Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I See Life From Both Sides Now…

Both male and female.

We have a unique perspective when it comes to “male privilege” as another song says “That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone” and when a trans woman transitions and you lose male privilege you realize what it really means. While trans men gain male privilege and all of a sudden they omniscient.
What Trans Men See That Women Don’t
Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”
By Charlotte Alter

Yet experiences of trans men can provide a unique window into how gender functions in American society. In the last few months, I’ve interviewed nearly two dozen trans men and activists about work, relationships and family. Over and over again, men who were raised and socialized as female described all the ways they were treated differently as soon as the world perceived them as male. They gained professional respect, but lost intimacy. They exuded authority, but caused fear. From courtrooms to playgrounds to prisons to train stations, at work and at home, with friends and alone, trans men reiterated how fundamentally different it is to experience the world as a man.

“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin,” says Tiq Milan, a friend of the future groom.

And that cultural sexism is often more visible to trans men, because most say they find it easier to be low-disclosure than trans women. They’re often not recognized as trans, which means they can be less vulnerable to obvious transphobia. Some call it “passing” or “going stealth”; others say those terms suggest secrecy or deception, preferring the term “low or no disclosure.” In practice, this means that a 6’2” woman is often more conspicuous than a 5’4” man. James Ward, a lawyer in San Francisco who transitioned about six years ago, put it this way: “We have the ability to just walk through the world and not have anybody look at you twice.”
As a trans friend told me once, it is like all of sudden he has a brain. He can say anything and people agree with him, he knows nothing about cars but if he said that it sounds like you need a new muffler bearing everyone would be nodding their heads in agreement.

While for trans women,
Trans women have long observed the flip side of this reality. Joan Roughgarden, a professor emerita of biology at Stanford and a transgender woman, says it became much more difficult to publish her work when she was writing under a female name. “When I would write a paper and submit it to a journal it would be almost automatically accepted,” she said of the time when she had a man’s name. “But after I transitioned, all of a sudden papers were running into more trouble, grant proposals were running into more trouble, the whole thing was getting more difficult.”

“As a man, you’re assumed to be competent unless proven otherwise,” she says. “Whereas as a woman you’re presumed to be incompetent unless proven otherwise.”
A trans woman friend who has an Electrical Engineering degree, a MBA and is a project manager says it is like she has had a lobotomy. Before she transitioned if she said something during a meeting everyone’s  nodded in agreement, now she is ignored when she says something and when a man says the same thing  everyone’s  nodded in agreement with him. She said one time at a customer’s factory she was asked to get the coffee.

It is also the hormones…
Every transgender man interviewed for this story said he wasn’t just treated differently after he transitioned—he felt different, too. Those who had taken testosterone treatments said they noticed psychological changes that came with the medical transition. Most trans men said that after they took hormone treatments they felt more sure of themselves and slightly more aggressive than they had been before the treatment.
“As a female there was black and white and everything in between. When I started taking the hormones, it was more black and white,” he explains, adding: “If I get into a disagreement with someone at work, I don’t have that feeling afterwards of, ‘I hope I didn’t hurt his or her feelings.’ I’m not a worrier as much as I was in the female body.”
Back before I transitioned and I was passing as a man, someone said “men are pigs” and we would laugh agreeing with it.
“Being privy to the conversations that men have amongst themselves really does give me an indication of how they think about women,” he says. “And sometimes it can be really scary.”

No comments:

Post a Comment