After spending the past year living as a woman, reality TV star and Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner concludes that there is only one thing more difficult in Hollywood than changing genders … being a Republican.
Speaking to students at the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, the 66-year-old one-time Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year noted that his conservative political leanings have been harder to explain away than his designer dresses and cosmetic procedures.
“I have gotten more flak for being a conservative Republican than I have for being trans,” Jenner said to a student who asked why he is not a Democrat.
Vanity Fair reporter Buzz Bissinger, who authored the publication’s “Call Me Caitlyn” article in which Jenner revealed his new feminine identity last summer, also attended the Penn event.
Bissinger interjected, “Just because you change gender doesn’t mean you change your core beliefs.”
Jenner reportedly spoke to students for roughly an hour about his life since coming out as transgender last April during an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
Among the more surprising revelations from Jenner’s Sawyer interview was his describing himself as both a Christian and a Republican. After telling Sawyer he was not a “fan” of President Obama, he added, “I’ve always been more on the conservative side. … I believe in the Constitution.”
Despite Jenner’s views on transgender issues, he told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres after coming out last year he was still hesitant about accepting same-sex marriage.
“Gay marriage. … I’m a traditionalist. I’m older than most people in the audience. I kind of like tradition, and it’s always been a man and a woman. I’m thinking, ‘I don’t quite get it,’” he said.
Protesters outside of a Jenner speaking event last year referred to the E! star as “an insult to trans people.”