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Dana Michelle

Male Privilege and Transgender Women

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Dana Michelle

I don't like when people generalize transgender women as having male privilege. Maybe some do but that doesn't mean all transgender women do. Sometimes people claim that even after living as female, someone who once was regarded as male can never appreciate what it is like to be subject to sexism. One time Caitlyn Jenner said the hardest thing about being a woman was picking what to wear (which sounds to me like a joke rather than a serious statement), and Rose McGowan responded saying that that Caitlyn Jenner has a "lifetime of male privilege", even though she has not been living as male for her entire lifetime.


Even when presenting as male, transgender women may have mannerisms or appear in ways that are not stereotypically masculine, which can result in discrimination and harassment. There is pretty much nothing on "male privilege" lists that I get to do, although not all of this is because of being transgender (some of it is from being disabled). My disability benefits would not be lower if I were AFAB. I have had no real educational opportunities. I have not been sexually assaulted, but I sit at home all day. Most victims of sexual assault are assaulted by someone who knew them. Since I sit at home all day, I don't know anyone outside my family, and nobody in my family is a sexual predator, so I don't see how I would get assaulted if I were AFAB. A stranger who is a sexual predator would not find me when I sit in my room all day if I were AFAB.


I've once seen explaining the difficulties transgender women have over cisgender women as oppression olympics (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppression_Olympics). While technically it is, I think it is also oppression olympics to generalize transgender women as having male privilege. I also think people should be able to defend themselves when someone downplays how they are marginalized, so I think a certain amount of oppression olympics from transgender women is justified.


Before someone puts words in my mouth, I'm not saying that cisgender men do not have male privilege. There are probably a few who don't but almost all cisgender men do. What I'm saying is that some transgender women (including me) do not have male privilege.

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Suzanne1

Interesting post.  Most of my contemplation w/ re: to privilege has concerned itself w/ socio-economic & professional/political  privilege.  Haven't spent much time pondering the notion of gender privilege. 

 

My observation has been that a commonality between men & women is that each gender/sex has their respective privileges and burdens.

 

Again, interesting post.

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VickySGV

The overall use of the term "Privilege", (at first in regard to racial stereotypes and segregation,) has been around for just about 55 years and there is still no one definition of what it all entails, although it has been a subject I was forced to study in its inception, just in order to survive in my college environment in Behavioral Science fields.  The problem is not in the actual Behavioral Scientists who have been able to see certain places where some groups do have  greater acceptance and accessibility to desirable social and economic status.  The problem comes from those who weaponize it against people  who are not even sure what it means when the weaponizer is using the term without thorough understanding as well.  It is unknown at this time whether Trans women do have accessibility to goals and status that the Radical Feminists desire or want to claim as their own and for now it is a weapon of words to fuel hatred. 

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KayC

Leaving this as a reminder for me to come back to this topic when I have time later tonight.  I find it very interesting .. and I am contemplating my feelings about this.

 

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KayC

I'm back ☺️

4 hours ago, Suzanne1 said:

My observation has been that a commonality between men & women is that each gender/sex has their respective privileges and burdens.

If you've read much of my previous posts you will probably already know I detest labels and boxes we are put into, by society and by our own lack of self confidence in who we are.
That being said, having lived my whole life to this point as a man (and not yet transitioned) I can assert that western society "bestows" a defacto male privilege whether men in that society or culture chose to use it or not.  It just exists, and will likely be that way for the foreseeable future.
While in American society women have come "a long way, baby" the Me Too movement exemplifies how much farther we have to go.

 

... and I also agree, both cis-gender categories share their own burdens too.  I believe having to fill the traditional role of non-emotional, macho provider is a huge burden for men, whether they realize it or not.  Not to mention of being a slave at times to our testosterone driven need for sex and power (as a replacement for sex). 

