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MaryMary

Trans privilege

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Charlize

There are certainly similarities in our experiences.  I remember the early sadness when suddenly i couldn't play with the girls.  My family moved me to an all male school after 3rd grade so i learned how to "male" up early.  Letting all that go to find my place has given me only one privilege.  I can live as myself,  despite a world that at times seems to hate me.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Jani

While I have seen male privilege in action it is not something I've ever experienced, to my knowledge.  I grew up with a very happy childhood, with family that was loving.  We spent a lot of time with my mothers family and her sisters.  I have sisters, so needless to say there wasn't much privilege for me, other than being the first child and grandchild.   I can imagine that in certain sectors of society MP is much more prevalent than what I've seen growing up and in business. 

 

Jani

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BrandiBri

I was 11 when I discovered that there was a problem between me and my body. Back then I felt that I was not to talk about it. I couldn't tell my dad because I knew that it would break his heart, plus I was afraid of his reactions. I couldn't tell my mom because she would tell dad and I would be back at square 1. I lived in a rural community and went to a one room school, K-8th grade, and knew what would happen if I showed up in the 6th grade wearing a dress. I can imagine what the dress would look like, not to mention what I would look like when I got home. So from the very beginning I knew had to "be a boy" and later "be a man". Now I, like Charlize, have only one privilege and that's to be me, happy and complete.

Hugs, 

Brandi

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tracy_j

It is really interesting, yet confusing to me. I think that when I look at male priviledge and female priviledge, and my past, I seem to have had both at different times. I have had hassle, especially in my early years, but being somewhat of a rebel, I didn't change, even if I could, which I am not sure about. I was just me!

 

Tracy

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Cyndee

  I read your blog Marie, it's a retort to the whole privilege thing. There are lot's of privileges that people dig up and throw at you, there is western privilege, there is racial privilege, there is class privilege, and of course there is gender privilege. Life is struggle, no matter, for myself I came into a family that was not privileged, my father left us when I was 7, the church was feeding my Mom, sisters, and I for while, we lived on food stamps for a while (public assistance), always poor, always struggling. I never had a college education, and was simply lucky to have graduated from high school. Yet through all my struggles, I created a life for myself and our family, I created my own reality, self made, with very little help from anyone. I created my own privilege, enough privilege that I could take care of something latter in life that has haunted me and tormented me since my earliest memories. I earned the privilege to transition and to live as the woman I know myself to be. That is my privilege, and I am proud to be who I am. In this world nothing is a given, not much if anything can be taken for granted, you live and learn always. I've experienced many of the subtleties life presents, especially in what we might call "the gendered female space", such a joy experienced, such a privilege.

 

Best to you

 

Cyndi -

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bobbisue

     Mary like you I did not feel the full effect of male privilege but it still was there in the background I could safely walk most places in my community at any time I was never treated as an object in public spaces  I have happily given these things and more for the privilege of living as myself 

 

     Bobbisue☺️

 

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Robin Winter

That's kinda funny, I wrote a facebook post about this same thing not long ago, which I ended up deleting because....*drumroll*.....I was talked down to over it (Where's that male privilege at????).  The gist of the response I got can be summed up as "But...but...penis!"

I actually went and read the "definitive" male privilege list that's floating around.  The whole thing made me laugh.  I've been treated my *entire* life they way a misogynist treats a woman they find unattractive, by men and women alike.  To benefit from male privilege, you have to be able to embrace everything that means, something you can't actually do if  you're not male.  They can *smell* it on you, that you're different.

Now the list of things a woman has to endure?   That one I relate to.  That's my life. 


As you say though, that was my experience, I can't speak for everyone.

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Kirsten

This topic is still such a blank for me. I have read this thread like 10 times now. And so many others.  I try to see what these privileges are. What benefits to male, female, etc really are. And I am still struggling with it. 

The dictionary defines privilege as; a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.  So I look at my life and those in it. I try to think of my past. I try to see these privileges. But still I don’t see them.  Am I so confused that I am missing something? Am I blind to the things right in front of me? I just don’t know. 

