the dfab trans* privilege checklist: a community project

[update (february 6th, 2013): i’m re-evaluating my entire position on this issue, so please take this article with some piles of salt.  at this point, i’m not even sure a dfab trans* privilege checklist is remotely useful; checklists are hopelessly limited in scope.  still, it was good for me to write it; it was a good way to start thinking about how dfab trans* people are oppressed as opposed to how dmab trans* people are oppressed.  further criticism will be cherished.]

i wrote a dfab trans* privilege checklist!  i wrote it because i thought writing a privilege checklist would be a good way for me to work on checking my dfab trans* privilege.  i’m posting it here because i think it needs to be a community project in order for it to be complete enough to be useful.

i need you to help me with it because i know it’s incomplete and possibly flat-out wrong.  i know this checklist can’t cover the diversity of our experiences as dfab trans* people and i’m totally prepared to edit this checklist HEAVILY; i’ll consider all feedback carefully.  please totally discuss.  i’m looking for feedback from everybody; dmab/dfab trans* people, cis people, queer people, straight people, poc, pwd– everybody.

(note: all contributors will get due credit and shiny-awesome links back their own spaces.  also, these points don’t apply to every dfab trans* person equally because intersectionality is kind of a big deal and we all have different lives.  actually, i bet some of these points don’t apply to dfab trans* people who aren’t read as dfab.  thoughts?)

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1.  i have the privilege of being unaware of my dfab trans* privilege.

2.  even if i’m read as my gdab (gender designated at birth) i’m able to distance myself from misogyny.  after all, regardless of what other people may think of me, i know misogyny isn’t really aimed at me.

3.  statistically, i’m unlikely to be murdered for being trans*.  (partial credit: harrow)

4.  society isn’t obsessed with whether or not i disclose my trans* status.  when i do disclose my trans* status (either right away or later in a relationship), i’m relatively unlikely to face violence.  (full credit: reneta xian)

5.  generally, i can expect dfab trans*people to not be featured in fear-mongering, transphobic ads.  (tw: transphobia, transmisogyny!  example, example.)

6.  i probably don’t experience the same level of simultaneous fetishization and desexualization as dmab trans* people do.

7.  if i’m read as my gdab while wearing clothing designated for the other binary gender, i’m unlikely to be met with violence.

8.  in general, people don’t assume i’m a predator because i’m trans*.

9.  in general, people don’t assume i’m a pedophile because i’m trans*.

10.  when i’m read as male, i may benefit from male privilege.

11.  i can expect to watch tv without hearing derogatory jokes about trans* people of my gdab.

12.  in trans*/queer spaces, i’m probably given more opportunities to speak and to lead than most dmab trans* people are, especially if i express my gender/non-gender in a stereotypically masculine fashion.  (partial credit: aniel jaster.)

13.  if i die under suspicious circumstances and the media picks up the story of my death, it’s unlikely that my sex life and my body will be examined and judged.  (tw: cissexism, racism, transmisogyny, violence!  example, example.)

14.  i’m often welcome in women’s spaces that specifically exclude trans* women.  these spaces may not acknowledge the existence of other dmab trans* people, but they are probably excluded by default.

15.  if i’m visibly gender non-conforming, i’m unlikely to be harassed by store employees and by my fellow customers while shopping for clothing in what appears to be the “wrong” gendered section of the store.

16.  in general, i don’t have to be hyper-aware of systemic transmisogny in order to protect myself from violence.  (partial credit: harrow)

17.  i can appropriate the systemically oppressive experiences of dmab trans* people without actually facing said systemic oppression.

18.  in general, people don’t fear me because i’m trans*.

19.  if i speak about trans* issues, especially transmisogyny, i’ll probably get more credit for my words and ideas than dmab trans* people do.

20.  if i speak out against transmisogyny, i probably won’t be seen as self-centered and i probably won’t be told i’m taking up too much space.

