Many years ago, I used to wonder if my Nan would die, and if she did, would my grandfather take over the house? At the same time I was worried that Thomas Covenant would fail to defeat Lord Foul. On top of those worries, I was worried that, being brought up as a male, I would never become the woman I knew I was.
Funny that, innit? Knowing that you are being brought up as a man and yet, wanting to give all that up, give it away, to lose all that privilege, to be the woman you always knew yourself to be.
Yet, that is what I did. And I did it gladly. I didn’t do it to gain entry to toilets. to have some sort of power, to have “energy”. I did it because it was the right thing for me. I wasn’t male, despite my physical appearance. And, yes, I was born male. According to society. I had physical characteristics of a male, on the outside, and I had a male upbringing. Well, as male as one can get when you are trying to be female.
No, much to my regret, I didn’t go through menstruation, but then, neither did a lot of women. I don’t have XX chromosomes, but then, neither do a lot of other women. I’ve not suffered from a lot of things that many women have suffered from . Then again, neither have most women these days.
Now, you may start thinking that I haven’t had the upbringing that all women have. I was lucky. I had two wonderful parents and a wonderful brother. I had what should have been an amazing life. Unfortunately, there was a problem, and that problem was that I was trans (although I didn’t know it at the time, I just knew I was different). Amazingly, despite my best efforts over the years, I didn’t manage to kill myself (and, believe me, I tried, it’s not easy). So, no, most trans women don’t have a ‘typically female’ upbringing. Nor do we have a ‘typically male’ upbringing.
If your idea of me having “male privilege” is having grown up in a male body then, I must say, you are sadly mistaken. I spent most of my life scared of even leaving the house, just in case someone realised I was trans. When I did finally come out, I was so scared of going outside that my partner offered to get people off the street to come and see me, just so I wouldn’t feel alone.
This thing you call “male privilege”, is only effective if you are secure as a male. It does not work for trans women. It never has, and it never will do. Growing up male never worked either.
So, you may call us “male”. you may say we have “male privilege”, you may say we re not women but, in each of those, you will be wrong.
Oh, think on this: Even if there was no such thing as gender, no binary “male” or “female”, my body would have still been wrong (considering I knew it was wrong before I’d even heard of these terms).