The Non-Trans Privilege Checklist

[I was following links to different “privilege knapsacks”1 (via Shrub.com’s sidebar, and also via this post at New Game Plus), but the link to the “non-trans privilege checklist” had died. I found the text in the google cache, but since that might not persist, I decided to reprint it on “Alas” to keep it available.

I also considered renaming this “The Cisgendered Privilege Knapsack,” because I like the word “cisgendered” and would like to propagate it, but the original author (whoever it is) called it the non-trans privilege checklist, and who am I to change that?

Author unknown. If you happen to know who wrote this, please let me know in comments. Like all the “privilege checklists,” this owes a debt to Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. –Amp]

The Non-Trans Privilege Checklist

1) Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.

2) My validity as a man/woman/human is not based upon how much surgery I’ve had or how well I “pass” as a non-Trans person.

3) When initiating sex with someone, I do not have to worry that they won’t be able to deal with my parts or that having sex with me will cause my partner to question his or her own sexual orientation.

4) I am not excluded from events which are either explicitely or de facto* men-born-men or women-born-women only. (*basically anything involving nudity)

5) My politics are not questioned based on the choices I make with regard to my body.

6) I don’t have to hear “so have you had THE surgery?” or “oh, so you’re REALLY a [incorrect sex or gender]?” each time I come out to someone.

7) I am not expected to constantly defend my medical decisions.

8) Strangers do not ask me what my “real name” [birth name] is and then assume that they have a right to call me by that name.

9) People do not disrespect me by using incorrect pronouns even after they’ve been corrected.

10) I do not have to worry that someone wants to be my friend or have sex with me in order to prove his or her “hipness” or good politics.

11) I do not have to worry about whether I will be able to find a bathroom to use or whether I will be safe changing in a locker room.

12) When engaging in political action, I do not have to worry about the *gendered* repurcussions of being arrested. (i.e. what will happen to me if the cops find out that my genitals do not match my gendered appearance? Will I end up in a cell with people of my own gender?)

13) I do not have to defend my right to be a part of “Queer” and gays and lesbians will not try to exclude me from OUR movement in order to gain political legitimacy for themselves.

14) My experience of gender (or gendered spaces) is not viewed as “baggage” by others of the gender in which I live.

15) I do not have to choose between either invisibility (“passing”) or being consistently “othered” and/or tokenized based on my gender.

16) I am not told that my sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive.

17) When I go to the gym or a public pool, I can use the showers.

18) If I end up in the emergency room, I do not have to worry that my gender will keep me from receiving appropriate treatment nor will all of my medical issues be seen as a product of my gender. (“Your nose is running and your throat hurts? Must be due to the hormones!”)

19) My health insurance provider (or public health system) does not specifically exclude me from receiving benefits or treatments available to others because of my gender.

20) When I express my internal identities in my daily life, I am not considered “mentally ill” by the medical establishment.

21) I am not required to undergo extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care.

22) The medical establishment does not serve as a “gatekeeper” which disallows self-determination of what happens to my body.

23) People do not use me as a scapegoat for their own unresolved gender issues.

  1. Which are universally referred to as “privilege checklists,” and that’s pretty much my fault, I fear. But McIntosh, who started it all, called it “unpacking the privilege knapsack.” []
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119 Responses to The Non-Trans Privilege Checklist

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  5. 5
    tekanji says:

    Thanks for the link! You might want to change it to my blog, though, ’cause otherwise people might get confused when they see a different sidebar :)

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Whoops! Thanks for the catch, I’ve fixed it.

  7. 7
    Achilles and Patroclus says:

    Amen, Ampersand. Well said.

    I like #4 and #13 particularly.

    One of the things that has really bugged me for a long time is the thread of anti trans sentiment in gay and lesbian culture. No doubt it’s even worse in straight culture (duh!) but that’s not the culture I spend most of my time in, and honestly, I have higher expectations for my people.

  8. 8
    Molly says:

    Great list…but I think that 5,22, and 23 also apply to women.

    5) My politics are not questioned based on the choices I make with regard to my body.

    Women’s politics are questioned based on choices made about their bodies (reproductive rights)

    22) The medical establishment does not serve as a “gatekeeper” which disallows self-determination of what happens to my body.

    Many women don’t have access to proper birth control based on “gatekeeper” doctors and/or pharmacists

    23) People do not use me as a scapegoat for their own unresolved gender issues.

    I know it’s not the same thing…but still. Again, great list with many good points.

  9. 9
    Deborah says:

    This is a great list and powerful. But some of these things do apply to cisgendered folks as well.

    2) Any cisgendered person who is in any way androgynous has dealt with the “passing” issue. Boys with long hair are called girls. Butch women are kicked out of Ladies Rooms. Twistyfaster has done good blogging on being harrassed and called “not a woman” for being “not feminine enough.”

    5) Are you fucking kidding me? From simple choices like growing a beard or shaving your legs, to complex choices like having an abortion or breastfeeding or having gastric bypass, many, many cisgendered choices about our bodies are tied to politics, and often our politics are questioned as “inconsistent” with our choices.

    8) This is certainly something that happens whenever someone changes their name to something unusual. For example, converts to Hinduism or Islam may change their name and then get asked for their “real” (Western) name. Their choice to be called “Prem Das” instead of “Thomas” (I’m making up my examples) are dishonored.

    10) Many people face this for many different reasons. Transgendered people face it in a particular way, but other people face it in other ways. I could come up with a dozen examples.

    23) Meh. That sounds like the human condition to me; everyone using everyone else as a scapegoat.

  10. 10
    Q Grrl says:

    Amp, your normal creativity seems to be napping!

    Most of these apply to women and women’s stuggle with imposed social/gender hierarchies, either with enforced femininity or with castigation for being too masculine. They are all, except perhaps for issues of surgery, especially pertinent to lesbians.

  11. 11
    shannon says:

    I’m cisgendered and also, I don’t have to worry someone will beat me down because of my gender presentation.

  12. 12
    piny says:

    8) This is certainly something that happens whenever someone changes their name to something unusual. For example, converts to Hinduism or Islam may change their name and then get asked for their “real” (Western) name. Their choice to be called “Prem Das” instead of “Thomas” (I’m making up my examples) are dishonored.

    Yes, and that’s an example of xenophobia and/or racism. People don’t insist on knowing the name of their real gender, though.

    10) Many people face this for many different reasons. Transgendered people face it in a particular way, but other people face it in other ways. I could come up with a dozen examples.

    23) Meh. That sounds like the human condition to me; everyone using everyone else as a scapegoat.

    This argument could apply to every -privilege list ever created. There’s an understood, “Because you’re transgendered, transsexual, or gendervariant in certain other ways” in there. POCs and transpeople are both the site of dominant-group sexual anxieties; that doesn’t mean that the specificity of the prejudice they face does not exist, or that people who are not trans or who are white are not protected by virtue of their status.

    Most of these apply to women and women’s stuggle with imposed social/gender hierarchies, either with enforced femininity or with castigation for being too masculine. They are all, except perhaps for issues of surgery, especially pertinent to lesbians.

    Right–although I wouldn’t confine trans-specific health issues to surgery. For example, Cal Thomas memorably referred to Ellen Degeneres’ lesbianism as “a mockery of womanhood.” Sexual orientation is frequently used as a criterion for gender or acceptance within a given gender; that goes for gendered presentation cues as well.

    I think that some of the items on this list are specific to transsexuals or people who transition, and that some can be generalized to gendervariant people, which in this society frequently includes people who aren’t straight. More conscientious phrasing would also help describe the position of transsexuals. Going back to this one, for example:

    16) I am not told that my sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive.

