"Do I need to come out and make a difference in probably the most marginalized community in the world?" Jenner asked. "After a long thought I said, 'You know what? At this point in my life, my kids are raised, everyone's fine. Maybe it’s time I take care of myself.' "
"I have a lot of feelings about Caitlyn Jenner running for governor. When I first saw it, I was really disappointed, to be honest," said Honey Mahogany, a transgender activist and legislative aide to San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney.
She and many trans people she knows resent the role Jenner has taken on, Mahogany said.
"Caitlyn Jenner is somebody who I think is sort of seen, I think, by the outside world as a leader for our community," Mahogany added. "But our community, I think, feels very strongly that she doesn't represent us. I am a Black trans person living in San Francisco. And, you know, my background is very different from, and life experiences are very different from, those that Caitlyn has gone through."
It’s a point echoed by Bamby Salcedo, president and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition in Los Angeles, who notes that most transgender people face a myriad of hurdles far higher than the ones Jenner cleared on her way to a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics.
"As a trans woman, she will never feel what it is walking down the street and being fearful for your life," Salcedo said. "She will never understand what it is to take public transportation as a trans woman and be harassed on the streets. And so I would say she's not a representative of our community. Because she’s really detached from our community."
Salcedo considers Jenner’s candidacy as something other than serious.
"It really is like a circus," she said. "This is a total publicity stunt. I believe she wants to just try to keep relevant."
Someone who knows a thing or two about running for office as a transgender candidate is Lisa Middleton. Four years ago she became the first transgender person to win a local government race in California when she was elected to the Palm Springs City Council.
"Clearly [Jenner has] raised the profile on transgender issues," said Middleton, who was recently reelected to serve another term. "I applaud anyone who stands up to the truth that is inside them and takes on the demands of moving from one gender to another."