21.  if i’m outspoken or even aggressive while out as trans*, people probably won’t attribute my outspokenness/aggression to my socialization.  (partial credit: aniel jaster)

22.  if i require access to sexual assault services, i’ll probably be able to do so without experiencing harassment and/or rejection as a result of my gdab.  (full credit: aniel jaster)

23.  due to rampant transmisogyny in the feminist movement, i generally feel more comfortable speaking in feminist spaces than many trans* women do.  (full credit: aniel jaster)

24.  members of the queer community are unlikely to consider my sexual identity an illness or a perversion.  (full credit: reneta xian)

25.  i’m probably not perceived as an agent of the patriarchy attempting to infiltrate feminist and lesbian spaces.  (full credit: reneta xian)

**related reading: trans “people”: intersectionality and the distribution of risk

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update (february 6th, 2013): as i added at the top of this post, i don’t exactly stand behind this post 100%. here are some of my main issues with it:

  • maybe this shouldn’t be a privilege checklist; is dfab privilege actually a privilege? or is it something else? i mean, it’s obviously SOMETHING.
  • this checklist doesn’t do a good job of accounting for how people are read. for instance, a dfab trans* person who gets read as a woman (like me) is going to have a very different experience than a dfab trans* person who gets read as a man.
  • i’m not sure how applicable any of this in other areas of the world. it’s definitely written from the perspective of someone who lives in western bc, canada.
  • this list is hopelessly non-intersectional. sure, privilege checklists are limited in scope and can’t be applied to everyone equally, but i think i did a horrible job of leaving space for intersectionality. and i don’t know how to fix it.
  • if you think you can clear some of this up (telling me to delete the post doesn’t count), go ahead. i’ll listen.

33 responses to “the dfab trans* privilege checklist: a community project

  1. Aniel Jaster

    For points 5 and 13, the trigger warnings should definitely include *trans misogyny* because they’re specifically geared against trans* people who were DMAB (both white and of color).

    22. If a person who was DFAB needs to use a sexual assault or rape crises center, they are probably not going to be kicked out or harrased (or worse) for their dgab.
    23. People who were DFAB are more likely to be listened to, heard, and are generally given more space (especially if they articulate their gender or non-gender in a “masculine way”) in specifically delcared “trans* ” spaces.
    24. (similar to 21). If a person who was DFAB is aggressive or assertive, they will not be told that it because of their supposed “male privilige/socialization.”
    25. A person who is DFAB is not as much likely to be afraid/ uncomfortable to speak up in feminist/other “women” spaces as their trans female counter parts, due to trans misogyny.

    I feel that all of these are complicated, and are *humanized*, through recongizing that they vary drastically due to race, class, “ability,” gender expression (we live in an anti femme world), immigration status.
    that makes these check lists very hard, but obviously, they are necessary.

  2. yay! thanks for helping me with this, cat!

    k, so i added 2 new points (#22 and #23) and i modified 2 existing points (#12 and #21) in order to incorporate your awesome ideas. also, i decided to edit the intro a bit to specifically mention intersectionality. do you dig the changes? did i butcher your ideas?! leme know, cat.

    these checklists are neon complicated; intersectionality fucks with them ALL over the place. i still think they’re valueable, though– if they’re well-written. as a white, currently-abled, educated, squishy-but-not-quite-fat person, i’m worried that i’ve totally attributed some things to my dfab trans* privilege when they’re REALLY the result of my white privilege or my currently-abled privilege, for instance. that’s a big part of why i want other people to give me feedback. i need people who don’t have the same privileges i do to contribute to this list. this is also why i think being nit-picky about the phrasing is extra important in this post.

    seriously, thanks! you always have neon ideas; i’m stoked to use some of them in a post.

  3. As always I love your stuffs Mx. Punk. I have a few contributions.

    A DFAB trans* person can be out in the queer community and expect your sexual orientation won’t be considered less valid, real, or suspect (I.E. If you identified as a lesbian no one would question that on the basis of your assigned sex at birth.)

    Transition as a DFAB Trans* person is less likely to be viewed as a only being a product of restrictive gender roles placed on your gender assignment at birth. (Meaning DMAB Trans* people’s self affirmed gender identities are considered less real, valid, or even that we are “enforcing” gender stereotypes)

    DFAB Trans* people are unlikely to be viewed as “agents of oppression in disguise”, “deceivers”, or have their sexual identity treated like an illness or perversion by feminists, lesbians, or others within queer spaces to include other trans* people.

    DFAB Trans* people are less likely to have their gender expression challenged or degraded/insulted in feminist and queer spaces. (Freedom in gender expression for DFAB but not DMAB, to exclude DMAB people intentionally trying to upset people in queer or feminist spaces).

    DFAB trans* people are less likely to be avoided as a potential partner in dating on the basis of their current or past genital anatomy or current surgical status.

    (Pre-op and non-op trans women have a harder time dating than post-op trans women). Not sure if this one counts considering how problematic SRS is for Trans Men, or by how much it alters it but it goes across for other trans* DMAB people. Generally speaking the moment “I’m Trans” comes out of my mouth, lesbians who found me attractive no longer want to have anything to do with me (sometimes don’t even make eye contact).