    Officially for several decades, and in practice in some places today, non-heterosexual orientation was considered a disqualification for transition. In that sense, transpeople are told that their sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive, in a way that cisgendered people are not.

  13. 13
    piny says:

    Too, I wish some care had been taken to distinguish between “failure as your assigned gender” and “not the gender you identify as.” I am a failed woman and a non-man.

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    Achilles and Patroclus wrote:

    Amen, Ampersand. Well said.

    While Q Grrl wrote:

    Amp, your normal creativity seems to be napping!

    You folks understand that I didn’t write this list, right?

  15. 15
    nexyjo says:

    i found the comments here very illuminating. as a trans woman, i find myself accepting the reported experience of cisgender people on their word alone. since many of these reported experiences are of the type that i personally can never experience, i cannot truely relate to them.

    with all due respect, to say that “But some of these things do apply to cisgendered folks as well” reminds me of the complaints that men purport when they read “the male privilege checklist” – you know, because tphmt.

    just to clarify, i am not suggesting that some cisgendered people “always pass”, or some of their complex choices are not political or questioned, or that their chosen names are not seen as their “real” names, or that they are not seen as “exotic” sexually and subsequently objectified, or that they are not scapegoated because they invoke unresolved issues in their observers. i’m sure these are all valid experiences, which many people endure. i take them at their word as i have no reason not to.

    the “privilege checklists” are clearly generalizations, used to identify patterns and discrimination. virtually *all* marginalized people experience virtually *all* the listed lack of privileges. that some (or even many) non-marginalized people experience some, is not the point.

  16. 16
    Sailorman says:

    # Ampersand Writes:
    September 22nd, 2006 at 11:33 am
    You folks understand that I didn’t write this list, right?

    Amen, Ampersand. Well said.

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  17. 17
    Heather says:

    I’d also add to the abiove additions to these points:

    1) When you’re same-sex partnered, especially if you’re female, people DO often ask how you have sex, since, you know, we apparently “technically” can’t. (Oy.)

    9) This also occurs when non-trans folk use gender-neutral or different self-identifying pronouns than gender-normative/binary pronouns.

    16) This really depends on your circles. There are plenty of lesbian arenas, for instance, in which women who present as femme are very much questioned by otherts of their gender and sex per if their gender ID “matches” their orientation.

    Great list, though: pity it can’t be credited, but good onya for making it more visible. And obviously (I think it’s obvious, anyway, in the vein suggested above by nexyjo), it’s no shocker that a lot of this list can also apply to cisgendered or genderqueer women.

  18. 18
    Q Grrl says:

    Uh…

    *ducks*

  19. 19
    Deborah says:

    with all due respect, to say that “But some of these things do apply to cisgendered folks as well” reminds me of the complaints that men purport when they read “the male privilege checklist” – you know, because tphmt.

    I have no idea what “tphmt” means.

    I think a privilege list is legitimate and helpful. When I see a male privilege list, I can relate, and shake my head with rue, because I am female. When I see a white privilege list, I can learn about the experience of people of color; learn experiences I have never had, and re-experience my own privilege in a conscious way. Because the Western world is white normative, it is likely I have never noticed I had some of those privileges.

    But when a privilege list exists, and I am on the privileged side (I am cisgendered), and yet I relate to the experience, then it is a poorly written list or a poorly defined set of experiences, at least in part. If I look at a list and say ‘Huh. I don’t have the privileges that this list claims I have,’ then that means something about the list.

    I mean, it could mean that I’m a privileged snot refusing to look outside my own gender experience. For all I know, that’s what “tphmt” means. But why should that be the default assumption? And of what value is the list if it doesn’t help bridge some of the divide, so that both sides of the privilege can see themselves and the other more clearly?

  20. 20
    Deborah says:

    Umm…sorry about the botched blockquotes.

  21. 21
    MyGenderIsJack says:

    This is brilliant, Ampersand, and I thank you for putting it where others could find it (with the understanding that you didn’t compose the list yourself).

    I have to raise the point, however, that the binary-gender language usage in several places on the list — “question his or her own sexual orientation” for example — is problematic. Yes, the hypothetical other cisgendered people from whom the example privileged cisgendered person does not, by virtue of their own privilege, have to put up with such behaviour are most often going to be male or female.

    Still, the either-or implication, that there are no options other than cisgendered male / cisgendered female and transgendered male / transgendered female (or switch those dichotomies up, they remain dichotomies), contributes to the invisibility of those whose gender identity fits into none of those four boxes: the intersexed, the intergendered, the nongendered, the genderqueer, the trans-queer, the long list of self-definitions which would be impossible to provide exhaustively here for the very reason that gender identity is so very personal and not infrequently perceived as unique by those who don’t feel they fit in the four “standard” boxes.

    As is perhaps obvious, I would be one of those latter people. I use the term genderqueer as a self-descriptor at times, both because it fits better than most alternatives and because of a desire for solidarity with others who feel (to varying degrees) comfortable with that particular label… but the gender-identity label I feel fits me best of all possible options is Jack. My name is Jack. My gender is Jack. I am who I am, and I just don’t fit comfortably (for my own comfort or the comfort of those who encounter me) into any of those gender boxes.

  22. 22
    Achilles and Patroclus says:

    You folks understand that I didn’t write this list, right?

    I . . . err . . .

    Yeah! Of course I understood that. I meant “Amen, Ampersand” in the transitive sense, so that the ‘Amen’ would automatically pass on to whoever originally wrote the list, and of course . . .

    Damn. No. I missed that it was from elsewhere.

    (hangs head)

  23. 23
    little light says:

    Some of the problem, Deborah, may be a matter of similar kind, but different degree. A “not sufficiently feminine” woman may be harrassed in public or on a date, that’s absolutely true; no trans person I know doesn’t consider the possibility of being confronted violently just going to a restaurant, even if we try not to expect it.

    Similarly, my best friend in high school, who was mixed-race and largely read as Black, had people pursue him for the social cachet of dating him, with a lot of emphasis based on his race. However, there is a person where I work who has repeatedly lied about having been in a relationship with me for the quasipolitical street-cred of having dated a trans woman, uses that supposed history to get herself, as a straight woman, status in the queer community, and–this is the part that doesn’t neatly translate over–publically outs me, despite my requests to the contrary and risks to my job, every time she does this. Everyone already knew about my old friend’s race when it was being exploited in this way. When a trans person is exploited similarly, there’s also a high risk of medical or otherwise private information being publicized, as well as increased danger for that person. It’s not just about the pain of discovering you’ve been a “novelty f**k.”

    Piny’s right; a lot of these oppressions look the same when you generalize. And you’re right, in a way; if you can identify with the list though you’re on the privileged side, there may be ways it could be better written, though it might also remind you that hurts you have to deal with change shape and affect people unlike you, too.

    At the same time, with similar fears, there are still differences in degree. Any woman, per any good male-privilege checklist, has to fear sexual assault and when she goes out. That’s inarguably intolerable. But I get to worry that if I’m sexually assaulted and someone becomes aware of my trans status, I will almost certainly be not only murdered, but murdered in a lingering and extremely messy fashion, probably involving torture, because I haven’t just run up against male privilege, I’ve also just made some asshole question his orientation, too. And I have to know that in many places, that guy could use the “trans panic” defense and get off lightly.
    Similar problems, absolutely, with a great deal of overlap, but we’ve all got variations on the themes, I guess I’m saying.

