A new Halloween costume featuring Caitlyn Jenner's look from her now-iconic Vanity Fair cover has gone viral, and not in a good way: Thousands of angry people are petitioning the retailers of the costume -- which they call "transphobic" -- to halt its planned sale.
In a petition on Change.org that calls out Spirit Halloween for its "exploitation and transphobia," petitioner Addison Vincent writes that the outfit -- which features white shorts, a padded top, a wig, and a sash that says "Call Me Caitlyn" -- makes a mockery of Jenner's recent decision to come out as transgender, and encourages others to make fun of the reality star and other trans people like her. (The costume is being sold in unisex sizes, and its online images feature a male model.)
"To make a costume out of a marginalized identity reduces that person and community to a stereotype for privileged people to abuse," Vincent wrote. She continued:
In this case, if you follow through with production of a Caitlyn Jenner costume, cisgender people will purchase it to make fun of her and our community. At a time when trans women and GNC folx, especially black trans women, are being murdered at such a high rate, and homelessness, unemployment, and inaccessbility to healthcare run rampant in our community, making fun of one or all of us is utterly insensitive and deplorable.
As for Spirit Halloween, the company claims that it's actually applauding Jenner, and the costume shouldn't be seen as a mockery, but the opposite.
"Caitlyn Jenner has proven to be the most important real-life superhero of the year, and Spirit Halloween is proud to carry the costume that celebrates her," said Trisha Lombardo, the company's head of PR and marketing, in an interview with the New York Daily News.
Lombardo followed up that statement with another, sent to The Huffington Post, doubling down on Spirit Halloween's good intentions.
"At Spirit Halloween, we create a wide range of costumes that are often based upon celebrities, public figures, heroes and superheroes. We feel that Caitlyn Jenner is all of the above and that she should be celebrated. The Caitlyn Jenner costume reflects just that," Lombardo's statement said.
The costume is also currently listed at online retailers including AnytimeCostumes.com and WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com. We'll see if Vincent's petition -- which already has over 3,500 signatures -- changes anybody's mind about its sale.
Photo credit: Anytime Costumes