It’s been asserted (link here) that trans people benefit from “trans privilege”. The implication I draw from that statement – assuming that “trans privilege” exists, of course – is that we are somehow using this privilege to attack cissexual people because they’re not trans.
However, “trans privilege” doesn’t seem to have been defined anywhere, so I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it does mean. I wondered if I could find a definition by means of a reversal/substition of the term “cissexual privilege”, which has been given a now well-established definition by Julia Serano:
The privilege that cissexuals experience as a result of having their femaleness or maleness deemed authentic, natural, and unquestionable by society at large. Cissexual privilege allows cissexuals to take their sex embodiment for granted in ways that transsexuals cannot.
I think that’s clear enough, so let’s go through the looking glass and see how that works with the appropriate reversals:
The privilege that transsexual people experience as a result of having their trans identities deemed authentic, natural, and unquestionable by society at large. Transsexual privilege allows trans people to take their sex embodiment for granted in ways that cissexual people cannot.
Frankly, I just can’t see that at all. It seems to me that if society at large really did accept our identities, then we’d have no need for the descriptors trans and cis in the first place. We are defined by cis people’s society; their privilege of having their subconscious sexes and their physical sexes in alignment gives them the power to position us as the Other. We are consequently at an immediate and significant disadvantage as we are the people who forever have to justify our identities, our selves, to them. At least, that’s my direct experience: all else follows.
As for the second part of the reverse definition, all I know is that my gender dissonance has had, and continues to have, such an immense and immeasurable impact on my life in so many ways, for so many years, that taking my sex embodiment for granted is simply not even an option, full stop.
“Trans privilege”? It’ll take a lot more to convince me that such a thing exists – and certainly not as a weapon with which to attack cis people. But I do wonder if there may be, amongst some cis people, a misapprehension of what it means to be a member of the marginalised and oppressed minority that is the trans community.