While certain media sources have been happy to treat Caitlyn Jenner as the face of the transgender movement, many members of the LGBTQ community have long objected to the former Olympian, arguing that her political views are detrimental to those she claims to support. And now a petition by activists has snatched an award away from the reality star.
The 67-year-old, who famously made the cover of Vanity Fair magazine back in June 2015, as often been used as a mouthpiece for trans issues thanks to her public platform.
Los Angeles based Health organisation St. John's Well Child and Family Center was set to become the latest organisation to honour the former Olympian at the Eleganza Ball, which was part of this weekend's TransNation Festival.
When trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston caught wind of the clinic's plans, she launched a Change.org petition, urging St. John's to "stop dishonouring the LGBTQ community by honouring Caitlyn Jenner", pointing out her political allegiance with President Donald Trump and initial disapproval of same-sex marriage.
The petition also accused Jenner of purchasing awards "as an attempt to mask her damaged rapport with the community at large".
"We believe the decision to publicly award Caitlyn Jenner on 10/21/17 at the TransNation Film Festival's Eleganza night is a terrible mistake," Preston wrote. "The decision was made without considerable input from the transgender staff at St. John's who are also community members above all else. We know that Caitlyn has given money to St John's, and we know that the higher-ups want more from her."
Preston also called Jenner a "humanitarian fraud" who is using her nonprofit, the Caitlyn Jenner Foundation, "as a self-congratulatory tool to lend credibility to her status as an influential figure within the LGBTQ community".
St John's Well announced on Wednesday (18 October) that they had rescinded the accolade.
"We hear your concerns & take them seriously. Therefore, Caitlyn will not be receiving an award at the Eleganza Ball," the health organisation tweeted before sharing a statement explaining that the needs of their trans clients were their priority.
"For us, it has always been about the patients who we serve. We have managed to focus on the human impact over politics. But, in today's political climate, we realize that it is increasingly difficult to separate the two– especially because transgender lives are at risk every day under this new administration," a spokesperson said. "This reality has renewed our commitment to work to create positive change and bring members of our community together to heal. That begins with listening to our brothers and sisters."
In a bizarre twist, Jenner – who has alienated most of her family with her tell-all book – claimed that she was the one that declined the award.
"In this spirit of unity and love, I'm going to decline the award they so graciously offered me for supporting their mission. I understand that my presence is distracting from the real purpose of the event, which is to celebrate the important and life-saving work of St. John's," she said in a statement. "I will continue my commitment to helping marginalised communities through my foundation. because her presence was "distracting from the real purpose of the event."