Of all the things that came out of the landmark Bruce Jenner interview, the most startling was the late-in-the-show admission that he is a Republican. You could see Diane Sawyer’s face become a twisted confused pile of makeup trying to compute what he was saying, the same confusion she gave repeatedly at the gender versus sexuality discussion she tried “to make clear for America.” Yet, a question: can Bruce Jenner help the Republican party? Can his transition not only validate differing gender identities but also a floundering, seemingly antiquated party? I would think so.
Here’s the thing: the Republican party has a not-stellar track record in terms of LGBTQ acceptance and they are in desperate need of an in with our people. They are very anti gay marriage, putting the community against itself, and are vocal in not wanting to attend our weddings: they don’t like us. While queer children are helping change hearts and minds, there is still a long way to go to make the elephants drink at the waters of reality.
The thought of Jenner as a Republican has a lot of people uneasy, especially queers and Democrats. Why? He could really help them! As he noted in the interview, he would be more than happy to buddy up with Republican figureheads, something that would get them so far in understanding and relating to LGBTQ Americans. Jenner may be old and “dad,” sure, but he is the most sought after queer of the moment: he has an unrivaled cache no other queer has.
The Log Cabin Republicans immediately jumped behind him (Smart!) but word has been virtually mum otherwise in the party. This is a big chance for them to make a move, into the future aligned with someone who “is one of them” but clearly something different. If the party does adopt Jenner, it will again catapult him into another revolutionary role: the transgender savior of a party most young people thought was too prehistoric to change. Now the question is if any of the Republicans running for president will adopt him, making him the most unlikely symbol of the future ever imagined.