I truly believe in the yin-yang theory that we are all masculine/feminine to some extent and the shackles society puts on men to avoid any feminine aspect of their character is both a challenge and a burden.  But, believe me, we (men) get the benefit of our gender stature more than the short-end.
So!
Where does that leave Trans men and women?  I won't really know until I fully transition and live my life as a transwoman, but I do have trepidation on how I will be treated by both (some, not all)) cis-gender men and women.  To me we are unique in that way, in that we may never receive the full benefit or privilege of either cis-gender category, but take on the burden of potentially being viewed as an outcast by much of society.  Hopefully this will change over time.

I can say this also.  When I eventually present/live as a woman, I don't have any expectation that I will ever truly know or understand how it feels to be a born and live as a woman in modern society. 
Similarly, I don't expect I will receive any benefits of male privilege if I don't present as male.  BUT!  I have one advantage in dealing with male privilege ... been there, done that ... and know how to take somebody down if they try to exert themselves over me (not in a physical way, but I know the "weak" pressure points of the male psyche).   So, don't mess with this girl! 

In the end, I prefer to view being transgender as a true benefit ... I can enjoy both the good and difficult aspect of my gender identity from a unique perspective, and in that manner build a life of true compassion toward my fellow human being.  The good, the bad, and the unique (can't say ugly🤫)

❤️
 

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sleepinflame
4 hours ago, VickySGV said:

The problem is not in the actual Behavioral Scientists who have been able to see certain places where some groups do have  greater acceptance and accessibility to desirable social and economic status.

Right, privilege is a real thing.  I've lived as a male my whole life and I have a lot of thoughts about how males interact with males then with women.  I'm a little different internally,  (lol, why else am I here?)  so I fit into that slightly strangely, but that is a whole different topic.

 

I've got two stories.  One is from an intersex friend of mine who was reared male and switched to the female role a few years ago.  She said her business got trashed when she presented as a woman because the men would no longer deal with her as a serious engineer ... IDK, I'd be inserting my own words about the specifics, so I'll leave it at that.

 

The other is a discussion I had with my mom when I was trying to get my daughter to go to Mt. Holyoke.  (BTW she just graduated from CMU today.)  Mom is an educator of teachers of English, so these words come from a professional.  She was telling me that studies show that girls in classes without boys get a better education because if there are boys in the class, then the girls get ignored.  Her personal proof point about this was that she can't help doing it herself when teaching even though she knows the research.  That is, favoring the boys in class over the girls.

 

Best,

Grace

 

 

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sleepinflame
36 minutes ago, KayC said:

I have one advantage in dealing with male privilege ... been there, done that ... and know how to take somebody down

Ya, you can call them on their bull.  :)

 

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KayC
27 minutes ago, sleepinflame said:

Ya, you can call them on their bull.  :)

Hah!! Exactly❣️

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sleepinflame
39 minutes ago, KayC said:

Hah!! Exactly❣️

And when they go on about how irrational their wives are, I just roll my eyes - Grace

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Dana Michelle
6 hours ago, KayC said:

That being said, having lived my whole life to this point as a man (and not yet transitioned) I can assert that western society "bestows" a defacto male privilege whether men in that society or culture chose to use it or not.  It just exists, and will likely be that way for the foreseeable future.
 

I'm not disputing that male privilege exists. I have a problem when people say everyone AMAB has male privilege. Society has given me no opportunities in employment and education. It's not that I am choosing not to take advantage of male privilege. Society has not given me a choice. If social advantages that most (but not all) AMAB people have are not a requirement for male privilege then what does male privilege even mean?


My full inclusion teacher didn't care that I had no educational opportunities, but she was very supportive of women's rights and was excited to see girls have opportunities in math and science. If I were AFAB, she probably would have wanted to make sure I had the same opportunities as other students. Ironically, if I had always been female, I would at least had "male privilege" in education.

 

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Dana Michelle
7 hours ago, sleepinflame said:

The other is a discussion I had with my mom when I was trying to get my daughter to go to Mt. Holyoke.  (BTW she just graduated from CMU today.)  Mom is an educator of teachers of English, so these words come from a professional.  She was telling me that studies show that girls in classes without boys get a better education because if there are boys in the class, then the girls get ignored.  Her personal proof point about this was that she can't help doing it herself when teaching even though she knows the research.  That is, favoring the boys in class over the girls.

There were a lot of boys with rowdy behavior when I was in school. Does anyone know if it is common for transgender girls to be rowdy? I was the quiet type. If other transgender girls are also the quiet type, I would expect them to get ignored in a class of boys too.

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KathyLauren
1 hour ago, Dana Michelle said:

There were a lot of boys with rowdy behavior when I was in school. Does anyone know if it is common for transgender girls to be rowdy? I was the quiet type. If other transgender girls are also the quiet type, I would expect them to get ignored in a class of boys too.

 

I was definitely the quiet, nerdy type.

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Mmindy
10 hours ago, KayC said:

In the end, I prefer to view being transgender as a true benefit ... I can enjoy both the good and difficult aspect of my gender identity from a unique perspective, and in that manner build a life of true compassion toward my fellow human being.  The good, the bad, and the unique (can't say ugly🤫)

So true, I've always seen my empathy & compassion from a nurturing female perspective, even as the boss on the scene. I just pushed my guy mode self forward.

 

Two Spirits really fits here for me.

 

Mindy🐛🌈🦋❤️

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Mx.Drago
16 hours ago, sleepinflame said:

The other is a discussion I had with my mom when I was trying to get my daughter to go to Mt. Holyoke.  (BTW she just graduated from CMU today.)

Congratulations to you both.🤗

 

9 hours ago, Dana Michelle said:

I'm not disputing that male privilege exists. I have a problem when people say everyone AMAB has male privilege. Society has given me no opportunities in employment and education. It's not that I am choosing not to take advantage of male privilege. Society has not given me a choice. If social advantages that most (but not all) AMAB people have are not a requirement for male privilege then what does male privilege even mean?

My full inclusion teacher didn't care that I had no educational opportunities, but she was very supportive of women's rights and was excited to see girls have opportunities in math and science. If I were AFAB, she probably would have wanted to make sure I had the same opportunities as other students. Ironically, if I had always been female, I would at least had "male privilege" in education.

I understand your position. It's true that not all AMAB do to difference in nature, don't all apply. But being AFAB, isn't any better, women can see eachother as competition from my experience, they help eachother to key an eye on eachother, like controlling a club, you only get entry so long as you apply accordingly to expectations. Dog eat dog, there can be only the strongest, menality. 

I'm starting to feel "male privilege" is just an aggressive excuse, developed for centuries of breeding and separation purposes, and used like an tool to any trick to support and continue a system that requires specific people to behave a certain way and keep the fear curtailing them into place, people make money off its implementation. Men don't get the privilege unless they are assertive or aggressive in approach. Anybody else not applying are disregarded. The internet became the x-factor needed to get around the tradition, cuz they can't control the learning process or apply it accordingly...ha nature found a way. I find the disadvantage is intentionally drilled into and reasserted to subjegate.

Teachers can be a x-factor but risk being heavily socially scrutinizy for not reading the script they wrote for the semester that's has been pre-agreed upon, nothing but the best students.Too many young people have to find a way a lot by themselves, walking with lots of older strangers you hope are understanding enough to try incourage the best happiness and productivity they could achieve," be all that you can be," stuff so long as you can fill in this forms and fill in the boxes.

It's not cool or in anyway amusing, that on your way to filing the boxes, you just agonized over filling out, have everybody look you up and down like a scanner. Every step you take, every move you make. Takes a lot to break the cookie cutter and to be recognized. Feel doomed like the ginger breadman.😑

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KayC
12 hours ago, Mmindy said:

Two Spirits really fits here for me.

That's great, Mindy!  That is my experience also .. even though it can be difficult at times. 🤔

16 hours ago, Dana Michelle said:

I have a problem when people say everyone AMAB has male privilege

Hi Dana.  My apologies.  I did not really intend that comment to come across as an "absolute" because I know those don't exist.
And I understand your point exactly.

In society there are so many layers and strata of "Privilege" that is doesn't not exist just in gender identity, even when it does, sometimes the roles can be reversed.  While I believe America is truly the land of opportunity, opportunity exists differently for so many race, class, cultures, income, and yes, gender (probably missed a few 😁)

Coming from my own very middle-class situation I had to work and earn everything I was able to achieve .. but I recognize that while I did not necessarily get a boost from being born white/male, it did remove some barriers for me.

The main point I was trying to make though was at the end of my post.  I appreciate you including your unique personal experience also.
hugs❣️

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Dana Michelle

 

9 hours ago, KayC said:

That's great, Mindy!  That is my experience also .. even though it can be difficult at times. 🤔

Hi Dana.  My apologies.  I did not really intend that comment to come across as an "absolute" because I know those don't exist.
And I understand your point exactly.

In society there are so many layers and strata of "Privilege" that is doesn't not exist just in gender identity, even when it does, sometimes the roles can be reversed.  While I believe America is truly the land of opportunity, opportunity exists differently for so many race, class, cultures, income, and yes, gender (probably missed a few 😁)

Coming from my own very middle-class situation I had to work and earn everything I was able to achieve .. but I recognize that while I did not necessarily get a boost from being born white/male, it did remove some barriers for me.

The main point I was trying to make though was at the end of my post.  I appreciate you including your unique personal experience also.
hugs❣️

 

Thanks for clarifying. I understand now.

 

On 5/22/2020 at 10:49 PM, KayC said:

 

In the end, I prefer to view being transgender as a true benefit ... I can enjoy both the good and difficult aspect of my gender identity from a unique perspective, and in that manner build a life of true compassion toward my fellow human being.  The good, the bad, and the unique (can't say ugly🤫)

 

❤️
 

 

I partly agree and partly disagree. I would really prefer to have been born cisgender female (right now I mean for the purpose of being myself rather than related to social advantages/disadvantages). Because I am transgender, I will never get pregnant, I do not have childhood pictures of myself as a girl, and my body will always have more masculine features than the majority of cisgender women.


On the other hand, having lived in the wrong body for so long, it will be very exciting when I finally get to have the face and body that are right for me. This is an excitement I would not have if I were cisgender, so there is a silver lining.

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KayC
35 minutes ago, Dana Michelle said:

This is an excitement I would not have if I were cisgender, so there is a silver lining.

I agree with both your points, Dana.  Thank you for the follow up❣️

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Dana Michelle

I like what this article has to say: https://medium.com/the-establishment/what-trans-women-have-is-far-more-complicated-than-male-privilege-a39af51fde62 . One thing it says is the advantages some transgender women have from being perceived as male are not privileges but fringe benefits. The author argues that privileges are unearned advantages, but for transgender women it comes at a high price. The article also discusses disadvantages transgender women experience while presenting as male, such as harassment and violence due to behaviours perceived as feminine.


Something else that I think is important to note is that after transgender women start presenting and being perceived as female, they not only start to experience the sexism that women are subject to, but also transphobia on top of it. Whatever advantages transgender women had in male mode, it goes wayyyyyy down after transition.

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Susan R
2 hours ago, Dana Michelle said:

Something else that I think is important to note is that after transgender women start presenting and being perceived as female, they not only start to experience the sexism that women are subject to, but also transphobia on top of it.

I haven’t experienced much, if any, sexism as a trans woman presenting female...yet. When I presented androgynous for the 8 months between starting HRT and going full time, I had a few people give me a double take on looks. They were likely wondering what gender I was but no transphobic experiences or discrimination.

However, after a month of going full time last May, I started getting my nails done professionally each month. I noticed transphobic and discriminatory behavior and had to change nail salons because of it.  Even that didn’t help. I found another nail salon in town and was hoping they’d be different.  Nope! I noticed I was being overcharged a little more with each visit for the same nail style. I’m not the type to make a big scene in front of 25 woman over a few dollars so I stayed quiet but it does eat at you. I mentioned this to a girlfriend and she said...“ OK, let me go with you next time and I’ll do the same nails. So sure enough, we both went and had the exact same nails done...dipping powder French tips. I had my natural nails long enough to not warrant acrylic extensions and my g/f had to have the acrylics added on her nails for length. In an hour, we both had the same identical beautifully French tipped nails. Her bill was $37 + tip and mine was $54 + tip.😜 Needless to say I never went back and started doing my own French tips and with the lockdown it worked out even better. But that’s the kind of experiences you can expect if society today sees you as trans. That’s why I try to go stealth as much as possible now.  Sexism will not be an improvement over discrimination and I’ll probably experience a little of each I would imagine. I can’t think of any time though since going presenting female full time that I’ve experienced any male privilege. Could be just me..who knows?

