Equality Advocate Dismisses Caitlyn Jenner as 'Phyllis Schlafly of the Trans Community'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday May 9, 2021
Originally published on May 7, 2021

Caitlyn Jenner
Caitlyn Jenner  (Source:Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, file)

The woman the Washington Post called the "best-known transgender person in the country" may be picking up a new moniker: "The Phyllis Schlafly of the trans community."

So reports The Mercury News, which related how Charlotte Clymer, the director of communications and strategy at Catholics for Choice and a former press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, made the comparison during an appearance on MSNBC.

Clymer's appearance followed Jenner's chat with Sean Hannity on Hannity's Fox News show on May 5, an interview that took place in Jenner's private aircraft hangar.

Clymer told host Joy-Ann Reid, "Every marginalized community has members that work against the equality of that community," and opined that "Caitlyn Jenner is the Phyllis Schlafly of the trans community."

What's meant by that, the article explained, is that "LGBTQ activists don't see Caitlyn Jenner serving as any kind of role model for the trans community," given positions she has outlined, including commenting last weekend that it is "unfair" for transgender female athletes to compete on women and girls' teams, misgendering trans girls by referring to them as "biological boys," and speaking of a need to "protect girls' sports in our schools" - all talking points used by proponents in efforts across the nation to bar female trans athletes from competing.

Jenner reaffirmed those positions in the segment with Hannity, noted UK newspaper The Independent.

Clymer had still harsher comments in store for Jenner, The Mercury News noted. She told Reid that Jenner "has always worked against the LGBTQ equality, she has always worked against our interests. So when we saw her throw trans children under the bus and directly attack trans children in the interview, we were not surprised. This is who she is."

Clymer went on to call Jenner "a hypocrite" for having "told trans journalist Dawn Ennis, on her podcast, that she had no problem with trans children playing on teams that align with their gender identity.

"Caitlyn Jenner has played on women's golf tournaments for God's sake," Clymer added, going on to say, "This is someone who panders.... she is a hateful person who has no problem attacking trans people to build her brand."

Schlafly, who is regarded as an anti-feminist, famously opposed the Equal Rights Amendment and is credited with an instrumental role in derailing the ERA's passage in the 1970s. Britannica.com recalls that the version of the ERA first proposed in 1972 sought to embed "equality of rights under the law" for women, and stated that those rights "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex".

Schlafly also opposed rights for the LGBTQ community and was opposed to abortion. She founded conservative group Eagle Forum, which she headed until her death in 2016.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.