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Caitlyn Jenner not a figurehead for transgender community, says Jeffrey Tambor

Published 12/09/2016

Jeffrey Tambor at the Bafta TV Awards in London in May
Jeffrey Tambor at the Bafta TV Awards in London in May

Transparent star Jeffrey Tambor has claimed Caitlyn Jenner should not be held as a "figurehead" for the transgender community.

The Emmy-award winning actor, who plays transgender woman Maura Pfefferman on the Amazon Prime show, said it was a "mistake" to consider Jenner as more than "just a person".

He told the Press Association: "Not everyone in the transgender community looks like Caitlyn, has as much money as Caitlyn, has as much power, obviously don't have TV shows, but with her story, with her knowledge, with her courage, there's a phrase - she floats all boats.

"I don't think she's a figurehead and I don't think she's come out as a figurehead and that's where the mistake would be. She's just a person. I'm for her.

"It's about people. The publicity of it sheds light on the stories and that's the good part of it."

Jenner - the reality TV star and former US Olympic athlete, formerly known as Bruce - is to guest star in the third season of Transparent, appearing in a dream sequence.

Speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival, Tambor, 72, said the show had helped to change attitudes towards transgender people.

"I think the attitudes were already changing," he said.

"It's a metaphor but I think we were the arrow right into the zeitgeist but the zeitgeist was already there.

"It's changing rapidly, daily. If you look at social media, it's just blowing up. Thank god."

Tambor also spoke of an "ugly" incident when he went out in public dressed as his Transparent character while preparing for the role.

"I remember in doing that, how nervous I was," he said.

"I remember saying to myself as an actor; 'Do not forget how you feel right now because you nth that by a zillion times and you get what it is'.

"Someone did look at me when I was doing that. I don't know if they recognised me as Jeffrey Tambor or just looked as a trans-woman who didn't quite have it all together.

"I'll never forget that smirk on that person's face. It changed me and I thought, 'that's what it looks like, that's quite ugly'."

The third series of Transparent will be available on Amazon Prime on September 23.

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