    DFAB Trans* people are less likely to face violence for not fully and publicly disclosing their trans history to a potential romantic interest prior to meeting them/discussing dating/kissing/et cetera.

    Anyhow, that is just a couple I came up with. I hope I am not doubling up on anything without realizing it. These are just a couple that hit me pretty hard in my life, or are particularly relevant to me. I hope it helps. Anyhow, I hope your life is well, as always and keep writing… You stuffs is awesome-sauce.

    ***Makes a giant paper airplane, hops on it and flies away occasionally losing little scraps of paper to the wind.***

  4. hi, sparkle-cat! sorry it took me so fucking long to even approve your comment; i haven’t been checking teh internets lately. like, i decided wordpress wouldn’t explode if i went off to pride with my sweetheart and just ditched the computer for a few days. it was a rad break! huzzah!

    “A DFAB trans* person can be out in the queer community and expect your sexual orientation won’t be considered less valid, real, or suspect.”

    k, so i actually don’t know about this. if i were a queer trans* guy i might know, but i’m just a sweet pansexual of the non-binary variety. as a pan/non-binary cat, my sexual orientation isn’t under much scrutiny; if you get that gender is a galaxy, you just go, “yeah! non-binary and pansexual kinda go together! i dig!” but if you think gender is binary, well, you’re probably going to focus on how stupid i apparently am for not noticing that i actually have tits (tits, apparently, ensure femininity and womanhood in the possessor of said tits). so i don’t have much experience with this and i probably need more opinions from my cats. (hint hint!)

    “Transition as a DFAB Trans* person is less likely to be viewed as a only being a product of restrictive gender roles placed on your gender assignment at birth.”

    in the words of skwisgaar skwigelf, “permits me to disagree.” cuz really, the most common reaction i get when i come out as trans* to feminists is, “you’re just giving up the good fight because being a woman is HARD. you’re not trans*– you’re an escapist.” yeah. so i must disagree with you on this point.

    “DFAB Trans* people are less likely to have their gender expression challenged or degraded/insulted in feminist and queer spaces.”

    hmmm… i think this is a good point. i mean, it seems like dmab trans* folks (trans* women, in particular) are supposedly upholding the binary when presenting as femme, but just aren’t “real women” when presenting as butch. on the other claw, masculinity seems to be acceptable in dfab trans* peoples, though femininity is seen as more suspect (ex: “why didn’t you just stay a girl?”)

    i already updated the post; check it out and lemme know what you think. thanks for all the wicked feedback! also, happy belated birthday! <3 <3 <3 mew!

    *gets tangled up in a pride flag flapping behind a dyke-on-a-bike at pride* *gets dragged to their very scratchy death* cuz pavement HURTS. (based on a true story with some fictional events tossed in for awesome.)

  5. This is all class and privilege. Poor people of color are busy surviving…and not sitting around playing “who is more oppressed”. Only people with privilege have time for these conversations. Xoxo-yours trans* brothers & sisters of color

  6. Hey! This is great, thanks for putting this together. As a DFAB genderqueer person who has a lot of experience with online and offline queer communities, I’ve noticed I have a huge amount of privilege and I don’t think it’s addressed often enough. I think MTFs and other DMAB trans* people are too afraid of losing our support to call us out on our shit sometimes. There are different levels of power and privilege all throughout the queer community and no one really wants to be told, “Hey, I know you don’t have many rights, but I think I actually have it worse.” And no one wants to be the one to say that either.

    There is one thing on this list I don’t agree with, though, which is #2. As a genderqueer person, I really only have the option between being read as female or male, and seeing as I don’t want to medically transition, even when I don’t present as femme I am read as female. Even among my coworkers (ie non queer people) whom I am out to, they still basically treat me as if I were female. I don’t think in any way I have escaped misogyny. I’m belittled, creeped upon, called weak, not taken seriously, etc, because people assume I’m female. It’s impossible for me to distance myself from misogyny, as it happens to me and other people who pass as female, and even worse I don’t have any support systems for dealing with it.

    I do still have privilege, though, in that if I tell the feminist movement at large that they are not inclusive enough for me, they at least won’t attack me and might actually listen to me (it sorta worked in the past but eventually I just gave up on feminism altogether because it was too exhausting). And the misogyny I endure is not trans*misogyny, it’s just plain old shitty, “thanks doll” misogyny. And, as much as I hate it, I definitely have passing privilege, though that’s not necessarily a DFAB privilege.

