Since her transition, Caitlyn Jenner has taken some heat for remaining a Republican and maintaining support for a party not known for its progressive approach to social and LGBTQ rights issues.
But Jenner feels those who focus on her GOP affiliation are missing the point.
“Here’s the deal: yes, I have always had views that lean more towards the Republican party when it comes to politics (as in) less government, believing in the Constitution and all that kind of stuff,” she tells PEOPLE.
“But my loyalties and my fights are not going to be with the Republican party. My loyalties are with my community and fighting for my community.”
As a high-profile member of the transgender community, Jenner hopes she can use her unique position to advocate for the LGBTQ population, across both political parties and alongside the Trump administration.
“Republicans need help understanding LGBTQ issues and I’m here to help!” she tweeted on Jan. 18.
“With the Republicans, I keep a very close eye on all the things that are happening – there’s North Carolina (anti-discrimination measures), we’ve got SB6 (‘bathroom bill’) coming up in Texas, all of these things,” she tells PEOPLE. “My fight is for my community and the next generation coming up.”
“I’m very blessed to be able to have a platform where hopefully I can make a difference.”
In fact, since Donald Trump took office, Jenner has spoken out against legislation that would roll back federal protections for transgender students. When the new administration lifted federal guidelines put in place by the former Obama administration that said transgender students should be allowed to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, Jenner addressed Trump directly in a statement.
“I have a message for President Trump, from one Republican to another. This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me,” she said in February.
While there’s no evidence Trump gave her a ring, Jenner is staying her course.
“My loyalties lie with my community and not with the Republican party, and not with Donald Trump,” she says.
For more of PEOPLE’s interview with Caitlyn Jenner – and to read an exclusive excerpt of her memoir, The Secrets of My Life, please pick up this week’s issue, on stands Friday.