former Olympian should know better than most that the “all trans people are superhuman athletes” hysteria is a cruel lie.
Puberty blockers and estrogen, in particular, kind of do the opposite … which is to say nothing of the fact that discrimination based upon perceived “advantages” is screwed up no matter what.
So why, aside from the general spite and vitriol that embodies Fox News so deeply that it might as well be the network’s slogan, was Cait hired?
We of course cannot speak to actual discussions held in private within the sinister network.
However, we are reminded of Stacey Dash’s short lived but widely shamed career in a similar role.
Stacey Dash is a beautiful former actress, once known for her role on Clueless.
At some point following the 2008 election, she became radicalized and began espousing extreme conservative viewpoints.
From bigoted comments about the trans community to condemning the Obama Administration at every opportunity, she was outspoken in the worst ways.
In 2015, Fox News hired her as a commentator.
There, she was too often used as almost as a prop — a Black woman with a Hollywood career who could provide scathing commentary.
While Fox News advanced a white nationalist agenda while building up to the 2016 election, she helped to give the network a facade of inclusion and diversity.
Obviously, cherrypicking the few members of a minority group who are happy to condemn the rest is not a good faith effort at representation.
But then, it’s hard to imagine if any part of her employment at the network was “good faith.”
When the work was done, Stacey was dismissed … a dismissal that coincided with the inauguration of now-disgraced former president Donald Trump.
Fox News hasn’t exactly moved on from white nationalism — look no further than Laura Ingraham or Tucker Carlson for that content.
However, the network has been aggressively hyping up anti-trans bigotry for over a year now.
In the months after President Biden’s inauguration and the mob of Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol, the right wing propaganda outlet knew that they needed a new angle.
The new narrative, in state legislatures and on Fox News, has been an artificial “panic” over the existence of trans people, particularly trans children.
This took a back seat to white nationalism during the Trump years, in part because the racism angle was working so well to galvanize conservatives.
Another reason was that Trump himself, for all of his innumerable flaws, does not seem to actually dislike trans people, even if he did empower those who do.
This is a tactic aimed at creating a wedge issue during the midterms and, ultimately, during the 2024 Presidential election.
If the network stokes enough fear, it can motivate conservative voters. The latest scapegoat is the trans community.
Clearly, there is a hope that Caitlyn can serve as one of many tools in the GOP arsenal to make trans folks’ lives more difficult and any defense of their rights seem “unreasonable.”
Does Caitlyn realize that this is why she was hired?
We can hardly begin to speculate as to what is going on in her mind.
Maybe she doesn’t care which vulnerable trans people get hurt. Maybe she craves conservative acceptance that she’ll never get. Who knows?
What we do know is that any political pawn is only kept around as long as they are useful.
Stacey Dash was useful until Trump was elected. Then she wasn’t. She alienated many former friends and colleagues, and then the network discarded her.
How long will it be before Caitlyn is no longer a useful mouthpiece? How many friends will she have left by the time that Fox News doesn’t need her anymore?
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