Power is Fleeting
|Image Courtesy Markus Winkler|
Transitioning from male to female in the world is an very specific way to understand the basics of gender power. By power I mean gender privilege. I know it didn't take long for me to experience the loss of my male privilege's.
First of all, learning to present as well as possible as a woman was sort of a double edged sword. Of course being able to get out of my closet and live feminine was a new, exciting yet scary experience. And, being able to be accepted as a woman in a group of men taught me several immediate lessons. One night, somehow, I don't remember why or how I became part of a conversation between myself and three other men. Immediately and predictably I was ignored and my opinions discounted simply because I was there to start with and feminine in looks. I thought at the time, so this was how my life was going to change more dramatically than I thought when I began to feel comfortable as a transgender woman in public. Then, there were the times I was approached because I was transgender and appealed to a certain kind of man. Sadly, many times I faced only fitting into a sexual adventure with them and nothing else which never appealed to me.
I think overall these days many men are panicked about being men in the classic sense. Perhaps it is part of the reason an overwhelmingly amount of old white men are attempting to erase any or all of the very few transgender rights. Down deep these men are threatened by strong women and trans women by nature are the strongest of all. Because we had to be to survive. All along as we transitioned, educational and employment opportunities became very rare. Plus these were a few new of the gender lessons we had to learn made us a tribe full of survivors. As I said, I learned my lesson early when I gave up my hard earned male privileges to live as a second class gender citizen in the mind of many men. I was fortunate in that I experienced being "taken in" by understanding women who told me welcome to their world when I was "mansplained" by a man.
Also, it is no secret cis men are by nature more insecure sexually than women. Their insecurities could be why the death toll among transgender women tragically continues to rise year after year. Too many men are attracted to trans women then their insecurities step in and they become violent. Of course far too many cis-women have to deal with violent men who think their only real power over women comes from their physical ability to over power them. The men know deep down the women are intellectually and emotionally stronger. In other words, they can survive on so many levels without a man.
I also think the gender political bigots are scared to death of the younger generation who, for the most part is more liberal and gender blind than their parents. The same parents who are quibbling over drag shows instead of the real issues which threaten our society. As the bigots strive to hold on to their power which is slipping away, they don't realize transgender people have always existed and always will. No matter the obstacles which are thrown in our way.
Even though my overall dealings with men as a transgender woman have been few and far between, I still remember the early days of losing my male privilege's. Some were down right shocking (safely) while others were more mellow (communication) but all of them proved to me how gender power can be fleeting.