Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner may be the belle of the ball in the LGBT community, but her gender identity has caused some debate in other groups. Over 15,000 signatures have been gathered over the course of a month since a petition was launched calling for the International Olympic Committee to revoke her 1976 decathlon gold medal. The International Olympic Committee continues to maintain that it will not revoke Jenner’s medal.
On June 1, 2015, Vanity Fair unveiled Caitlyn Jenner to the world. The former athlete had earlier declared that she is transgender. She was both celebrated and criticized at the same time by millions of people around the world.
The same day, a woman named Jennifer Bradford launched a petition on Change.org calling for the IOC to revoke Jenner’s Olympic gold medal. Over a month later, the petition has received thousands of supporters. According to the petition page, more than 15,000 people have signed.
“It has recently come to light that gold medalist Bruce Jenner is in fact transgender, and therefore, identifies as a woman. We congratulate Ms. Jenner on these new developments and wish her the best. However, this creates somewhat of a problem as Ms. Jenner (as talented as she is) claims that she has always believed herself to be truly female, and therefore, was in violation of committee rules regarding women competing in men's sports and vice versa,” read the statement in the petition.
The petition tried to popularize the hashtag #givebackthegold. While there are some people who agree with the cause, millions more disagree. The IOC itself issued a statement saying that they will not strip Jenner of the Olympic medal that she won as Bruce Jenner in 1976.
Jenner’s social media accounts have also rapidly grown in followers since she launched them at the same time as her new identity. Her Twitter account managed to gain one million followers in only 4 hours. Despite the success of her coming-out party, Jenner is still facing a lot of criticism. On July 15, she is set to receive ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award in the 2015 ESPYs. Her selection as this year’s recipient has also been met with mixed reactions.