A Few Thoughts About Trans and Male Privilege
You are entirely correct in saying cis privilege, and white privilege, are unearned and are dropped into a person’s lap. I happen to be white and after all these surgeries and sh*t, all but cis. Or at least neo-cis because I pass and I get female privilege which is less about money and temporal power.
I also agree that people who live for a long time in the “wrong” gender will get the goodies that come with that gender. I agree with you entirely. Executives may get golden parachutes, but they also speak of golden handcuffs, meaning that they are incentivized to stay to stay in place. The wife. The kids. The big salary. The pension. It’s hard to give that up — and it was the argument my mom always led with as she tried to talk me out of transition. “It’s a man’s world,” she said and she was right on spades on that one. Is it ever!
But it’s hard as hell to enjoy these privileges if you hate what you are doing and hate yourself every day you get up. You have to at least like it a little if you take advantage. For example, surgeons make good money and let’s say you are bright enough to make it through med school and your hands are really flexible and steady. It’s something I would have no trouble doing because it is interesting and you am helping. But some people faint at the sight of blood and if you start to talk to them about what next technique you applied, they want to run from the room. On the other hand if I was tax attorney, I would hate it and would be totally bored by finding the latest loophole and run from the room. Take either example, or another one along that line, and say you are “forced” to do that job.
Forced into the job called “boy” or “man” and you want to run from the room. It’s cold comfort you get rewards.
When I wrote my novelette, A Girl Without a Name, I had a famous writing teacher read it — one who has a trans daughter, no less — and the teacher read the novelette twice and still had to ask point blank, “But when did” six-year-old “Mark exactly decide to become a girl?”
I worried it was a failure of the text, but no, even with a transsexual daughter, understanding that this is not some learned decision but is baked-in prior to birth seems incomprehensible and if a child hates what they are, the privilege tastes flat indeed. Being a strict vegetarian and taken to a steak house and told you can eat as much meat as you like. Maybe you don’t take a bite and eat the salad, without the tuna on top. Outsiders might later say, “But you had steak-eater privilege.”
But yes, I concede your observation that there are adults who say. “why not.”
Speaking only for myself, the intensity of it was so strong I was already sneaking estrogen when I was in college.
My hope is that the adults and young adults who did not get blockers and who are coming up will be the last generation that has to face this. They won’t have male privilege, or female privilege in the case of trans men, forced on them.
I would have cheerfully given my right arm as a kid to have been raised in the right role with proper medication as I hit middle school (blockers) and late high school (cross-sex hormones). In other words, “Here’s my right arm, now take away my privilege.” And so I caution against holding it against someone who was forced to be a boy, or else!
I want to show a way out where kids don’t grow up to be laughing stocks because their birth defect (a silent birth defect) was not recognized and treated early.
That’s all. The best way out of these woods is forget the privilege and take the medicine.