I have grown up hand in hand with boys, girls, different races, different religions, and any other difference you can think of. And maybe I see differences mostly based on looks. And sure those looks do get into some of those categories. But I think all people get some privileges. Are they because of sex race religion etc? Maybe some. But for every privilege a guy gets it seems a girl gets another one. The “white male” is excluded from so many things like specific clubs, gyms, scholarships, jobs even.  So is that privilege? 

I am just struggling to see these things. What are they? Who gets them? Why is everyone so obsessed with them? 

Since going full time I get free stuff and discounts all the time. Especially at dunkins. Free apps at restaurants. 10% off because I’m smiling? Is this privilege? Cause if it is I had no privilege until I went full time.  Also guys go out of there way to hold doors for me. Men at Home Depot thoroughly explain things to me. My company goes out of its way to make sure I’m happy with my situation. People offer their support to me and tell me how amazing and strong I am. Complete strangers! Is this privilege? Cause I never had any of this pre-transition. 

Please explain this to me. Because I think it’s made up mumbo jumbo. Do people get different opportunities? Yeah sure. But it’s more money related than anything else. Or geographically. People with money go on better vacations, go to better schools, have nicer cars. People with no money have to work much harder for all of those things. But they aren’t only afforded to the rich. People in Ohio cant surf down the street. People in Hawaii can. Is this privilege? 

I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. I just really struggle to see what this means. Is it how we are born? Is it the fact that people have things about them that are different physically? Trans people have bodies that don’t match our personalities perfectly, some more than others. Black people are black. Men have penises. Women have vaginas. Some can’t walk. Some can’t see hear or speak.  But there’s a million of these differences. Are these privileges? 

Through all of this I just come back to the same thought process. Privilege is a case of the haves vs the have nots. In just about all of these situations there seems to be a way to get what you want. Want to go to Princeton? Get good grades and save your pennies. Want to join an exclusive club? Do what you need to do to get there. Want to be someone else? Change your life. Want to whatever it is, put in the work and get it. Maybe you have to move. Maybe you lose the people in your life. Maybe you have to start over. Maybe a million different things will have to change, some that you don’t want to change, to get what you want. But you can do it.  Or you can try. Maybe you can’t get the elitist country club to allow minorities or women in. But you can petition. You can go to court. And if all else fails, you can start your own elite country club. You can even make it exactly the same as the one that won’t let you in. There’s always a way! 

Dont like how you are treated? Move. Don’t like the way your boss talks to you? Get a new job. There’s always a way! 

So please someone if I am just blind or stupid show me. Show me how privilege is real. Because the only way I understand it I never had any privilege except what I fought for. And I don’t think any of it’s really only for me. It’s just life. And I just want to understand. 

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RithiaAllen

Jobs can can be a difficult thing because even if you leave be it willingly or forced you have to deal with the discriminating 🤮 bad mouthing you to everyone that calls checking employment verification. The good thing is finding a company that is better. For me I found one and even better it’s a stepping stone job to something like Google or Microsoft’s I ever decide to move on.

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Jani

Kirsten I think (just my thoughts) that privilege is sometimes subtle and we don't notice it.  Take something easy like walking down the street without fear, more so at evening or night.  That men can do that without thinking is Male Privilege.  Women have a different view on this.  In the work environment it is similar since women are viewed as not as "committed" as men since they are the major family caregivers and will try to balance work/family life, whereas guys rarely talk about family issues getting in the way.  I have seen this.  

 

Jani

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jae bear

 I very much agree with you on this one Jani...  I’ve had to become very aware of my surroundings at night especially when making my way to my car in a dark parking lot. I’ve been approached a couple times now while female, and these experiences are not positive and quite scary.  I’ve had to talk with family members about this and have now been warned about certain things, things I really did not know before, I often find myself walking the other girls to their cars first then strategically making my way to my car last, sometimes with one of the other girls driving behind me for safety. Male privilege certainly exists, this one aspect is not the only I’ve witnessed but probably the one that affects me most.