  24. 24
    piny says:

    “The patriarchy hurts men too.” It’s what you say when an MRA shows up on the thread complaining about how men are also victims of…whatever.

    Many men can personally relate to having been raped; that doesn’t mean that a privilege list including references to rape culture as damaging to women is not valid. Some men have faced employment discrimination for reasons wholly unrelated to gender; that doesn’t mean that the wage gap is not an example of sexism with attendant male privilege.

    It’s true that people are sometimes oppressed in similar ways for reasons that are related or vastly different. This list still has some valuable things to say about how transpeople are endangered because of their trans status.

  25. 25
    piny says:

    I worry that differences in degree end up as banner events in the oppression olympics. After all, women do have to worry about brutal murder. Most of the time, I don’t have any problem with people talking about the relationship between misogyny, homophobia, hatred of gendervariance, and transphobia. Those issues are all related, and people in all groups are severely punished either for being part of the under-class or for violating class protocol.

    It starts to annoy me when it makes it difficult to talk about specific problems–the ability of a transsexual to obtain urgent medical care, for example. It also becomes irritating when people in groups who are not transsexual elide the differences, and either ignore our real circumstances or deny them. It’s especially fucked-up when those same assertions are used to argue in favor of conditions harmful to us. That is appropriation, and it pisses me off.

    That having been said, I think that qgrrl et al’s points are well made, and that they deserve inclusion here.

  26. 26
    nexy jo says:

    But when a privilege list exists, and I am on the privileged side (I am cisgendered), and yet I relate to the experience, then it is a poorly written list or a poorly defined set of experiences, at least in part. If I look at a list and say ‘Huh. I don’t have the privileges that this list claims I have,’ then that means something about the list.

    deborah, “tphmt” = “the patriarchy hurts men too.” i just wanted to make sure that piny’s comment was understood as an answer to your question.

    with regard to the rest of the above quote, i could list many entries on “the male privilege checklist” that i related to while still living as a man, and that many men i know also relate to, but it does not invalidate or minimize (or make it poorly written)the checklist in any way.

    the checklist represents a group of experiences that, generally speaking, the oppressed class (in this case, transsexual people) routinely face during at least some part (if not all) of their lives. piny sums it up quite well. many individuals of many oppressed groups of people share many of the same experiences. the checklists identify that set of experiences specific to a particular group.

    that said, i disagree that “The Non-Trans Privilege Checklist” is poorly written. as a trans person, i have experienced *all* items in the list (that is to say i’ve lacked the privilege in all the items), while *no* “non-trans” person i know has experienced *all* the items. i see the list as a valid and accurate list of the set of experiences i’ve endured as a trans person.

  27. 27
    piny says:

    “the checklists identify that set of experiences specific to a particular group.

    I think I’d say, “The set of experiences caused by hatred/prejudice/ignorance specific to a particular group.”

  28. 28
    little light says:

    Good point, piny. You’re right; I don’t want to get “the Oppression Olympics” started. All of the risks we have, I don’t think we have alone. Arguing the point only obfuscates attempts to draws lines around what we do have to deal with.
    I was trying to point out, rather than competing oppressions, nesting oppressions. They stack together, and we share a lot of troubles, but some of us add one to another or have it filtered differently. Doesn’t mean that any of us ought to be trying to win that race. I was mostly trying to say that just because some of those troubles aren’t exclusive to trans folk doesn’t mean they’re not, often, specifically transgender-related problems. Thanks for the catch.

  29. 29
    nexyjo says:

    I think I’d say, “The set of experiences caused by hatred/prejudice/ignorance specific to a particular group.”

    agreed, and well said.

  30. 30
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    12) assumes that the only way you’ll get imprisoned is as a result of political action. This seems rather optimistic.

  31. Thanks for reposting this! I’ve been putting together a post on the privileges I have that i don’t often examine. I will add this to my list.

  32. 32
    Deborah says:

    It starts to annoy me when it makes it difficult to talk about specific problems–the ability of a transsexual to obtain urgent medical care, for example.

    Okay, I don’t want to play in the Oppression Olympics either. I live in a largely privileged position because of whiteness, gendered-ness, and economic status. I have experienced some oppressive positions because of femaleness, Judaism, and Paganism. Whatever.

    The only part I want to say about the quote I pulled from piny is that I’m not talking about any individual’s specific problems. A list is inherently general and an opening to talk about generalities. At least that’s how I read it. If piny or another transperson was saying, here’s what I just experienced as a transperson that was oppressive, I would certainly not be saying, “Well women (or whoever) experience that too.”

    It’s about generalizing, and the way that generalizing enhances understanding sometimes, and the way it creates distance sometimes. When I’m pulling items as I did to start, that’s what I was talking about, not about a transperson’s experience.

    I hope that is clearer.

    Oh, and thanks for the acronym explanation.

  33. 33
    piny says:

    That sounds like rather a kneecapped way of talking about oppression, without reference to general discrimination against a group of people. Discrimination is by definition broad; it is a threat that all people in the group must manage to one degree or another. My own experience is also very limited, compared to the collective narratives of transpeople. I can’t say, “I’ve experienced being bludgeoned to death, and goshdarn it, that was oppressive.”

    And “the ability of a transsexual to obtain urgent medical care” is a general problem; that sentence could be rephrased as, “the ability of virtually all transsexuals to obtain urgent medical care.” It’s one of the most obvious sites of discrimination in our lives. I go around talking about how goshdarn privileged I am, relatively speaking, because I can come out to my doctors and see a gynecologist for pap smears. I brought it up as a problem that transsexuals have to deal with in ways that most other people don’t.

  34. 34
    piny says:

    12) assumes that the only way you’ll get imprisoned is as a result of political action. This seems rather optimistic.

    Yes. it skirted some pretty enormous dangers. I wonder if it did so because so much of it would have been differences of degree. Transwomen are especially vulnerable to assault, harassment, threats, and sexual assault, in prison and out of prison, but it’s not a problem unique to transwomen.

  35. 35
    Deborah says:

    That sounds like rather a kneecapped way of talking about oppression, without reference to general discrimination against a group of people.

    What I meant was more like women telling their abortion stories. There’s links for that up on Feministe right now. And how meaningful that is because people start to shift when it gets personal. “Women should have the right to choose” is utterly different from “I was in bed with this guy and he had just done heroin so he wasn’t thinking about protection and I was terrified to stop him and I got pregnant.”

    The reason they call for us to tell our stories is because storytelling is ten thousand times more powerful.

    You have to talk about women’s rights to choose too, of course.

    So that’s what I meant when I said the personal moves me more.

  36. 36
    Elizabeth says:

    7) I am not expected to constantly defend my medical decisions.

    I have what folks call an “invisible disability”, and lemme tell you, I get to hear more than enough about my medical decisions , what they mean about me as a person, and whether I have a chronic physical illness or am just a big whiner. In fact, I get enough random crap that I’m not even going to name my impairment here, because experience shows that there is always somebody who’s got something to say about it. Am I being defensive? You bet! Why? Because I am expected to constantly defend my medical decisions. That’s par for the course for many people with disabilities.

    No doubt there’s a way to reword #7 that does not contain the assumption that cisgendered people are ablebodied.

  37. 37
    piny says:

    Actually, “able-bodied” is only one of several other privileges you’d have to include, isn’t it? It’s not only transpeople and people with disabilities who have to defend their medical decisions.

    Then what is it? I’ve seen a lot of criticism of overbroad writing, but I haven’t seen too many suggestions as to how we might better describe the ways we get fucked over. Is the problem a lack of awareness of those ways, or what?

