Thanks to their iconic 1977 Wheaties box, General Mills and the Bruce Jenner persona are inexorably linked. But the company had a strange reaction when called for comment on Jenner's transformation into Caitlyn.
"Bruce Jenner continues to be a respected member of Team Wheaties," a GM spokesperson told TMZ.
Then, when the TMZ reporter pointed out that Caitlyn is using her female name now and offered the spokesperson an easy out for the first statement, the company doubled down on its misgendering: "We stand by our statement."
When asked for clarification by The Insider With Yahoo, General Mills's brand media relations manager Mike Siemienas attempted to walk back the previous statements a bit: "Bruce Jenner has been a respected member of Team Wheaties, and Caitlyn Jenner will continue to be. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers, but of course we do not discuss our future marketing plans."
Vanity Fair's cover and accompanying #CallMeCaitlyn hashtag isn't just smart branding, it's also a very simple and mostly all-encompasing philosophy for addressing those who identify as transgender. While Bruce Jenner's myriad accomplishments still exist, the person formerly known as Bruce is now Caitlyn Jenner, and should be addressed as such.
Caitlyn admitted during her Vanity Fair interview that even she struggles with the change.
"I don't really get hung up," she told reporter Buzz Bissinger after he apologized for using male pronouns to describe her. "A guy came in the other day and I was fully dressed — it's just habit, I said, 'Hi, Bruce here,' and I went, 'Oh f--k, it ain't Bruce,' I was screwing up doing it."
As for other trans people, GLAAD advises simply asking which pronouns to use. "If you must ask which pronoun the person prefers, start with your own. For example, 'Hi, I'm Dani and I prefer the pronouns she and her. What about you?' Then use that person's preferred pronoun and encourage others to do so. If you accidently use the wrong pronoun, apologize quickly and sincerely, then move on. The bigger deal you make out of the situation, the more uncomfortable it is for everyone."