The former I Am Cait star speaks out about President Donald Trump's rollback on transgender rights for children
“We’ve had this struggle for years,” Cayne, 45, tells PEOPLE. “It’s always been two steps forward, one step back. Our community has been blessed that we were in the Obama era where they respected civil rights and that our community mattered — that we deserved to live just like everyone else.”
Cayne, who is transgender, recalls the hurdles she went through in high school and the fear she felt when she had to use the restroom.
“I held my pee and it distracted me,” she reveals. “I didn’t go to the bathroom because I was afraid I’d be beat up. I finally found a teacher who gave me access to a private bathroom and finally was able to go to school without living in fear.”
“This is going to be another fight for at least four more years and we are going to really have our wits about us,” she adds.
Cayne, who appeared opposite Caitlyn Jenner in the E! show I Am Cait, joined her friend in denouncing the setback in transgender rights (Jenner released a video on her social media pages calling the bathroom ruling a “disaster”).
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The show dealt with the struggles those who transition face, as well as the difficulties that come when transitioning is not affordable to everyone. Using a public bathroom based on how people identify (or creating a separate bathroom altogether) has long been a subject matter transgender activists have fought for.
“It’s just silly that we’re actually talking about bathroom use,” Cayne says. “This is the fight that we have to talk about? It’s a fundamental thing. Every person has to go to the bathroom and when you eliminate rights that are just normal for human beings, it takes away an ability for people to just live.”
Cayne sent a message of solidarity to transgender kids in schools, saying, “To all those trans kids and their parents, you are not alone. Not all of us are living in places where things are as bad, but we all hear you and see you and feel your pain and will fight with you to get you the fundamental rights you deserve.”
“We’re a small community and we need the entire LGBT community to rally around us – and anyone else who has had any civil rights issues,” she adds. “In this new political era, we need to focus on coming together as one community.”