Ryan Pfluger for The Advocate
From the moment Caitlyn Jenner spoke publicly about her transition, she's made it clear that she wants to use her platform to educate others.
Her journey opened up a dialogue, and as she tells the February/March 2016 issue of The Advocate, she feels particularly that documenting her transition through I Am Cait "opened up a conversation that for so long was swept under the rug."
"In so many ways like the gay issue, 20, 30, 40 years ago, people were sweeping that then," she clarifies. "We've opened up the conversation. It's OK to talk about trans issues."
There has been criticism that Caitlyn's journey has been portrayed as being more about outward appearances, but she knows it's much more than that. "....There's more to being a woman than hair and makeup," Caitlyn tells The Advocate. "So recently, I've been trying to study up on it."
This has included reading a book called How to Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. "It's actually very good and very funny," says Caitlyn. "What I realized, when going through this book, is how my experience is so different than what a normal woman's would be growing up–that's obvious. The second chapter was about having your period. OK? I will never deal with that. So there is so much in life that I need to learn about who I am and be authentic with myself. But I never want to assume that this whole thing called womanhood, that I could ever experience all of that. I will be able to live authentically as female, but I've missed so much."
One thing Caitlyn experiences, though, as a woman in the spotlight, is having her appearance intensely scrutinized. Kim Kardashian offered up some insightful advice on having the upper hand of this, though. "Kimberly says, 'If you do go out, you've got to rock it baby!'" says Caitlyn. "You cannot let [the paparazzi] get that picture. They'll take a picture of you with no makeup on, lousy outfit– and they'll use it forever. You'll never get rid of it. Kim's very good at hat stuff. It does take a little bit more work if you do go out. You've got to at least look good, at least the best you can. But there's more to life and womanhood than just that. And those are things I'm learning; I'm trying to read up on it. I'm trying to understand it because it's all new to me."
To read all of Caitlyn's candid interview, pick up The Advocate's February/March 2016 issue.