  7. hi, r!

    “This is all class and privilege. Poor people of color are busy surviving…and not sitting around playing ‘who is more oppressed’. Only people with privilege have time for these conversations.”

    yep! and i think working on checking my various privileges is a pretty good way to spend that extra time. writing this checklist has helped me quite a bit; i’ve been thinking about how my privileges impact other people and what i can do to offset those impacts.

    writing/reading a checklist is only one step, obviously– then i have to do the real work. still, i’m glad i used my time to think constructively about my dfab trans* privilege.

    i’m honestly not sure if you meant that thinking about my privilege is a frivolous waste of time or if you just wanted to point out the privilege inherent in being able/needing to write a privilege checklist. cuz, yeah, the fact that i needed to write this checklist is a major sign of my privilege; i bet most dmab trans* people would consider this pretty obvious stuff.

    thanks for reading and commenting, r.

  8. hi, tan!

    thanks for the sweet words; yay!

    hmmmm… about #2: i’ll rephrase what i meant just in case i worded that point badly. please feel free to suggest rewordings!

    so, people always think i’m a cis woman; i put up with a shit-ton of misogyny. people calling me dear and feeling entitled to touch me/comment on my appearance, strangers at my workplace assuming i can’t do my job (cuz my tits might get in the way? i guess?) etc.

    it pisses me the fuck off– but i know it stems from miscommunication. I’M not a woman. they think i’m a woman, but they’re wrong. it still sucks to deal with their misogyny, but i feel somewhat distanced from it.

    of course, misogyny misgenders me and makes me angry on behalf of women, so i get it from both directions. still, i feel somewhat distanced from it cuz i know they think i’m someone i’m not.

    that’s basically what i was getting at. do you still disagree? if so, do you think # 2 could be valid if reworded? is it applicable to some dfab trans* people but not to others? i don’t want to inlcude a privilege that most dfab trans* people don’t experience.

    thanks x 10 million for your input; with enough input, this could be rad checklist, imo. huzzah!

  9. This is an interesting idea and I’d like to add my two cents, if I may.

    # 3: Unlikely to be murdered, yes. Attacked, no. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey analyzed stuff like this pretty exhaustively in school and work settings. MTF (their wording) trans people do get significantly higher levels of physical or sexual assault than FTM people, but it’s not massive. For example, in the school system, 43% of MTF students were physically assaulted and 34% of FTM. For sexual assault, it’s 15% and 10%.

    It also found that in many cases, non-binary people get the highest levels of nastiness of all trans people (including the above example of sex assault, which was at 16%). So there may be a case to make for binary privilege as well. They didn’t slice and dice the data as they did for binary trans respondents, so it’s often harder to do more precise comparisons.

    # 4: The survey found that 20% of MTF people, 26% of FTMs and 31% of non-binaries have suffered harassment or assault from the police.

    # 16: Unfortunately cissexism and binarism do a nasty job of making DFAB people’s lives dangerous too.

    # 18: Again, it depends. Trans guys seem to get somewhat less fear/hostility from assholes, non-binaries somewhat more than trans women.

    I think that DFAB people do in fact suffer from societal oppression, because the figures in the survey are pretty hair-raising. As for the other points, I think they’re mostly right on.

  10. hi, harrow! i read the survery you’re referencing, but i need to re-check it. basically, i’ll go away and do some research before getting back to you.

    thanks for your input; i totally appreciate it. huzzah!

  11. TW sexual assault

    So something to keep in mind with the statistics above, as something that has only changed in recent years, trans* women used to outnumber trans* men. I’m also wondering if trans* men (I am not using DFAB deliberately here) are statistically less likely to report a rape.

    I would also say that trans* men are both hurt by and benefit from patriarchy, because I think if a trans* man were ever raped and needed services, if things were desperate he has a dfab body (depending) and places like planned parenthood and police stations are more equipped to handle the rape of dfab bodies than dmab ones in general. It’s a really shitty benefit, but it’s there. Trans* men also get male privilege, so they are sort of burning the candle at both ends. In a lot of ways, they get to benefit from the activism structures and support systems, while simultaneously having male privilege.

    Dmab people, on the other hand, are burning the candle at no ends. They don’t get male privilege AND they don’t have the same activist structures to draw upon.

    I’m not entirely sure why dfab are so accepted (in my experience) in lesbian and feminist spaces but dmab people are not. It seems… Unjust somehow. Well, I mean, obviously.