  38. 38
    mooglebunny says:

    13) I do not have to defend my right to be a part of “Queer” and gays and lesbians will not try to exclude me from OUR movement in order to gain political legitimacy for themselves.

    That’s not a cisgendered privilege, it’s a cisgendered monosexual privilege. To this day us cisgendered bisexuals are told by our fellow queers that we don’t exist.

    Not that we’re not queer. That we don’t exist.

  39. 39
    piny says:

    I can count on one hand the number of comments in this thread that are about prejudice against transpeople and the dangers transpeople face. Like I said, I think that the comments made by qgrrl et al are valid, but I’m starting to get a little creeped out by the sheer lack of engagement with the purpose behind the list. Like nexy said, shades of PHMT.

  40. 40
    nexyjo says:

    perhaps that should be added to the checklist, piny. you know, that other minoritites can compile and then post their checklists, and can expect some level of support in discussing the privileges they lack.

  41. 41
    nexyjo says:

    opps, that should read “minorities”.

  42. 42
    thinking girl says:

    interesting list, interesting thread.

    damn this discrimination BS. It even pits people against one another who should be allies, who might otherwise be allies if they weren’t too busy pointing out how discrimination also hurts them. I had a recent discussion about male privilege at my blog, and the old ugly TPHMT argument reared its ugly head. I posted a link to Amp’s male privilege checklist, and one of my commenters constructed a female privilege checklist in response. The whole discussion was very enlightening for me. And you know what? Even after that, as I read this list, I will admit I made some of the same notes of criticism as others have pointed out, of ways some of these points were not exclusive to trans people. So shame on me too. Perhaps we are all used to finding fault with arguments, poking holes in them, sensitive to our own oppression, when what we should be doing is listening.

    I want to say, and I mean this in the most heartfelt way, I think it takes a lot of courage to be trans in this world, and to discuss your experiences openly with others. Gender is one of the most binding of social constructs that informs our interactions with one another in pretty much every way. To make a change in one’s gender requires a lot of guts, I think. There are very specific problems of prejudices and dangers that affect trans people, and they are not easy to deal with. Thanks to all for voicing your thoughts and experiences about these problems, and for being so kind as to help educate some of the rest of us about it.

  43. 43
    debbie says:

    What is it about privilege checklists that brings out whiny “what about me”? From the response, you would think that the authors of this list were claiming that these things only happen to trans people. Just that these things are part of a common experience of discrimination and oppression directed at trans people because they are trans.
    Basically, what piny said.

  44. 44
    Deborah says:

    From the response, you would think that the authors of this list were claiming that these things only happen to trans people.

    Debbie, isn’t that what “non-trans privilege” means? Now I’m really confused. I thought that if there’s a list saying, ‘These are the privileges of cisgendered people,’ then it says, well, non-trans people are privileged. And when a list says “I [non-trans person] don’t experience X” it means that only trans-people experience it. It’s inherently exclusionary language.

    Isn’t it?

  45. 45
    nexyjo says:

    when a list says “I [non-trans person] don’t experience X” it means that only trans-people experience it. It’s inherently exclusionary language.

    Isn’t it?

    no, it isn’t.

    the checklist represents a group of experiences that, generally speaking, the oppressed class (in this case, transsexual people) routinely face during at least some part (if not all) of their lives. piny sums it up quite well. many individuals of many oppressed groups of people share many of the same experiences. the checklists identify that set of experiences specific to a particular group.

    look at the male privilege checklist. many of the items on that list refer to experiences that many “non-males” endure, even if they are male, or “not women”.

  46. 46
    nexyjo says:

    hmmm, let me rephrase that last part.

    look at the male privilege checklist. many of the items on that list refer to experiences that many people endue, male, female, and those of us who are somewhere in between. as a set of experiences however, they apply primarily to women. the individual items however, may apply to any individuals from many different classes of people.

  47. 47
    piny says:

    Debbie, isn’t that what “non-trans privilege” means? Now I’m really confused. I thought that if there’s a list saying, ‘These are the privileges of cisgendered people,’ then it says, well, non-trans people are privileged. And when a list says “I [non-trans person] don’t experience X” it means that only trans-people experience it. It’s inherently exclusionary language.

    Not all transpeople experience the items on this list, although it’s a pretty good general map of our vulnerabilities. Like I said way back at the beginning: There’s an understood “…because I’m trans” in there. “Privilege” means, “In any situation where hatred of [x] would harm or disadvantage me, I am protected because I am not [x].” This is a list of situations in which this particular [x] is frequently a disadvantage. That does not mean that no one else is disadvantaged in similar ways, merely that cisgendered people are not disadvantaged for the same reason.

  48. 48
    Sailorman says:

    I have to agree with Deborah here. Privilege is a relative term. If I experience “privilege” because of my cisgendered nature, and trans folks experience the same “privilege” then none of us is privileged in that respect.

    Of course, multiple privileges exist. But the entire concept of relative privilege is “X has it, Y doesn’t, at least because of the characteristic in question.”

    Nexyjo, you’re making an error based on that last part. The relative privilege is accurate when the privilege is the RESULT of the characteristic (or lack thereof). So the fact that there are trans folks, women, POC, etc who are more privileged than I doesn’t necessarily mean that I do not have any benefit of cisgender, male, or white privilege. That conclusion would be justified only if the trans folks, women, POC, etc were more privilegd than I because they were trans, female, or POC. Do you see the crucial distinction?

    So the privilege lists are not faulty because some of the nonprivileged happent to have privilege. To use the white privilege list for a moment: It’s perfectly possible for a POC to have a fair bit of privilege by virtue of, for example, being insanely rich and/or famous. But they have that privilege because they’re rich and famous, not because they’re a POC. So it doesn’t “disprove” the list.

  49. 49
    Deborah says:

    Okay, I finally get it. It’s the implicit “because I’m trans” thing, and the way to look at my own privilege is what I experience “because I’m not trans.”

    I do think that this is an inherent flaw in the language of privilege checklists. One of the things you’ve been asking, piny, is how to improve these lists, and I think opening them with an explanation of the “because I’m a…” nature of the list would be extremely clarifying.

    Lists look like dividing lines, that’s their nature, and therefore, as helpful as they are, they are also divisive. Looking at the cause of privilege and separating it from the totality of the person seems like a good way of being less divisive.

  50. 50
    saltyC says:

    I find this list a little too forced to be funny.

  51. 51
    Q Grrl says:

    Piny: I think my problem with this list, and my non-contribution to a better list, is the primary assumption that gender is political or oppressive to trans folk only. Or that it is somehow worse for trans folk to be gender oppressed than it is for women. As a radical feminist, I wholeheartedly reject that standpoint. This is not a case of women playing the PHMT game. This is a case of willful ignorance on the part of trans politics — expressing a very weak social reading of “gender” and how gender *is* oppressive in an of itself. It isn’t that this list can *also* apply to women and lesbians, this list represents much of the backbone of how patriarchy subordinates women and lesbians through the gender hierarchy.

    IOW, these aren’t the issues that make for the transsexual/transgenderist’s social and political struggle. In fact, I would argue that the list, as applied only to trans politics, is in fact the true instance of “patriarchy hurts men too!”

    No shit.

  52. 52
    Heart says:

    Damn, Q grrl. What a great post.

    Heart

  53. 53
    piny says:

    Thing is, I don’t think that “primary assumption” is being made. I think that the writers of the list saw a disclaimer as unnecessary, and assumed that this privilege-list would be read in the same context as other privilege lists. Naive, I know.

