Male Privilege

I just read an interesting post by a trans girl who lives in a part of the US where it’s safe to say that many of the folks in power are misogynistic. She’s feeling some guilt at having had that privilege and besides, having been on the receiving end of male privilege while never being male at all, as to what counts: her brain structure.

I relate. I rose in industry in a highly misogynistic society that saw me as a male. As a trans girl, would I have had the same opportunities? No. In fact, I’d have been, quite simply, dead. As hints of my femininity shone through in spite of my efforts to conceal them, life became very dangerous for me until I moved far away from where I was living at the time. I started over, in a vastly more open-minded society … yet was it still misogynistic? Yes, just less so.

By the time I came out openly as a trans girl, I owned several businesses including a custom software development business. I was doing well enough financially. However, the economy wasn’t, and my personal economics would soon follow.

I came close to being homeless, in large part due to being utterly broke with a horrible credit record, one very cold, dark December not that long ago. Some clients and friends simply went dark permanently, when I came out as a trans girl. Whoever continued funding my work was rationally focused on their own business benefits: whether a trans girl or not, I had added much value over the years, and they knew it.  So, it made sense for them to keep me involved even though I looked, sounded and felt excruciatingly awkward. Most of the interaction with them was over the Internet and phone anyway.

My point here is that coming out puts everything to the test. I don’t know why I somehow ended just ended up with the mental image of a Terminator being hit by a flame-thrower.  Everything extraneous burns away, but the essence of what’s strong … that remains. So during transition I certainly burned away every credit I’d been given when I was thought to be male. Although a few exceptions did exist, it’s safe to say that for most of my clients, me being a trans girl was socially far lower on the social-acceptability scale than being male or a genetically integrated girl. Whatever remained, did so out of sheer merit.

So, as to any injustice a t-girl might feel she endorsed by riding the wave of male privilege however far it took her … coming out is like being mauled in the surf. It’s a grim analogy because even in less-than-knee-deep water, an able adult can nevertheless drown in the surf. If, in spite of all that, you can get up and keep going, whatever you carry with you then, you deserve.

 

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