Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costumes have gained popularity this year but could be offensive to some LGBT individuals.

The demand for Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costumes is becoming equivalent to what was seen last year with Elsa costumes from Frozen, according to TMZ.

Jenner made headlines in July when she came out on the cover of Vanity Fair as a transgender woman. Costumes of Jenner featuring a white corset, wig and a sash that reads “Call Me Caitlyn” were marketed — mostly toward men.

Both nationally and in Athens, however, many people have spoken out against this costume, saying it's offensive toward LGBT individuals.

delfin bautista, director of the Ohio University LGBT Center, said they see the costume as problematic, adding that Jenner is not in costume when she wears dresses. Rather, it is her identity as a human being.

“(We must) be mindful that (trans people are) not in costume,” bautista, who uses they/them pronouns and the lowercase spelling of their name, said. “To mock that, given the realities and violence towards trans people already, intensifies and completely dehumanizes trans people on so many different levels.”

According to GLAAD, transgender women are at a disproportionately high risk of being victims of hate violence.

While the student organization Students Teaching About Racism In Society typically creates campaign posters advocating against costumes that offend a culture, Vice President of STARS Clayton Hamre said the group felt it was necessary to include LGBT individuals in its movement upon hearing about the Caitlyn Jenner costume.

“I think with Caitlyn Jenner being more expressive about her transition, people began to consider it to be something funny or to take lightly or poke fun at in terms of Halloween,” Joshelyn Smith, president of STARS, said. “(Trans) people in their journey don’t really think that their life is a joke and their experience is a joke.”

STARS began putting up 50 posters throughout campus campaigning against the costume Oct. 19. An image of the poster, which features a photo of someone in the costume next to a transgender woman with the tagline, “My identity is not a costume,” has been shared more than 6,500 times on Facebook as of press time.

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People from all around the country commented on the post. In addition to comments in defense of Jenner, others ranged from, “People get made fun of all the time. Get over it!” to “By that logic, dressing as a cow is offensive because millions of them die a year.”

In a recent interview on Today, Jenner told Matt Lauer that she doesn’t think the costume of her is “offensive at all,” but acknowledged that she knows the community does take offense to it.

Megan Villegas, a part-time faculty member at OU and former graduate assistant for the LGBT Center, has worn a different costume to work every day this week, ranging from a devil to a cat to a bumblebee.

“For me, a costume should both reflect a part of my personality and make me feel good about myself,” Villegas said. “I would like to think I’m not the kind of person that needs to tear someone else down to make myself feel good.”

The new posters still align with the group’s message of fighting stereotypes of individuals who are marginalized, Smith said.

“People use their privilege on Halloween to dress as this target and marginalized community,” Smith said. “But after the day is over, they put on their privilege and their identity and don’t really acknowledge what’s going on in the community.”

@rachel_hartwick

rh375113@ohio.edu

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