    And I don’t think the being preop/nonop issue is strictly a dmab thing, I know a whole lot of gay trans* men who wan’t get a date once the gay men figure out that they don’t have equipment.

    Trans* men also used to suffer from a greater form of cultural erasure, thought that’s been changing dramatically over very recent years. I think it’s an indication of how much male privilege dfab people can have that the first really well portrayed trans* character on a television show is a trans* man.

    It seems like society has a harder time wrapping its mind around a dmab person who doesn’t identify as a man.

    Sorry, I’m also not sure how much discussion I really had going on?

  12. Thanks Mx. Punk! Here’s a link for the non-binary report, which really wasn’t covered in the initial report on the survey:

    And for anyone else who wants to check out the main report:

    Lots of intriguing (or depressing) nuggets of information, even if you don’t want to read all 228 pages. That’s just some light summertime reading, right?

  13. @ harrow: ‘k, so i changed # 3 cuz that’s a good point about murder vs non-fatal violence and i dropped what used to be #4 cuz i realized i was totally unsure about it. i also changed #16 from “systemic cissexism” to “systemic transmisogyny.” i didn’t change #18 cuz i disagree with you.

    what i’m talking about is stuff like, for example, the whole “bathroom bill” thing where dmab trans* people (mainly trans* women) are basically presented as rapists/perverts/predators. it really seems to me that society views dmab trans* people as predators. feel free to suggest re-wordings, though. also, rebuttals. ;)

    please lemme know how you feel about this, cat, and thanks for helping me out with this! further thoughts are totally welcome! also, sorry it took so long to get back to you.

  14. @ mike: “Dmab people, on the other hand, are burning the candle at no ends. They don’t get male privilege AND they don’t have the same activist structures to draw upon.”

    ^^^ this. totally. this is a big part of why i started taking my dfab trans* privilege seriously– cuz it’s, you know, serious.

    i think society has trouble dealing with dmab trans* folks cuz misogyny. i mean, when a dmab person comes out as trans*, they’re essentially giving up male privilege and “devaluing” themselves. and it’s fucking incomprehensible to grues/misogynists.

    thanks for commenting, mike! i know i always say thanks (is it starting to get cheesy?), but i always get excited about comments– especially comments from unfamiliar people. also, comments from sweet friends. ok, i just love comments.

  15. So I don’t know a ton about this, but… Doesn’t much of it depend entirely on how the individual is read by other people? I just know that I’ve met women (they identified that way, I’d think this would apply to many transguys) who people will not stop staring at, because they’re at first read as male, then you might notice they have breasts or something else feminine about them physically, and then that they nevertheless are “acting like men”. And there are straight men (primarily) who don’t take kindly to any of that. I was in a bar with such a woman once and we left because we didn’t like the look on one man’s face. She was also black, which may have made her sting more in some people’s eyes. But I don’t think it should just be chalked up to “intersectionalism” and left at that, I mean, I’ve also known white butch lesbians from the midwest who had faced pretty staggering amounts of violence, that I wouldn’t just chalk up to homophobia in and of itself.
    So I don’t know – is this just meant to be about people who are usually read unambiguously as either male or female by others? I wouldn’t say just binary people, since we know far from all binary people are read the way they identify. No question transwomen will always be at particular risk though.
    Either way I think it’s fantastic that this weird business of marginalizing transwomen in queer subcultures is being examined. Everyone likes a tomboy but not a sissyboy right? Sigh…

  16. Hey Mx. Punk: Your revisions make sense to me, and I mostly agree with point 18 – the sexual predator (of children, cis lesbians and poor innocent cisstraight men) stereotype is really severe and oppressive for trans women. I would only note that hostility to other trans* identities also comes from the same reptilian brain fear response and can be pretty nasty at times.

