This post is the first in what will probably be a ton of posts about my privilege. I hadn’t even known the concept until just a year or two ago, and even now I am sometimes embarrassed by the privilege I didn’t realize I had (the only privilege I probably never had was class, as I grew up poor, but I am a white, male, able-bodied, and up until recently passed as a hetero) Because this touches on privilege issues I will cross post this with my normal blog as well.
Well, now that we are back from Geek Girl Con (GGC) I can put more thoughts down on paper, or blog as it is. It was a great weekend and I do have to say GGC is the most open-minded con I have been to. It was great to meet and see so many transgender people who are part of the con, and not the cast outs. There were some very pretty women and men there (and no, that doesn’t mean they all passed, I found some of both genders that didn’t pass just as attractive). Seeing so many of them got me thinking about my own personal view and some realizations I had made.
I will be honest, since adulthood I have always been attracted to trans* people. I watched a lot of porn featuring transgendered individuals (mostly transgendered women, I hadn’t realized how attracted I might be to transgendered men until my husband came out). Some of my friends knew I had a lot of different tastes in porn but remarkably I never got a lot of flack for liking it.
I had always imagined before I got together with Jello, and after we opened up our relationship (we are poly on and off), that I would be just as happy with a transgendered woman as I would be with a cis-gendered woman. The plumbing of the individual didn’t matter at all to me, my requirements for my female partner was for her to believe she was a woman, not if she had a cis-gendered body. I am currently discovering I don’t think an individual needs to identify as anything anymore, Jello’s transitioning opened my eyes up to what I really am interested in, and for me that is just someone to love and take care of.
However, recently I discovered one of many points of my cis-gendered, white male privilege that I had never considered before. I never understood why non cis-gendered women were so reluctant to date cis-gendered men that were sexually attracted to them. I heard the term fetishizing a lot, but I hadn’t understood what they meant by that. Why would a woman be reluctant to date another person who is interested in them sexually, especially because they weren’t cis-gendered?
I kept going over in my head trying to figure out what was wrong with that. Then I finally made a breakthrough. When my husband came out I began to look more into the social issues surrounding transitioning individuals. I wanted to be supportive for him and understand any possible issues that might affect him or perhaps anyone who I might date in the future that is not cis-gendered.
I had always thought if I dated a non cis-gendered woman that she would go out with me everywhere on dates and just to hang out, like any girlfriend would. She would get to know my friends and family and would eventually become part of my family if things progressed, just like any cis-gendered relationship.
However, I kept seeing that same set of references about men fetishizing these women. So I read a lot more blogs and YouTube channels by non cis-gendered women. It finally dawned on me that a lot of guys wouldn’t treat the women as girlfriends, but just as booty calls. For some reason there was a disconnect for me. I knew that women were treated poorly and as booty calls due to numerous other reasons (looks, social position, culture, etc) but it had never even glimmered in my mind that transitioning women weren’t considered “real women” and therefore were something to play with but leave at home. I was absolutely flabbergasted by that.
That was an eye opener. I feel like I was very naive, as I NEVER imagined not treating someone like my girlfriend (and now I can include husband as well) if we were intimate. It truly had never mattered to me for any reason, so I had wrongfully assumed everyone else was like that in believing there is no shame in being with someone, no matter his or her beliefs, social position, race, original gender or disability.
Now that I realize this, I feel incredibly dumb for not catching it before. It makes sense, I have seen other guys treat booty calls poorly and when that happened it always made me angry with the guy. It never even dawned on me that a transitioning woman wouldn’t be treated like a cis-gendered woman.
The fact I missed this I blame on my white, male, cis-gendered and outwardly appearing hetero privilege (I will lose the hetero privilege as soon as the T works on Jello, and I am more than happy to lose that privilege).
What makes it worse is that I sometimes felt offended by some of the posts. I felt defensive that someone would question my interest in him or her because I am cis-gendered. I never struck back at someone for it, but the frustration was there on occasion. Now that I realize what it was about I am ashamed of that, and especially with the understanding I gained in reading about the subject I feel like I need to hang my head in shame.
This just shows me that there are so many issues I don’t see because of my privilege. I need to make it one of my primary objectives to review everything around me with as clear a view as I can and get rid of that white male worldview, and if possible help others get rid of it as well.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming J