Tuesday, 11 December 2012 05:39

Exploring Gender: Privilege

Written by  Cael

Privilege is a status conferred to certain groups by society, not taken by individuals. In this way, privilege is not something of which we are generally aware, but there are inherent advantages and disadvantages to being a part of certain groups. How does being a part of the trans* community affect privilege?

When making a transition from presenting as female to presenting as male, we gain that male privilege: not to be sexually harassed (far less so than women), not to be shamed for wearing certain clothes, not to be shamed for having multiple sex partners, among others (a decent male privilege checklist can be found here). Conversely, coming into female spaces, you lose that male privilege: becoming less likely to get a job versus a male counterpart, more likely to get paid less than a male counterpart, more likely to experience street harassment (many of these lost privileges correspond simply to being trans* as well).

Cis privilege consists of all of those things we really don’t think about until we are in the trans* community or have friends in the community: being able to have government identification which corresponds to your identity, having laws which protect our rights to employment, having adequate healthcare, being able to travel without fear, having access to gendered facilities without fear (a full cis privilege checklist can be found here).

At every point of transition, privilege changes. I know when I am out to eat with a female friend, the host or waitress will look to me for direction or give me the check. It is important to pay attention to these changes, even if small, and to realize how privilege is affecting you. Only with awareness of our privilege can we understand the workings of other groups and people and try to fix the imbalances.

Let me know what you think in the comments, message me here or on tumblr, or email me.

Cael
poetcael73@gmail.com