CLEVELAND, Ohio (WYTV/AP) – Caitlyn Jenner said it was easier to come out as transgender than it was as a Republican.
Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner transitioned to her new identity last year.
The transgender activist and Olympic gold medalist spoke at a breakfast at the Republican National Convention to promote LGBT inclusion in the GOP. She said Democrats do a better job on the issue.
Jenner is crediting President Barack Obama for taking positive steps for LGBT individuals. She received a smattering of applause from fellow Republicans for acknowledging his move to eliminate the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.
Jenner said the issue of which bathrooms transgender people use has been used politically for many years. She said she hasn’t had any problems.
While Jenner isn’t the only LGBT Republican, they are few and far between.
“She was a Republican beforehand, so just because you change your body and your perspective to how you feel on the inside, doesn’t mean that your political views have to change,” said Lisa Ronquillo with Youngstown State’s LGBT group, YSUnity.
She says the central premise of the LGBT community is one of acceptance, and that reconciling the idea of acceptance with a party whose candidate wants to ban marriage equality is difficult.
“All of the things that he says about immigration and immigrants, how is he going to feel about something that’s considered a choice amongst a party that just refuses to understand the whole of it,” Ronquillo said.
Dario Hunter is the first openly gay candidate elected to office in Youngstown. He says the apprehension about the GOP and Donald Trump is very real.
“Absolutely it’s a concern. I think it’s a larger part of the Republican Party veering even further right.”
Hunter says the GOP’s stance on equal rights is out of step with reality.
“It portrays this picture that is not only not an accurate picture of America, because we as a country are moving towards acceptance, it’s not an accurate picture of that party.”
As for Jenner, she says she’s sticking with the GOP.
“I’m not giving up on this country, I’m not giving up on the Constitution,” she said.