After an emotional first night in the ‘I’m A Celeb’ Jungle, former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner opens up about her transition as a trans woman. After being voted to participate with fellow co-star Kate Garroway to participate in the season’s first bushtucker trial, Jenner was left shaken from the event and began to doubt if she was cut-out for the emotionally and physically demanding nature of the show. After spending the day being suspended a locked box in the air filled with 50,000 insects and rats in attempts to win meals for her camp, the star admitted later that night in the confessional hut that her head was “spinning”.
In the confessional, Jenner wondered if participating in I’m A Celeb was the right thing to do at this time in her life, emotionally confessing; “I’m trying to figure out whether I’m doing the right thing. I’m thinking; you’re 70 years old now, is being here the right way to use my time. Should I be home playing with my kids, playing with grandchildren? I mean, I’ve never quit at anything I’ve ever done, [but] I’m standing here and thinking, ‘Maybe it’s time that you learned how to do that.’”
Her concerns and worries are ones that many celebrities on the show have faced time and time again, the poor living conditions of sleeping on the Jungle floor on empty stomachs usually adding fuel to the emotional fire. While creating good television, it often leaves participants feeling distressed, particularly towards the beginning of the competition. However, as dawn broke across the camp, Jenner seemed to be more hopeful, and she began to discuss her experiences as a trans woman to her fellow campmates who eagerly listened with honesty and humour.
— I'm A Celebrity… (@imacelebrity) November 19, 2019
Caitlyn confessed that she thought she would have transitioned before she was 40 years of saying; “I didn’t want to be an old chick, but this is the latter 80s, and I never felt like I fit in anywhere.”
She said she “cross-dressed” while she was trying to figure out her identity often going out around town and driving around without ever arousing suspicion from those around her.
Caitlyn recounted one incident where she was almost outed with humour saying “I had, at that time, a turbo Porsche and it was like the day before Halloween and this car pulled up beside me and it’s my next-door neighbour.” When asked by campmate James Haskell how she managed to explain her way out of the situation Jenner merely laughed; “I said I was going to a Halloween party!”
Many people praised Jenner’s ability to speak candidly about her transition on such a large platform with John Barrowman, actor and former I’m A Celebrity contestant, praising her willingness to speak about her experiences as a trans woman. Barrowman spoke about the topic on the companion show ‘Extra Camp’ which provides commentary on the main show urging audiences to “join her on the telling of her journey and learn from those stories.”
Within the short time, she has been on the show, Caitlyn has already had to deal with a slew of transphobic comments online with her dead-name trending on Twitter as well as Extra Camp host Joel Dommett referring to her as a “guy”.
Luckily the celebrities are cut off from all forms of communication with the outside world during their time in the Jungle so Jenner has not been subject to what is being said about her online, although transphobia is not something new to the star. It seems public opinion of her something weighing heavily on her mind.
Despite all the malicious and transphobic comments being made about Jenner online, she seems to be getting along well with the other campmates who have all been very respectful of the star. Her and Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle became quick friends after the pair skydived into the Australian Jungle together before walking arm-in-arm.
Coyle has also been the topic of several online discussions but for vastly different reasons, with fans of the show calling for ITV to subtitle what the Northern Irish pop-star is saying as they can’t understand her. It is unclear whether the show will take such measures as it is not a universally shared problem with the American Jenner understanding Coyle just fine.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.