 Hugs, 

Jackie

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Kirsten

Hmmm. I just dont know if I agree. I mean my company has plenty of women in positions of power. I’ve met a few of them since transitioning. It also seems that minorities and females have more opportunity to get to these positions simply for the aspect of diversity in the public. Everyone is paid equally for that position so no differences between male and female there either. (At least at my company) My regional vp is a black gay woman. And there are plenty of other women in similar positions across the board. Heck Hillary Clinton missed being the most powerful person in the world by the narrowest of margins. A post previously held by Barrack Obama. Where is the privilege there? 

As far as the night issue, wouldn’t you say that your geographic surroundings affects your awareness more than anything? Lets say you’re in p-town (local town that’s extremely lbgtq friendly) no matter what time of day your odds of having issues are slim to none at best being female trans or otherwise. But if you’re in the Bronx any time of day and are any gender you need to be extremely aware of what’s going on? Does that mean that privilege is geographically based? Also if you are black in that neighborhood the odds of your troubles drop incredibly as well. I just don’t see how that can be privilege. 

I do understand the basis of what everyone is saying. Maybe I’m trying to make it more finite than it can be? If it’s male privilege shouldn’t it be afforded to all or its not male privilege. It’s a privilege based on other factors than simply gender or sex or race or whatever. 

The sole privilege I can see is that of basic equality. Those that have it, have it. Those that don’t have to fight for it. But even that, those that have it fought once. Or more precisely their forebears did. Is having something and not having to work for it privilege? So privilege is a way of saying good for you, you were given this for free and I didn’t? A silver spoon in some respects? 

Once again I am sorry if I am upsetting anyone. I have a tendency to do that when my head doesn’t grasp things by asking too many questions in an attempt to justify something in my mental process. I just can’t accept that I used to have privilege and now it’s gone when not much has really changed. If anything things are easier now. Is that privilege? I don’t think so because if I traveled to another place this may not be the case. 

Maybe im a lost cause to this idea. I don’t know. But from what I seem to understand I should thank those who have been fighting for all I have before me. So thank you. Thank you for making the world better for those after you. 

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Kirsten

Thank you for the replies as well. 

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RithiaAllen

Don’t agree with what? I’m hoping you don’t mean employment.... because:

 

I’m coming from a perspective of working ina small company owned by a individual. They violated my rights and instead accepting my drivers license and social security card they wanted my birth certificate. My boss must have gone in and looked (having no right to do so) and then outed me to the entire company.

 

Then I had to stay at that company to try and have some stability on the resume. When they fired me (yes fired) for trumped up performance reasons they then fought my unemployment and talked crap and outed me to a number of prospective employers. I had to file charges for the right to sue and by the time it was all said and done I was told no you can’t sue which is crap. It doesn’t matter though because just the little bit of legal cost put the company under.

 

Its not easy to just leave a job and go to another.

 

Yes I found a better job but not before my credit was ruined and I owe lots of money I can’t pay back because of the ordeal. This ordeal made me have to choose between keeping my house and affording the cost of HRT out of pocket because my insurance won’t cover it.

 

I don’t want to be rude but this topic is very upsetting. ☹️

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Kirsten

I think you’re not understanding me.  I’m asking how it’s privilege that’s all. Why is it privilege and how is that different than people being uneducated morons that treat people badly? It sounds like your job experience was awful. I am sorry that something like that would happen to anyone. And I am fully against things like that happening. But is that what privilege means? That’s my question. Not whether things are right or wrong. Why makes privilege privilege? 

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RithiaAllen

It’s for sure uneducated morons trying to destroy a person for their own ignorance. Probably because he hit on me the first few weeks until I had to tell him I wasn’t interested and he was married. God I wish I had never taken that job. His reaction was then to think omg I hit on a guy and wanted to have sex with a guy. So his reaction was rage. However I’m not a guy. I don’t look like a guy, aimdom’t Smell like a guy, sound like a guy, think like a guy, move like a guy. It doesn’t change his perception after seeing a piece of paper. Really that just made me resolve to get my birth certificate updated. Thankfully California rocks I’m that regard. If I could afford to live there I’d move in a heartbeat.

