Recently, I got a message from someone compiling a reading list on trans resources and noticed it was dominated by resources by/for male & masculine identified folks. This has also been the case in much of my experience. So I decided to start compiling a list of introductory resources about trans identity and anti-oppression written by trans women and femmes.
“Could someone who is raised male really understand sexism? Trans women were socialized male, so they had male privilege.”
When I was a kid, I knew I didn’t want to be a boy. Whenever someone told me “act tough, you’re a boy!” I knew it didn’t apply to me. So I ignored it. And I suffered for ignoring it. Whenever someone told me to do something “because that’s what boys are supposed to do,” I did the opposite. I paid the price.
Is it really a privilege to have the entire world try to force you to be something you aren’t, and punish you and leave you to die alone when you refuse to comply? There is a difference between growing up as a cis boy and growing up as a trans girl, even if we hadn’t learned what to call it yet.
Because of my gender, I internalized all of the same Disney princesses that cis girls did, and, as a bonus, I also got verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. And that’s just my childhood! Trans women are worse off than cis women of comparable demographics in every measurable way to the extreme — unemployment, income, mental illness, homelessness, incarceration, sexual assault. Multiple studies have confirmed that close to half of trans people have attempted suicide.
I grew up in a working-class family with lots of kids. I was the oldest. I washed the dishes, cooked the meals, held the babies, took the kids to school. Now, I live as a woman. Until they find out I’m trans, the entire world treats me as a woman (especially because I have a lot of passing-as-cis privilege, which is real but still doesn’t give me as much privilege as cis women and is always precarious and conditional). Once they find out I’m trans, they treat me as less-than-human. I’ve been raped. I get sexually harassed and assaulted just as much as cis women do.
What do you think? Do I have male privilege? Do I know what violence against women looks like? Do you? If you still think I have male privilege, I shouldn’t think so. Putting aside for a moment that you are using the very same logic and saying the very same things that misogynists shout when they take away our rights or our lives, will lecturing me about how I can never understand the female experience do anything to bring cis women closer to freedom? We should be centering the most marginalized women, not disowning them the same way so many of our families already have.
“Would trans people still exist if we didn’t have sexist gender roles?”