    I do not reject the idea that gender is oppressive to women, or insist that gender is oppressive to transpeople only. I reject the idea that transpeople face no significant specific problems of their own with regard to this society’s understanding of gender. I get that you’re saying not merely that women deal with these problems as well, but that misogyny works in very much the same way as transphobia. It isn’t PHMT to acknowledge that, or to ask that everyone else acknowledge that. It’s PHMT to come onto a thread about oppression of transpeople, however introduced, and spend sweet fuck-all time and energy discussing that problem. Remember that it’s not merely a political blindspot.

    IOW, these aren’t the issues that make for the transsexual/transgenderist’s social and political struggle.

    Can you clarify this, please? Do you mean that transsexuals and transgendered people have no interest in these issues as social and political causes, or that they’re not limited to transpeople, or what?

    In fact, I would argue that the list, as applied only to trans politics, is in fact the true instance of “patriarchy hurts men too!”

    This is exactly what I’m talking about, this relegation of transpeople to “trans politics,” such that our marginalization only exists as a supplement to the real issue. Transphobia is not reducible to “fucking over failed men,” and this is not an attempt to appropriate misogyny.

  54. 54
    Ampersand says:

    I think my problem with this list, and my non-contribution to a better list, is the primary assumption that gender is political or oppressive to trans folk only. Or that it is somehow worse for trans folk to be gender oppressed than it is for women. As a radical feminist, I wholeheartedly reject that standpoint.

    I think you’re inventing that standpoint where it isn’t present. Like Piny, I don’t see that assumption here, any more than I see similar exclusionary themes in the male privilege list or in the various hetero privilege lists. Your statement assumes that an attempt to focus on a problem implicitly casts all other problems as nonexistant or less important, but I don’t such an assumption is justified.

    I do think that this brings up an interesting flaw of all “privilege lists,” but especially women’s, trans, and queer lists; the oppressions are interlocked, but the form of the “X privilege list” focuses on only one aspect without making the interlocking visible. In particular, it’s problematic (even if it’s sometimes useful) to treat gender, trans, and queer oppression are neatly separatable, because all of them are based on the same assumptions about the immutable importance of what’s between our legs when we’re born and how we’re therefore supposed to act. As a result, the overlaps between these lists are probably especially large.

    (I suspect that there’s a similar high degree of overlap between the ablebodied list and the non-fat list, since in both cases the oppression is in part based on the same false beleif that there is a ideal body, and not matching that ideal is a terrible flaw. Of course, not all disabilities are bodilty disabilities, which significantly limits the truth of my comparison – but then again, I’m not claiming that it’s identical, just that there’s a significant overlap there. End of digression.)

    IOW, these aren’t the issues that make for the transsexual/transgenderist’s social and political struggle.

    Let me second Piny’s question. In addition, I’m curious to know what issues you think do make for the social and political struggle of transsexuals and transgendered people.

    * * *

    On another subject, I wonder if the folks who do think that a list like this could be legitimately made and doesn’t implicitly dismiss women’s oppression, should be thinking of editing this into a improved list, and then publishing it as a separate post (leaving this one intact for posterity).

    Anyone else here think that might be a worthwhile thing to do?

  55. 55
    belledame222 says:

    >is the primary assumption that gender is political or oppressive to trans folk only. Or that it is somehow worse for trans folk to be gender oppressed than it is for women.>

    I don’t read this at all from that list, and am seriously bewildered as to how anyone might have reached such conclusions. Particularly the first one.

    I do think it’s pretty obvious that transfolk face specific discriminations that non-trans women do not, and that goes -on top- of what they receive if they present to society as female (same as anyone else presenting as female). Transmen, unless they “pass” completely and without a trace, do not receive male privilege as non-trans-men do; and on top of that you’d then have some of that list as well as all the usual stressors of the closet.

    But I don’t know what this means, “worse to be gender oppressed than women.” And again I find myself asking: is this some sort of a contest? Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most oppressed of all? Because I find that really tiring.

  56. 56
    belledame222 says:

    …which, i note, that point has already been made up above, viz Oppression Olympics.

  57. 57
    belledame222 says:

    per Amp: if the question is, should radical feminists (or whoever) draw up their own list of how they think transfolk might write about their own experiences of non-trans privilege that wouldn’t offend them so much, my answer, at least, is: hell no.

    unless you would like to make that same offer to the MRA’s who find similar lists by feminists implicitly dismissive of their own tsuris.

    There’s nothing wrong with that list.

  58. 58
    belledame222 says:

    …to tell you the truth, i find that this was even offered as a good idea kind of offensive. Does anyone else get to do this?

  59. 59
    Q Grrl says:

    Piny, my work has exploded this afternoon, so I may have to wait until tomorrow for a more substantial reply.

    Can you clarify this, please? Do you mean that transsexuals and transgendered people have no interest in these issues as social and political causes, or that they’re not limited to transpeople, or what?

    No, I don’t mean that they aren’t of interest or deeply political. I meant that they, from my view point, don’t make up the bulk of politics that specifically deal with issues for transpeople. These issues are the patriarchy and how patriarchy uses gender to create a power hierarchy – one class to fuck, another class to get fucked. And it isn’t that they aren’t limited to transpeople. I would dare say that both feminism and trans politics (I know you hate that term, ack, but I don’t know what other way to succinctly paraphrase) would not exist were it not for those folks in their respective camps that rebel against gender as power. Or more precisely, gender as power and *definer* from outside of the individual.

    Where the camps begin to differ is in the acceptance that gender is not an internal identity, but one which is imposed on the body of the individual in order to create or nuture a conformist class of individuals. Most feminists would support gender as an externally imposed system. Most transgenderists would, seeminly, support gender as an internally imposed system. And I think this is key to understanding when looking at such lists as a “non-trans privilege checklist”.

    IOW, do I believe that transsexuals and transsgenderists face bigotry and prejudice? Yes. Do I believe that I hold privilege over them vis-a-vis their transgenderism in an externally imposed gender hierarchy. Hell no. And I guess I have to add that this particular checklist, while obviously well thought out, seems to think that “cisgenderism” is by default a position of privilege over transgenderism without acknowledging that in a system of fuck and fucked, the fucked do *not* have privilege.

    Do I think there is a more accurate checklist? Probably. But not this one that sees “cisgendered” as being a class unto itself — ignoring the very real oppression that happens when women are classed alongside men as the weaker sex/fucked class. To the class of men in patriarchy, transgender is = to woman (a class to be fucked), leaving intact the primacy of the male “gender.”

  60. 60
    nexyjo says:

    Nexyjo, you’re making an error based on that last part. The relative privilege is accurate when the privilege is the RESULT of the characteristic (or lack thereof). So the fact that there are trans folks, women, POC, etc who are more privileged than I doesn’t necessarily mean that I do not have any benefit of cisgender, male, or white privilege. That conclusion would be justified only if the trans folks, women, POC, etc were more privilegd than I because they were trans, female, or POC. Do you see the crucial distinction?

    no, i don’t, sailorman. i don’t see this list as a “more privilege than others” comparison. quite the opposite – it’s a list that identifies the types of privileges i lack because i am trans.

    i could present at least one example (and in almost all cases, many, many examples) of experiences i’ve endured, because i’m trans, of every item in that list. not because i move through the world as a woman – review the male privilege checklist to identify many of the privileges i lack because i’m a woman.

    people, once they discover i’m trans, don’t ask me what my vagina looks like, or if i lubricate “naturally”, or if i can achieve orgasm, or how “deep” i am because i’m a woman. they ask me those questions because i’m trans – that is, after they ask me if i’ve “had the surgery”. are you suggesting that woman, in the normal course of conversation between people who hardly know each other, are also asked these kinds of questions routinely?

    or am i missing your point completely (which is totally possible)?

