Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Passing* Privilege

Back in the old days in order to transition you had to meet certain criteria that were forced on by the medical community, one of the requirements was that you had to be able to blend into society.

I say that if you can’t tell I am trans you need a hearing aid and glasses, but what happens when you do integrate into society?
Transgender Women Explain What It's Like When They Don't 'Look Trans'
When women don't visibly scan as transgender, it can feel affirming, dangerous, and totally unremarkable, all at once.
By Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard
July 25 2019

When I was 10 years old, I was a boy that looked like a girl. I had thick chestnut hair down to where my boobs should’ve budded and a dainty voice as yet untouched by testosterone.

My 90-something neighbor used to congratulate my mother on what a beautiful young lady I was becoming. “Oh, Clementine, this is my son!” my mom always quickly corrected. I didn’t know whether I was more embarrassed that I passed as a girl, or that I was embarrassed that I liked passing as a girl.
Being able to integrate in to society brings its own risks,
What some guys see as hot about trans women can also be their grounds for violence. Some men realize they're attracted to someone who looks like a girl, but challenges their notions of what a girl is, so they panic. "Trans panic," in fact, was the defense mounted in the 2002 murder case of Gwen Arujo, a 17-year-old Latina trans girl from California. She had been sexually involved with four men at a party who forced her to undress. When they learned she had a penis, they tortured and murdered her.
I’ve experienced the dangers of passing, too. One Baltimore summer day, I was trudging alone on a busy thoroughfare. Two guys in a car slowed down, creeping alongside the curb and jeering profanities. Suddenly: “Oh, shit, that’s a dude!” The driver started cackling at the friend who had leaned his head out the window—and who was now enjoying an unexpected reversal in vulnerability. The spotlight was no longer on me, but on the man, whose face ripened into an ashamed blush. To course-correct, he spat, "Fucking faggot," then, "Die, tranny." Ducking into the nearest storefront, I bawled—but I was safe.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Either way we are vulnerable.

A lot of times the perpetrator is okay with dating a trans women until his friends found out and then harasses him for dating a trans women. Or he is teased by his friends when he makes a comment about a “hot girl” at the end of the bar and his friends start teasing him when they tell him that she’s trans.

Back in the “old days” the medical profession wouldn’t provide healthcare for us to transition unless we were able to integrate in society and we were attracted to men, we had to give up everything and start over in our new life. We got the reputation of lying to our therapist because they forced us to jump through hoops so we told them what they wanted to hear. And trans men didn’t exist in their model of gender dysphoria.

There is a quote from the “National Transgender Discrimination Survey” that I use in my workshops...
Visual non-conformity is a risk factor in causing anti-transgender bias and its attendant social and economic burdens.
It means that if you can integrate in to society you are going to face less discrimination and harassment than a trans women who cannot. In the “old days” the gatekeepers threw trans people under the bus if they couldn’t “pass.”

We should not be denied the right to transition if we cannot integrate in society.

*Passing… I don’t like using “passing”but sometimes it is hard not to use it. The reason I don’t like using “passing” is because of the connotation that we are putting something over on people. That we are hiding that we are trans.

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