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).


One comment on “Hmmmm

  1. My experience of male privilege: every male around me felt entitled to judge everything I liked, everything I did, how I did it, how I looked, how I sounded. I could only be myself in private, and I didn’t get a lot of that.

    I don’t consider I had a male upbringing. I was never social enough for that. I had a very few friends based on common interests like sci-fi and programming. I have a brother: all my life I’ve been so aware of all the ways I’m not like him. Opposites in practically every way. We’ve never been close and the only times he has contacted me in the past 5 years were first to tell me our dad was seriously ill, and later that he had died.

    Growing up with everybody around me assuming I was male, I just had to go with it and try my best to conform. And as time went on my list of things I had to conceal, to hide behind the mask, kept steadily growing. More and more things I felt or did or wanted, I had to keep to myself because to reveal them was to invite a cruel, often violent response.

    I thought about suicide often. I know that if I had felt sure about not being interrupted I would have attempted it. No cry for help: I never intended a note, I never considered the impact on others. It was purely for me. But I never had the solitude. Loneliness aplenty but little time alone. I never knew anyone like me, anyone I identified with, anyone I could have confided in.

    Things are different today. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with anxiety and depression. I’m still socially awkward. But the mask is gone and I don’t hide who I am any more. It’s not about any of the feminine traits I might have, not about dresses or makeup or heels or cute fluffy penguins. It’s about not being afraid of being me.

    Sorry: I went on a bit here. It’s an emotional subject as you know so well yourself. Especially emotional as in 3 weeks’ time it’s Mother’s Day and I can’t let myself expect anything despite having built a close relationship with my daughter. I just don’t think she thinks of me in that way, but that is one thing that would mean the world to me.

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