Los Angeles based health organization St. John’s Well Child and Family Center was set to honor Caitlyn Jenner this weekend at the Eleganza Ball, which was part of the TransNation Festival with a special award.
That is until trans activist Ashlee Marie Preston caught wind of the clinic’s plan sand launched a Change.org petition, urging St. John’s to “stop dishonoring the LGBTQ community by honoring Caitlyn Jenner”, pointing out Jenner’s right-wing leanings and her support of Donald Trump.
The petition also accused Jenner of purchasing awards “as an attempt to mask her damaged rapport with the community at large”.
“We believe the decision to publicly award Caitlyn Jenner on 10/21/17 at the TransNation Film Festival’s Eleganza night is a terrible mistake,” Preston wrote. “The decision was made without considerable input from the transgender staff at St. John’s who are also community members above all else. We know that Caitlyn has given money to St John’s, and we know that the higher-ups want more from her.”
Preston also called Jenner a “humanitarian fraud” who is using her nonprofit, the Caitlyn Jenner Foundation, “as a self-congratulatory tool to lend credibility to her status as an influential figure within the LGBTQ community”.
On Wednesday St John’s Well announced hat they had rescinded the award to Jenner..
“We hear your concerns & take them seriously. Therefore, Caitlyn will not be receiving an award at the Eleganza Ball,” the health organisation tweeted before sharing a statement explaining that the needs of their trans clients were their priority.
“For us, it has always been about the patients who we serve. We have managed to focus on the human impact over politics. But, in today’s political climate, we realize that it is increasingly difficult to separate the two– especially because transgender lives are at risk every day under this new administration,” a spokesperson said. “This reality has renewed our commitment to work to create positive change and bring members of our community together to heal. That begins with listening to our brothers and sisters.”
In a press release later that day Jenner claimed that SHE was the one that declined the award stating:.
“In this spirit of unity and love, I’m going to decline the award they so graciously offered me for supporting their mission. I understand that my presence is distracting from the real purpose of the event, which is to celebrate the important and life-saving work of St. John’s. I will continue my commitment to helping marginalised communities through my foundation. because her presence was “distracting from the real purpose of the event.”
Ashlee Marie Preston is the same trans activist and Editor in chief of Wear Your Voice, who lit into Jenner at a Trans Chorus of Los Angeles performance of “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in August, which was sponsored in part by a cash donation from Jenner.