 

I’m not sure now what you’re asking. I thought you where roundabout talking about the protections Obama put into law. I didn’t care for a lot of the stuff he did but that man is my personal hero after my ordeal and then later on having the laws put into place. Conversely Trump is threatening to trample all over these laws and after going through what I did I can’t accept that. I’ll fight if I have to but i’ll never be put in that position ever again.

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SugarMagnolia

Usually when people discuss privilege it's about the smaller harder to notice things. An example would be that as an able bodied person, I take it for granted that I'll be able get where ever I need to go for whatever I need to do. I don't have to think about accessibility. That's a privilege that I have. Similarly, if I go to any public event I don't need to think about whether or not I'll be able to understand what's being discussed because I don't need an American Sign Language interpreter. I don't have to think about communicating with others.That's a privilege I have.

Privilege is usually not something we actively do. It's just a benefit that we get because of certain things about us that affect how we interact with society.

Honestly, Kirsten, I was as confused/dubious as you are about this a few years ago. For a whole variety of reasons I notice it more now than I used to. I'd say don't worry about "getting it". 

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SugarMagnolia

Oops. Hit submit before I was done...

...don't worry about getting it. Just pay attention when people point something out and over time you may start to see it more clearly. That's how it worked for me.

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MaryMary

I wrote that topic some time ago in reaction to something someone said to me. I'm pleased to see just how much people have written in that topic :D

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Kirsten

Okay. I thought that way to begin with Julie. I don’t think I quite understand the male female trans non trans gay straight etc etc etc. which may be a product of my geography. But I do understand what you mean about say hearing or sight or something like that. 

As you said it may be something time listening and understanding will make clearer.

Would you say it’s a privilege that people don’t have to sit at the ssi building all day to change their name before the “president” takes that right away? That’s where I am right now. 😔 

@RithiaAllen I am sorry if I upset you. I try to learn all that I can do as to be armed against others that would choose to keep our community down. Knowledge is power and I am in a constant fight to learn all I can. I don’t know where my journey is going, but I hope it’s somewhere positive for more than just myself. 

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MaryMary

the original feeling is that a woman told me (via internet of course) that I had male privilege growing up so that's why I was in the position i'm in right now. I was quite angered inside because I faced so many abuse and was suicidal for most of 20 years of my life. I wrote this blog with the ironic title of 'trans privilege' . I feel I'm where I am right now without much privilege at all. Even less then cis woman. They at least have the privilege to be able to be themselves and live a fulfilling love life. I have to fight for those two very basic things.

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RithiaAllen
Just now, Kirsten said:

@RithiaAllen I am sorry if I upset you. I try to learn all that I can do as to be armed against others that would choose to keep our community down. Knowledge is power and I am in a constant fight to learn all I can. I don’t know where my journey is going, but I hope it’s somewhere positive for more than just myself. 

It’s ok. I’m sorry I went off my rocker.

 

I think Mary summed up the privilege just right. 

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SugarMagnolia

@Kirsten We could probably spend hours listing out possible privileges for any situation. At the risk of stirring up a hornets nest I'll try a few. Keep in mind these are just illustrative and they're not equivalent to each other. Some are quite trivial and some have other sides of the same coin that are unpleasant

Male: Paying less to get a shirt dry cleaned even if it's the same material and construction just because it buttons on the "male" side
Female: Being able to express a wide variety of emotions without social stigma
Trans: Being considered "brave" just for being who you are (I know, it's a stretch)
Cis: Never having to explain why your voice and name don't match when you call customer service (or the ssi thing)
Straight: Being able to hold hands or kiss in public without people telling you not to flaunt your lifestyle
Gay/Lesbian:  Honestly not sure. Not having to argue about whether the toilet seat should stay up or down?

This is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but hopefully you get the idea 🙂

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Jani
8 hours ago, SugarMagnolia said:

Usually when people discuss privilege it's about the smaller harder to notice things.

Julie this is exactly what privilege is.  All your examples are good.  Dry cleaning, certainly!  I can also think of haircuts.  I've used the same stylist for over 35 years and at times had very long hair that took time to cut, yet the price was much less than my wife.  Now I pay the higher price!   Quite frequently the privileges are micro actions that aren't even noticed or paid attention to.  