  61. 61
    piny says:

    Most feminists would support gender as an externally imposed system. Most transgenderists would, seeminly, support gender as an internally imposed system. And I think this is key to understanding when looking at such lists as a “non-trans privilege checklist”.

    That’s not an accurate synopsis at all. Transsexuals, in general, support the existence of gender identity–that is, an affinity with a gender not the one assigned. There’s no consensus whatsoever about the cause of that gender identity. Gender identity is different from assigned gender, including in terms of treatment within a gender hierarchy. We don’t believe that gender is altogether voluntary or internal, that it is not fraught, that it cannot be informed by sexism or by the culture around us, that there is no gendered hierarchy, or that society does not impose its own gender preferences on us. We were assigned genders at birth, too, and we’ve experienced the imposition as well. Where I quibble with certain radical feminists is in the casual acceptance of explanations for transsexual gender identity that just don’t wash.

    IOW, do I believe that transsexuals and transsgenderists face bigotry and prejudice? Yes. Do I believe that I hold privilege over them vis-a-vis their transgenderism in an externally imposed gender hierarchy. Hell no.

    Then your definition of “privilege” is different from mine. I am privileged in relation to you because I present as male in a culture that hates women. I am endangered in relation to you because I have a transsexual body in a culture that doles out specific punishments to transsexuals.

    And I guess I have to add that this particular checklist, while obviously well thought out, seems to think that “cisgenderism” is by default a position of privilege over transgenderism without acknowledging that in a system of fuck and fucked, the fucked do *not* have privilege.

    As someone who’s currently in both positions, maybe I’ll just have to agree that we disagree.

  62. 62
    Ampersand says:

    Belledame wrote:

    per Amp: if the question is, should radical feminists (or whoever) draw up their own list of how they think transfolk might write about their own experiences of non-trans privilege that wouldn’t offend them so much, my answer, at least, is: hell no.

    No, that’s not the question at all; you’ve misunderstood what I was asking. (Probably my fault).

    It seems to me that the criticisms of this list we’ve seen on this thread are in two broad categories; 1) those who are skeptical of the entire idea of non-trans privilege, such as Q Grrl, and 2) those who know non trans privilege exists, but who might want to add to or reword some of the items on this list.

    You seem to think that I want to modify the list in deference to the folks in category #1. That’s not true; I respect Q Grrl and Heart and others, but in this case I think they’re wrong, and wrong in a way that has the unfortunate effect of keeping non-trans privilege invisible.

    However, I think the criticisms in category #2 might make a good case for creating a revised version of this list. For an example of the second category, see Piny’s call for “More conscientious phrasing” in comment #8, as well as his criticism in comment #9, as well as comment #17.

    With this clarification in mind, do you still think that what I’m saying is “kind of offensive”?

  63. 63
    Q Grrl says:

    Then your definition of “privilege” is different from mine. I am privileged in relation to you because I present as male in a culture that hates women. I am endangered in relation to you because I have a transsexual body in a culture that doles out specific punishments to transsexuals.

    But this “privilege” is entirely contingent upon your ability to pass in a patriarchal society, no? So really, how does that make you privileged compared to me?

    Amp: I believe there is plenty of non-trans privilege, I don’t believe, however, that my being situated as a woman in patriarchy places me in the privileged category.

  64. 64
    saltyC says:

    I am not transgendered and I do not identify with about a dozen of those privileges. I hope not all trans politics are so blind to women’s struggles, please tell me it’s not about men trying to claim issues of non-privilege for themselves. Cause this list sure makes it look like that.

  65. 65
    piny says:

    But this “privilege” is entirely contingent upon your ability to pass in a patriarchal society, no? So really, how does that make you privileged compared to me?

    No, it’s not. I benefit from male privilege in at least some situations where I am out as transsexual. I will say that a lot of the marginalization is due to the expectation that I have a cisgendered male body, which assumption I benefit from in other situations, but that’s not the same thing.

    That aside, I do pass as male virtually all of the time, and you do not. Passing privilege is still privilege.

  66. 66
    piny says:

    And, incidentally, even in situations where I am outed as transsexual and discriminated against for being transsexual, I am not treated as a woman.

    I love how we’re “men” when we try to draw some pertinent comparisons with misogyny, but “women” when we try to draw distinctions. Can’t win for losing.

  67. 67
    Nick Kiddle says:

    Suppose an MRA came and commented on the Male Privilege Checklist thusly:

    “I am male and I do not identify with about 50% of those privileges. I hope not all feminists are so blind to the struggles of the working poor, please tell me it’s not about the affluent trying to claim issues of non-privilege for themselves. Cause this list sure makes it look like that.”

    How would you respond?

  68. 68
    piny says:

    Or, more properly, what if a gay man came and did that. Would it be so difficult to differentiate between indexes then?

  69. 69
    saltyC says:

    what is an MRA?

  70. 70
    saltyC says:

    I just looked at the male privileges checklist, and it is seriously flawed. I don’t think a woman wrote that. It looks like a re-worked white privileges checklist.

  71. 71
    Q Grrl says:

    Piny: I’m talking about how class men perceive you, how the patriarchy perceives and uses you, and not about how I perceive you. You, individually might pass, but that doesn’t translate to all transsexuals or transgenderists. That’s why I say that your privilege is not privilege vis-a-vis all of us living in the patriarchy’s gender hierarchy. To the patriarchy, whether you are an MTF or FTM, you are still seen as other and are classed with women in the “fucked” gender slot.

  72. 72
    Sailorman says:

    nexyjo Writes:
    September 25th, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    or am i missing your point completely (which is totally possible)?

    I think so ;)
    heh.
    At least I think so, because your “disagreement” made me think “didn’t I just SAY that? That’s not disagreeing at all!”

    So we clearly agree. And it’s entirely (more?) possible that I was the confusing one initially, not you.

  73. 73
    Q Grrl says:

    I’m not sure I understand posts 63 and 64.

  74. 74
    Achilles and Patroclus says:

    Thanks, Nick, for saying exactly what I’d been trying to figure out how to say.

    I’m white, so when people of color speak out about their oppression, I figure I should probably shut up and listen.

    I’m male, so when women speak out about their oppression, I figure I should probably shut up and listen.

    I’m cisgendered, so when trans people speak out about their oppression, I figure I should probably shut up and listen.

    I’m gay, so when I speak out about my oppression, I figure straight folks should probably shut up and listen.

    There are different kinds of oppression and different kinds of privelege. The fact that I’m gay doesn’t mean I get to dismiss the oppression women in our society face, but neither do they get to dismiss mine.

    Straight women hold some privilege that I do not. I hold some privelege that they do not. There’s no point in getting defensive about it or denying it, it’s just how things are. Let’s work to change it.

  75. 75
    Q Grrl says:

    I guess what I’m saying is that, given sexism and misogyny that are built upon the gendered hierchy, this particular list is meaningless. This list can and does apply to specifically female experiences in either trying to conform to or reject the gendered standards of “woman.” Because this list is so broad it has little substance.

    It doesn’t unpack much.

    I wish folks wouldn’t conflate my issue with this list with their desire to see me as anti-trans. .. or that I just don’t get my “privilege”.

