Time and again, this is what I hear:
- “It’s easy for you. You ‘pass’.”
- “People only take you seriously because they ‘see’ you’re male.”
- “Because you ‘look cis’, of course!”
These kinds of swipes, along with countless variations and other statements, reflect on a concept called “passing privilege”. Because I “pass”, or “look”, like a man, someone I am “entitled” or “privileged” to certain “benefits” that others who don’t “pass” can’t obtain access to. I don’t have issues using a communal or public bathroom or locker room. I don’t have to share my seat on the bus or train until it’s absolutely full. I’m seen as “competent” with my car’s upkeep when bringing her in for an oil change; when I say no to any form of upselling, the service person stops without double-checking. I can go through airport security without incident.
It is a serious issue between “tucutes” and transmedicalists. Many of us transsexuals put in the time, effort, and cost to undergo sex changes so we live out our lives and ordinary men and women, rather than flaunt some third-gender deviance and expect the rest of society to turn itself upside down to accommodate narcissists. We pay large legal fees to legalize our name changes. We undergo not just hormone therapy but various sex reassignment surgeries to modify and heal our bodies to live as members of the opposite sex. We have to carry and show surgical and other prior authorized documentation to various government and private entities, so they can update the databases, so we can legalize our name and sex changes and not have to worry about clerical errors fucking up our lives.
The reason why our IDs emphasizing gender markers is due to the androgyny going on during the 1970s. Before that, there was no need to list gender identification. I have yet to hear a reason why we shouldn’t go back. A name, address, ID number and photo is all you need; things like birthday, gender, and other information should not be needed. (Side note: with all the gender fuckery going on in the 70s, it was simply cross-dressing. Today the kids crossdress and call it “being non-binary”. WTF??)
It’s even strange to realize that in some states it’s easier to update your passport than your driver’s ID—all you need is a letter stating you’re receiving “appropriate treatment”; that’s it, that’s all you need to state from your primary. No need for details.
And then the current political system we live in…that’s why I took this thorough, legal route. If we culturally backshifted someday, I’m protected from anything mild to moderate. Any new law that prohibited sex changes, would not apply to me. I’d still be able to live like a man, because my name change, sex change, and general appearance are all male now, and to force me to live as a woman again—it would be very hard to tell the people that their tax dollars would be used to force me to undergo a boob job, to have to be put on birth control for the rest of my life, to allow a guy who has horseshoe hair be allowed once more into female restrooms. (Seriously, that head hair I lost, it’s never coming back, regardless of whichever hormone therapy I’m on, and I need one or the other, because my hysterectomy left me without the ability to produce ample enough of either major hormone to have my body function properly.)
What I disagree with is people claiming I have “passing privilege” or that I’m reinforcing “cisnormativity”. Yes, I was lucky enough to have parents support me so I could pay for my sex change, but the appearance I have is the result of testosterone first, surgery secondary. I’m the spitting image of my dad, always have been—the T just enhanced that. What I wear and how I act was always normal for me, not something that reinforces stereotypes. I also live in a conservative area, so “passing” is as much a necessity to survival, as it was a necessity to ease my social and physical dysphoria.
If price is your issue, here’s what I’ve learned: get that second job. Find a roommate. Save your tax returns. Forgo that phone upgrade. Skip the organic and buy food basics. Put off retirement. Make and stick to a budget. I was able to get a job at Starbucks, where only 20 hours each week entitles you to trans-inclusive healthcare that covers everything. You can bundle that with another job to help make ends meet while saving for everything you need. And in most states, courts will waver, if not at least reduce, the fees associated with a name change.
I have no privilege. Everything I benefit from I earned. Stop confusing the two