“So many people go through life and they never deal with their own issues, no matter what the issues are. Ours happen to be gender identity,” Caitlyn Jenner says as the screen shows footage of Southern California, and of Jenner applying lip gloss in front of a mirror.
The trailer is for Jenner’s new eight-part docu-series, I am Cait, on the US’s E! Network, which will follow the TV star and former Olympic athlete as she lives openly as a transgender woman for the first time.
The minute-long promo sets up the question of gender identity as equal to any other identity question. This approach is a relatively new one for TV, though the recent comedy dramas Orange is the New Black, from Netflix, and Transparent, on Amazon, already have led the way.
The treatment of transgender people as protagonists in charge of their own stories, rather than villains or victims, aligns with increased efforts of the LGBT movement to focus on transgender rights and acceptance in the US. As complex transgender characters and documentary subjects become more common, so, too, do the public figures who can advocate for the community.
“[T]he docu-series will also explore what Cait’s transition means for the people in her life and how those relationships are affected,” according to a press release from the network. Keeping up with the Kardashians, the show that follows Jenner’s stepchildren—including Kim Kardashian—and Jenner’s ex-wife, Kris, has also addressed the transition. The network aired two episodes devoted to the family’s reactions. Watching a family go through the process of learning about and accepting a transition can help viewers learn to accept their own family members and friends, according to LGBT-rights organization GLAAD.
The show, debuting at the end of July, may also delve into the double standards that women often deal with. “You go through all this stuff and you start learning kind of the pressure women are under all the time about their appearance,” Jenner says in the promo.
That’s a topic that Jon Stewart devoted a segment to earlier in the week, highlighting the media focus on Jenner’s body, appearance, and age after Vanity Fair released a preview of its cover shoot and story on Jenner’s transition.
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“Ok, we’re officially off the property. We’re out into the world,” Jenner says at the end of the promo for I am Cait, while driving away from her Malibu home. “It’s so bright out there, look at that. Isn’t it great that maybe some day you’ll be normal?”
“You are normal,” an off-camera companion says, to which Jenner replies, “Put it this way—I’m the new normal.”