  76. 76
    piny says:

    Piny: I’m talking about how class men perceive you, how the patriarchy perceives and uses you, and not about how I perceive you. You, individually might pass, but that doesn’t translate to all transsexuals or transgenderists. That’s why I say that your privilege is not privilege vis-a-vis all of us living in the patriarchy’s gender hierarchy. To the patriarchy, whether you are an MTF or FTM, you are still seen as other and are classed with women in the “fucked” gender slot.

    Right, except not exactly.

    You’re talking about transsexuals and transgenderists in general. A large number of transmen do pass, and pass completely, as men–we get to live our lives as men, and we do not necessarily view that condition as a closet. Not passing, and being classed by patriarchy with “not men,” does not translate to all of us. And like I’ve said, “not passing” does not necessarily translate to “being deprived of male privilege.”

    That having been said, I take issue with insisting that “seen as other” necessarily means “classed with women.”

  77. 77
    Q Grrl says:

    agh, and I hate that I have all these repeat posts. Sorry.

    The other thing about this specific list and the perception that I am privileged due to my “cisgender” nature is the gaping blind spot in how this very list is used against me, a nonconforming female, by the trans community because I resist the transgender label.

    Perhaps we need to unpack it further to invovle lesbians, not just the overly broad and ambiguous term “cisgendered”.

  78. 78
    piny says:

    The other thing about this specific list and the perception that I am privileged due to my “cisgender” nature is the gaping blind spot in how this very list is used against me, a nonconforming female, by the trans community because I resist the transgender label.

    Oy, what Amp said. I got called at feministe on using “transsexual” to describe “people whose oppression is linked to sharing characteristics with some transsexuals.” It’s a fair point, but this list is not meant as a complete taxonomy of oppression. How is it used against you? No one’s disputing that there’s gendervariance amongst people who are not trans and do not identify as trans. Some people who are trans and do identify as trans don’t have to deal with the above items.

  79. 79
    Q Grrl says:

    That having been said, I take issue with insisting that “seen as other” necessarily means “classed with women.”

    Well, when we stop living in a gendered hierarchy maybe then the class we call men will have another conceptual spot to place “other” in. As it stands, woman = other, and if you are other, than it stands to reason that in a binary gender hieararchy you cannot also be other and man.

  80. 80
    Achilles and Patroclus says:

    I wish folks wouldn’t conflate my issue with this list with their desire to see me as anti-trans. .. or that I just don’t get my “privilege”.

    The problem, Q Grrl, is that back in post 59 you said:

    I believe there is plenty of non-trans privilege, I don’t believe, however, that my being situated as a woman in patriarchy places me in the privileged category.

    . . . which I read pretty directly as you ‘not getting your privilege.’

    I think what Nick was saying in post 63 is that this reads to a trans person very similarly to how it would read to you if I posted:

    I believe there is plenty of male privilege, I don’t believe, however, that my being situated as a gay man in patriarchy places me in the privileged category.

    . . . which I believe is clearly untrue.

  81. 81
    piny says:

    Well, when we stop living in a gendered hierarchy maybe then the class we call men will have another conceptual spot to place “other” in. As it stands, woman = other, and if you are other, than it stands to reason that in a binary gender hieararchy you cannot also be other and man.

    And yet, there’s this group of people whose oppression doesn’t quite match that paradigm. Our other does not necessarily equal woman. It’s not that simple, and pretending it is involves willful ignorance of the problems we face.

  82. 82
    nexyjo says:

    I guess what I’m saying is that, given sexism and misogyny that are built upon the gendered hierchy, this particular list is meaningless. This list can and does apply to specifically female experiences in either trying to conform to or reject the gendered standards of “woman.” Because this list is so broad it has little substance.

    i’d like to start out by saying that you are, of course, entitled to your opinions, and i don’t necessarily think you are “anti-trans” or lack understanding of any privilege you may or may not have.

    what i’d like to understand is whether you believe the male privilege checklist is so broad that it has little substance, and if not, how it differs from this checklist. i’d also like to understand what specific changes to this list, based on your understanding of the privileges and lack thereof that trans people exhibit, you would make.

    just as one example, i have been asked on many occasions what my genitals look like and how my gentials function, by both cisgendered men and women, after they asked me if i had the surgery (as per checklist numbers 1 and 6). i found the inquiries totally inappropriate, invasive, and offensive. the cisgendered women i am close enough with to ask, have informed me that they never are asked if they have had gential surgery, or what their gentials look like (though one has been asked if she “shaves down there”, so admittedly, perhaps trans women and women share that aspect).

    how would you change checklist number 1 and 6 to be less broad and have more substance?

  83. 83
    Q Grrl says:

    And yet, there’s this group of people whose oppression doesn’t quite match that paradigm.

    But wouldn’t that mean that you’re living outside of the patriarchy and patriarchal constructs of gender? How do you envision transsexuals and trransgenderists as being outside of the patriarchal norms?

    I’ve gotta run now. I’ll answer other questions tomorrow.

  84. 84
    Q Grrl says:

    1) Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.

    That’s a standard question for 1) women and 2) lesbians. Standard. As in to be expected from any dumbshit man that feels like he needs to control any self-defined sexuality on the part of women.

  85. 85
    piny says:

    But wouldn’t that mean that you’re living outside of the patriarchy and patriarchal constructs of gender? How do you envision transsexuals and trransgenderists as being outside of the patriarchal norms?

    No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m not sure where you’re getting that. I’m saying that patriarchal constructs of gender as relates to transsexuals are not reducible to transsexuals=other=woman. And, honestly, I’m deeply skeptical of how that paradigm will do anything in a discussion like this one but prevent anyone from talking about marginalization of transsexuals and prejudice specific to transsexuals.

  86. 86
    piny says:

    Excuse me, I edited out “transgenderist” and didn’t replace it with “transgendered people.” That should read,

    No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m not sure where you’re getting that. I’m saying that patriarchal constructs of gender as relates to transsexuals and transgendered people are not reducible to transsexuals/transgendered people=other=woman. And, honestly, I’m deeply skeptical of how that paradigm will do anything in a discussion like this one but prevent anyone from talking about marginalization of transsexuals and transgendered people and prejudice specific to transsexuals and transgendered people.

  87. 87
    nexyjo says:

    That’s a standard question for 1) women and 2) lesbians. Standard. As in to be expected from any dumbshit man that feels like he needs to control any self-defined sexuality on the part of women.

    fair enough. so we share that particular lack of privilege.

    would you say that you and i are asked that question for different reasons? and i ask that because when people don’t know i’m trans, i am never asked that question (at least so far).

    how would you change that item on the non-trans privilege list to be less broad and more substantive? or do you believe it could not be changed in the context of trans people, and why?

  88. 88
    Sailorman says:

    Q,

    Do people ask you what your genitals LOOK LIKE? Seriously? Just because you’re a lesbian? Jeez. I can understand the “how do you have sex?” question though it’s obviously offensive as all hell (I used to wonder myself as a kid) but… wow. People are very strange.

    Anyway: What I’m teasing out from reading your posts is that you don’t think this list is specific enough. In other words, I think you’re saying that while the trans folks may indeed be suffering problems in general, the author of the list didn’t do a good job distinguishing the trans issues from those issues which are generally experienced by women, lesbians, and other groups.

    #16, for example, seems pretty obviously underspecified to the trans/cis problem: A lot of cisgendered gay folks I know get told that all the time.

