In the opening seconds of "I Am Cait," Caitlyn Jenner makes it clear she's a woman on a mission. "We don't want people dying over this stuff," she says. "What a responsibility I have -- I hope I get it right."
Jenner gets it more than right. The first episode of E!'s "I Am Cait," which was screened for press tonight (July 21) in New York City, is a true testament to the 65-year-old's vision: she's here to save lives. And while "I Am Cait" of course falls subject to the glitz and glamour of her "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" roots -- the premiere episode features GIF-worthy cameos from Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West (who nearly steals the show from Jenner herself) -- at its heart, it's moving, educational and most importantly, inspirational.
We watch as Kylie, 17, meets Caitlyn for the first time since her stunning debut on the cover of Vanity Fair. "Hey pretty," Kylie tells Jenner before giving her a hair makeover with her blue mermaid extensions (because of course she did). It's a really touching moment between Kylie and Caitlyn. "I have no problems with Kylie," Jenner candidly tells the E! cameras.
While the youngest Jenner may have taken her transition the easiest, Caitlyn later tells her sister that Khloe Kardashian, Rob Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian haven't yet met Caitlyn in person. The realization is tough for Jenner, who's worried that they might not be as comfortable with Caitlyn as their social media accounts let on. "I don't want to tear my family apart," she says.
Kim Kardashian, however, couldn't be more accepting. During the one-hour premiere Kardashian and her husband Kanye West stop by Jenner's Malibu home for a brief (yet surely calculated) visit. Kardashian goes through Jenner's stellar wardrobe, in which she shows off her favorite new Tom Ford dress (don't worry: it's Kim-approved). They even devise a plan to play "Who Wore It Best" with Kardashian matriarch, and Caitlyn's ex, Kris Jenner when they discover the two own the same dress.
"Once they meet Caitlyn, they go, 'Oh my God. She's way more fun than Bruce ever was,'" Jenner says, beaming. It's true: happiness (and DVF) sure looks good on the Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient.
But it's Kanye who truly makes a lasting impression in one of the funniest/strangely sincere reality TV moments maybe ever. "I think this is one of the strongest things that has happened in our human existence," West says, regarding Jenner's very public transition. Listen, West will definitely get a lot of flack for this, but I think we need to respect someone who is so open minded and vocal in his beliefs. Frankly, I wish more rappers would support Caitlyn Jenner and the transgender community. So, haters to the left.
Jenner also shares an extremely emotional conversation with her mother, who was struggling to let go of Caitlyn's former self. "It's going to be so difficult for me," her mother says, tearing up. "It's not easy." When Jenner asks if it's losing a son she finds difficult, her mother nods, before saying, "You have the same soul you were born with."
It's clear her mother still has a long way to go in terms of using the correct pronouns -- she frequently switched between male and female pronouns in the premiere -- but what's clear is that she's trying. "I certainly love her with all my heart," she says to the cameras. And we, as an audience, collectively cheer.
When it comes to education, "I Am Cait" has the power to change -- and save -- lives. Less than eight percent of Americans personally know a transgender person. Thanks to Caitlyn Jenner, we can all say we know at least one. In being a voice for the trans community, Jenner is using "I Am Cait" to educate the public on what it means to be trans -- starting with the emotional turmoil that occurs when trans people, especially trans teens, aren't allowed to live their lives as their authentic selves.
In the premiere, Jenner visits the mother of Kyler Prescott, a 14-year-old transgender boy who took his own life this past May. Despite his family's love and support and the support of his peers, Prescott was often misgendered by the adults around him, causing him constant grief.
Here is where "I Am Cait" and Jenner herself have the opportunity to do real good -- by highlighting the emotional turbulence of being a trans person in a society that is very ignorant when it comes to transgender issues. The eight-part docu-series could certainly benefit from more harrowing stories like these.
"I have been in my house with a gun and said, 'Let's just end it right here,'" Jenner says. "I wish I could have told him you just have to get through that day."
And thanks to you, Caitlyn, more transgender youths will know that it truly gets better.