 

On 6/8/2018 at 9:12 PM, Jani said:

While I have seen male privilege in action it is not something I've ever experienced, to my knowledge.

When I wrote this I wasn't thinking about the subtle ways I was privileged, particularly growing up as the oldest, and as male.  It's not always the big experience, but its enough to say "Step aside, I got this!"

 

Jani

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      Dysphoria can be hard to grasp if you've never had to deal with it yourself. Give her some time. It sounds like she loves you and in the end, that's enough.   Hugs!
    • Jackie C.
      Hi, trans-lesbian here. I totally understand what you're going through. Let's see...   Until I got big enough to wear mom's things, I'd turn my underwear around and use my imagination. I have an excellent imagination. Tucking was easier then too.   The rush of hormones into the teen years (plus extra steroids because mother didn't want to deal with my OTHER health problems) kept the dysphoria down to a dull roar, so check. I'm still attracted to women so it wasn't all bad, but I still give off a certain something and cis-women pick up on it. I had a lot of female friends, but I couldn't buy a real, romantic date.   Then I spiraled into a self-destructive cyclone of depression so you don't have that working against you. Good news! Don't try that by the way. I do not recommend the spiral of depression. I was miserable and made everybody around me miserable. During the spiral there was very much a porn phase. I'd dream that I was like the trans women (I tend to prefer cartoons/artwork, anything can happen in a cartoon) or that I'd become a woman to achieve release. I'll be honest. Those were intense and got me through the day, but they didn't really make the dysphoria go away. The refrain for my life was, "Gosh, I'd have made an excellent woman." So yeah, depression, slow march towards death. I didn't pay any attention to my health (also a terrible idea, but I was committing suicide in slow motion) and didn't pay any attention to my appearance. I didn't follow any of my passions. I didn't follow up on any of my projects. Life for me was just waiting for it to be over. I was miserable. I made the people around me pretty miserable too. Don't do that part. That was a terrible, awful, no good part of my life and I'm glad to be past it.   So what did I do? The first thing was embrace who I am. I was pretty sure I knew what the problem was, so I waited until my wife was out of town for a while, got some prosthetic help and dressed (Badly. There are pictures.I attached one because life is a journey or something. ) the way that felt right. It was amazing. It's still amazing. I greet myself every morning with a smile. So yeah, that used to be me. About two years ago for reference.   Let's see, after that I got a therapist. I recommend this very strongly. You want someone to talk to when you're dealing with this. Then I got into shape. Well, I'm still getting into shape but I completely changed my diet, I watch my calories and I go to the gym five times a week for about two and a half hours per session. (I started with an hour a day, if I'd done my routine now when I started, my heart would have exploded. Consult a doctor if you're not sure.)   Then was coming out to people. My wife was first. I've told this story before, but it was important to me that she know. My wife is awesome. She accepted me as I am. I'm still the person she married and she still loves me. I rushed into this part because I was so happy and I wanted to share my happiness with her. My friends were next and they were easier than I would have thought. They basically said, "Well duh," and we moved past it. I did give them ample warning before I sprung anything new on them (For example: Hey, I'm dressing as Robyn this week. Let me know if that makes you uncomfortable.) Family was harder. Mom cut me out of her life. My appearance "is disturbing." Dad's fine with it, but he has to live with mom so there's that. Fortunately, my mother is an incredibly toxic individual so it's not much of a loss. Work is a non-issue for me. I work from home. Nobody cares. Your profile doesn't list a state, so I can't say if you have any trans protections where you're from. I talk to TLDEF (Trans Legal Defense) and the pro-bono lawyer they set me up with when I have questions along those lines. I completely get being nervous about coming out to people. You never know how they'll react. It was probably the most nerve-wracking thing I've ever done, but I needed to do it to get where I wanted to be. I got through it and I'm better for the experience.   So my advice would be to find a therapist and work out what makes you happy. If you want to transition, figure out what you need to pursue it. If you don't, that's fine too. I have a friend who is only "Jenny" on the weekends and for special events and she's perfectly happy that way. Find the balance that's right for you. Live your best life.   I hope some of that helped. I ramble. I blame the estrogen.   Hugs!  
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