    Given my viewpoint I am ill equipped to critique the list in detail. But I just want to say that I support your general point. While there are surely many problems experienced by the trans community, if one is to make a list to illustrate problems that result from being trans one needs to be careful to be accurate.

    So for a trans woman who experiences a problem, it is important to figure out whether a problem is caused by being trans or by being a woman. If it’s the latter, it doesn’t belong on the trans list.

    I have read a lot of those lists and to be honest, I think many if not all of them suffer from overinclusiveness.

  89. 89
    Sailorman says:

    p.s. I meant “understand” as in “understand how someone who didn’t know might wonder”, NOT “understand how someone both ignorant and assholish could think it was OK to actually ask.” Just to be clear.

  90. 90
    Q Grrl says:

    Do people ask you what your genitals LOOK LIKE?

    Not people sailorman, men.

  91. 91
    piny says:

    Not people sailorman, men.

    He was responding to the wording of the original item. People, not men, ask me and other transpeople what my genitalia look like.

    I admit that I’m surprised that men ask you what your genitalia look like. I remember the question about what I do in bed–”the man’s things,” etc.–but no one seemed confused as to what was in my pants. In fact, that was pretty much the reason for the harassment in the first place.

  92. Pingback: The Non-Trans Privilege Checklist « Callan

  93. 92
    lyssa says:

    Amazing! Lost in the shuffle here is an attempt to describe trans oppression. The extreme hatred we face. The questionsa many trans folk ask themselves every day “Is this the day I don’t come home? [i.e. die]. My chances of being murdered are 8.5% (liftetime) .I receive about ^ death threats a month. I have been shot at. None of this is because I’m a woman. It IS because I’m trans.
    It may benefit to you, q grrl, to restrain your criticism and attempts at appropriation long enough to see the list for what it is. Like any such list it is not perfect. No one will benefit from your critiqe and appropriation. Sad but true.
    Please stop dismissing trans oppression because you experience things that are topically similar.
    In addition, I believe the term for oppressed groups oppressing each other is “horizontal hostility.”

    in post #55 you said:
    ignoring the very real oppression that happens when women are classed alongside men as the weaker sex/fucked class. To the class of men in patriarchy, transgender is = to woman (a class to be fucked), leaving intact the primacy of the male “gender.”

    Being “fucked” as you phrase it does not disallow you from oppression! Twisting it to supplant trans oppression with woman’s oppression is itself oppression, and you are not qualified to dismiss trans anything, IMHO. Certainly any more than a nontarget group member would be competent to dismiss target group concerns.
    I believe the folowing is excellent advice:

    Thinking girl wrote:
    perhaps we are all used to finding fault with arguments, poking holes in them, sensitive to our own oppression, when what we should be doing is listening.

    I agree that you are oppressed. I agree that you share many oppressions with trans folk. Isn’t that cause enough to work together? We are powerful together. We share much in common. Let’s start acting like it. We deserve it.

    Thinking girl, My respect for you is immense. Thank you for bringing some light to this discussion.

  94. 93
    Daran says:

    My chances of being murdered are 8.5% (liftetime)

    Do you have a cite for that?

  95. 94
    LC says:

    Funny how some of the comments on here make a distinction between trans people and women, as if transwomen aren’t women. It very revealing of the underlying attitude they have.

    Q Grrrl, you have no idea what people are saying. For example, EVERY person I come into contact with who find out I’m trans, eventually asks me if I’m pre-op or post-op. That includes my BOSS, my LANDLORD, the GOVERNMENT, etc. You have NO IDEA what that is like. Some piggy men ask you about your genitals is NOT the same thing. If I don’t tell them my situation, piggy men ask me similar crap to what they ask you. It’s very very different thing.

    I agree the list could be better written to deal with the things trans people face as trans people and the things those of us who are trans women face as women. We face both. (Except that, like many nontrans women who cannot, or choose not to, procreate, we don’t directly deal with issues of reproductive freedom… we just deal with hostility and people saying we’re not real because we can’t).

    But definitely, some things just need to be spelled out more since it’s clear some people actually don’t even understand what some things in the list are talking about, and the extent of them, and how they happen in addition to what we face as women. So, yeah, it is badly written.

    [Moderation note: Edited by Amp a bit to remove some flame-bait.]

  96. 95
    LC says:

    A big problem is the way it was written with all these “because of my gender”. Many of those should be replaced with “because of my transgender status”. That’s where a lot of the confusion is. Look at 18. It’s talkking about how a lot of trans people hhave DIED in emergency rooms while waiting for the hospital to figure out what to do with them, or while doctors examined their bodies trying to figure them out, or make comments about what freaks they are. Me personally I don’t go to hospitals (I have an ambiguous body). My insurance specifically excludes me from treatment because I’m trans (not “because of my gender”). Yeah this list is terribly written.

    Like number 12… why mention political action? Huh? If you get arrested for any reason you get be put in the wrong prison and it’s basically a death sentence for a lot of people if it gets to that point and they don’t put you in solitary. And if you survive you are so messed up. I had a friend who survived five years in a male prison as an out transwomen and is permanently disabled.

  97. 96
    Alexis says:

    Despite the agony of the discovery of being born intersexed, I’m now glad that I consider myself part-man and part-woman. I see the world in a very different light than so-called normal people. It has always been so. I’m in touch with my spirituality like very few other people. Historically, intersexed women have a reputation for being highly spiritually aware.

    Western society tries to categorize people into easy to understand ways. Women like me have to adapt greatly to survive. in an often hostile world. I didn’t choose to be born intersexed. It’s not a great deal of fun since I have NEVER had the pleasure of dating, companionship, romantic love or intimacy. I can never have a family. It’s tough at times, however I’m much stronger for it!

    I cannot visit places like I would like such as swimming pools, gyms, beaches and other places because I consider the sensitivities of others. I do not want to make anyone uncomfortable. Bottom line, I respect other people.

    I say to those who seek to go out of their way to make things difficult for women like me, I say bring it on! The harder people make it for me, the stronger I become. I overcome adversity and ultimately win.

    I work from the premise that I treat all people like I want to be treated myself with compassion, dignity and respect. All I ask is that others do so in return

  98. 97
    FurryCatHerder says:

    Why is it that feminist women recognize “White Privilege” and “Straight Privilege” but not “Non-Trans Privilege”?

    I’d like to propose another “Non-Trans Privilege” — “I get to claim I’m not privileged because everyone thinks you’re crazy, a pawn of patriarchy, or generally suck”.

    That should be listed first, because that’s the privilege that used most when these discussions come up. It can even be used for the “Male Privilege Checklist” — “I get to claim that I really am better than you because everyone knows women just want to have babies and get fat eatting bon-bons at men’s expense.” They both have the same validity.

  99. 98
    Myca says:

    I’d like to propose another “Non-Trans Privilege” — “I get to claim I’m not privileged because everyone thinks you’re crazy, a pawn of patriarchy, or generally suck”.

    I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts, and how much I want this on a t-shirt.

  100. 99
    Jake Squid says:

    Read through some old threads here about Male Privilege and note how and what people write. Then read the more recent thread about White Privilege (and how it applies to feminism) and pay attention to who writes what.

    I was amazed by how many of the people writing from the unprivileged side in the Male Privilege threads reversed positions (down to phrasing and inability to hear or parse the unprivileged side) when taking part in the White Privilege thread. Stunned that those who wrote so eloquently while explaining the privileging and the dynamics of language in one thread then used those same phrasings/were unable to see the dynamics of language when they were in the position of power.

    What I learned from that is how easy it is to see your disadvantages and how difficult it is to see your own privileges.