Why Rachel Dolezal Is Not Caitlyn Jenner

my name is elizabeth

In light of the recent revelations about Rachel Dolezal, the former president of a local NAACP chapter who was outed last week as white (the most riveting news story, in my book, since the Manti Te’o scandal of 2013), several people have asked me to help them articulate why her story is different from that of Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic decathlete who recently transitioned from male to female.

I’ve hesitated to do this for two reasons:

– Racial and gender identity are both incredibly complicated concepts, which can make them difficult to discuss individually, let alone to compare and contrast.

– I am a cisgender Asian American woman. I am not trans and I am not black, so I recognize that mine is not the voice that most needs to be heard regarding either of these cases.

But since people have asked, and since this difference is something I feel…

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