The embattled former NAACP leader spoke out during an interview with NBC Nightly News
Rachel Dolezal, the embattled former NAACP leader accused of lying about being black, fought back tears during an interview with Savannah Guthrie of NBC Nightly News as she talked about reading Caitlyn Jenner‘s tell-all Vanity Fair cover story.
“Just yesterday I finally had a chance to read Caitlyn Jenner’s piece in the magazine,” she told Guthrie on Tuesday evening. “I cried.”
Dolezal was outed by her parents for misrepresenting her race last week, and she has since resigned her position as president of the NAACP’s Spokane, Washington, chapter.
“I resonated with some of the themes of isolation, of being misunderstood – to not know if you have a conversation with somebody, will that relationship then end because they have seen you as one way,” she said of the former Olympian’s interview, wiping away tears.
Internet commenters have been comparing Dolezal to Jenner, who transitioned from male to female at age 65 this year, but a psychologist and racial identity expert told PEOPLE that being transracial is very different from being transgender.
“Most people who are transgender, [when they are] as early as 4 or 5, believe already that at some level that they are a child born with the wrong anatomy. I don’t see this [with Dolezal],” said Derald Wing Sue, a professor of psychology and education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, where he has researched and studied racial identity. “I think [the comparison] is all an attempt to not really see the issue. The issue is deception, honesty and pretense. You have to get to the bottom of that.”
Dolezal, who told Guthrie that “nothing about being white describes who I am,” also revealed that she identifies as bisexual during the interview.
“I’m bisexual. And so, you know, I’ve dated men and women,” she said. “And I will intentionally ask, like, ‘So do you just date light-skinned women? What’s your spectrum?’ “