 

Susan R🌷

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Erikka

I have had doors opened for me, gas pumped without asking and other small courtesies like being allowed to get waited on in a store first. But I have also been cutoff in the aisles of grocery stores while pushing a cart or like when a “gentleman” sped up to deny me the ability to change lanes and hen cuss me out for being (a bit of brevity here) a (expletive deleted) ( expletive deleted) bitch. Or perhaps it is The blond hair and boobs that inflames men drivers. Whatever. It is a crap shoot each and every day. 

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KayC
2 hours ago, Susan R said:

I noticed transphobic and discriminatory behavior and had to change nail salons because of it.

When I first entered this subject post I was looking at it from the cis-men side, but Susan you bring up another part of it that I thought about later, and too me might be more worrisome.

How are transwomen treated by cis-women?  If we present (and basically are) women, are we also considered "oucasts" by cis-women?  Not all of course, but similar to Susan's account?

Anybody else have experience with this?

 

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Sally Stone

Kay,

 

In all my years presenting as a woman, I can only recall a couple of negative encounters with cis women.  Most have been wonderful.  One of the two negative encounters was with a woman who was, by her own admission, a feminist.  Quite simply, she considered me a threat to her existence as woman, and explained that I could never know what it was like to really be female.  I honestly believe that many of the negative reactions that cis women have to us, is from this feminist perspective, that we are somehow a threat.

 

I don't believe this is a common view, however, because most cis women I have met and interacted with are perfectly okay with my feminine self-expression.  The other thing I notice, is that cis women tend to be genuinely curious about me and aren't afraid to ask questions.  I welcome curiosity, but then I've never considered someone who is curious as intolerant.  

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Erikka

I too have only run into negative verbal comments once in great while. Most cis women accept me as a woman albeit a very large and hulking woman. The two most memorable was a woman in the lingerie department at Penny’s in Medford, OR where the woman looked at me while was shopping for bras and I was so funny she snorted and sprayed snot over the bra see was looking at and the second was in my hometown at a restaurant where she kept looking at me and loudly proclaiming me to be a (expletive deleted) -transgender- and that it was shameful for a (expletive deleted) tyranny to be eating where children were present. After they left and I was ready to pay the bill the owner let me know that dinner that night was on the house and thanked me for not responding and that party would not be welcome in the future. 
 Mostly I get smiles.

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Susan R
9 hours ago, KayC said:

How are transwomen treated by cis-women?  If we present (and basically are) women, are we also considered "oucasts" by cis-women?  Not all of course, but similar to Susan's account?

Anybody else have experience with this?

@KayC I have to say that for the most part cis women are among the most accepting thus far into my transition. I won’t go into detail on this thread but if you are interested in this topic, back in April, I wrote about my experiences with women in general and how I am treated now.

Approachability: A Very Nice & Unexpected Change

 

Susan R🌷

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Just Lee

This is a highly volatile subject that could get heated so I won't fully go there. I will say however, that here in NH, we had a long standing sexist code. In the Union Leader or any other classifieds here, there's a phrase code of "Must be able to lift 50 lbs and over." It's a blatant way of saying MEN ONLY. Women need not apply. I found this out by accident in my early 20's. I'd been in the air force, worked in stables where lifting 50 lbs happened a dozen times a day with feed, manure and tack. I applied for the job but the guy saw a 5 foot female and immediately said, "This ain't the place for you little girl. The ad is for men. Gotta lift 50 lbs." No joke. 

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