  17. @ suzanne: “Doesn’t much of it depend entirely on how the individual is read by other people?”

    totally! like, i’m trying to compile a checklist that accounts for how we’re read by others, but i think that’s going to be a very imperfect aspect of this checklist regardless of how hard we try. i guess i’m hoping to improve as much as possible on this point and just recognize that checklists have failings and that they can’t ever cover all of us.

    like, some women (as you pointed out) benefit from conditional male privilege– but the male privilege checklist is till a valid tool. it has limitations, as do all privilege checklists in my experience, but it still seems valid to me.

    i guess that’s what i’m hoping to accomplish. that’s why some of the points are worded to specify how the person in question is gendered by others. actually, i’d love some suggestions! :) this is what trips me up the most, tbh.

    and yeah, some guys don’t take kindly to “womens actin’ manly,” but i think it’s still different from how people perceived as “feminine guys” and dmab trans* folks are treated (as you point out in your final line).

    i think this checklist mostly applies to all dfab trans* follks and people seen as dfab trans*/butch cis– but not in equal measures. i try to specify how the individual is being read in some of the points, but i think i might’ve failed in this regard. again, if you can think of any improvements in this regard– yay! i think this is pretty much the greatest failing of this checklist right now, so…yeah.

    thanks for your input and i totally await your reply/rebuttal/advice/whatever you got. <3 i'm loving the activity on this thread!

  18. @ harrow: hi! i’m glad you’re ok with the revisions; lemme know if you think of anything else. nit-picky is totally awesome around here. like, we appreciate a good nit-pick in these parts. ;) also, thanks for the help!

    “I would only note that hostility to other trans* identities also comes from the same reptilian brain fear response and can be pretty nasty at times.”

    ^^^ yep! the grues can be just fucking disgusting to us! we may be privileged over dmab trans* folks, but that doesn’t mean it’s all cinnamon buns, right? i wish it were, though. i fucking <3 cinnamon buns.

  19. It is noteworthy that the primary source of privilege extended to DFAB trans* and queer people resides within the queer community and queer spaces. Considering there is no other safe place for queer DMAB trans* folks, that is where the privileging of female to male, feminine to masculine expressions and genders becomes a problem. Going against the grain in the masculine direction is considered subversive, edgy, and to some considered a “natural product of rejecting the power of the patriarchy”, going in the feminine direction (even if you redefine and empower it) is seen as favoring the patriarchy (though that isn’t necessarily the case).

    Gender defenders are certainly a problem, but one’s expression doesn’t make one a defender of traditional notions of gender on it’s own. However, one of the reasons I disagree with some feminists and queer advocates often relates to the dialogs that reduce ones gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation to a political device. Gender expression can have an element of will, and choice behind it, but to erase it as a valid part of ones identity, or to limit the expressions that are valid is about as useful as cutting off ones nose to spite their face.

    I’d even say it’s incredibly dangerous to equate ones gender or sexuality to a “political engine”, and I have lesbian do this one before. Being a lesbian isn’t rebellious, it’s a state of being. Embracing that and rejecting the assertion of “mandatory heterosexuality”, gender norms, et cetera is rebellious and undermining to the kyriarchy in general. But it serves no one to impose the way in which one does that on all the others, which in itself can be as oppressive. That being said the other privileges extended to DFAB and DMAB people are those relating to heteronormative and cisnormative conditional privileges. They hinge upon whether they are hetero or “appear hetero”, not “queer looking”, and “look cis”.

    However, again the degree of violence and hatred directed at DMAB and DFAB trans* people diverges proportionally to the amount of hetero/cis privilege they are passively extended socially as well as the length of time they have been granted that privilege. It’s not hard to see that sexual violence against DFAB trans* and queer people is greater, as culturally sexual violence is higher against cis/hetero DFAB people. The assessment of privilege and oppression dynamics is quite complex, because depending on which method of oppression you look at it will vary. DMAB trans* people are unarguably the target of more general oppression and harm, and are especially more oppressed in queer spaces.

    This has not always been the paradigm, but it is now. Trans* feminine people do often pick up the oppression women face as well and they literally get it from both sides. Additionally, there are some groups in queer community that are transphobic towards both DMAB and DFAB trans* people. But they are a fringe group of queer separatists, and not endemic to the whole. They tend to bad mouth trans masculine people as being “leaches” or “invalid as sexual partners” to these lesbians, but still tend to describe trans* feminine people as the worse evil.

    With the world the way it is internalized bigotry in our community is going to be a problem, and will probably be so for a while. The newer generations are better about it though. And the queer separatists (as well as the trans* separatists) are wrong, because gender and conformity to gender norms is intrinsically tied to both the struggles of homosexual and transsexual people. Wow, I typed a lot. All considering though, looking at the dynamic in this frame may or may not help you in framing the checklist accordingly. There is some good feminist on YouTube (Look up ThosePeskyDames), they are trans* friendly feminists. Anyhow, I got mad sciency rainbow guns to build. One is for you, mew!

  20. @ reneta: “Going against the grain in the masculine direction is considered subversive, edgy, and…a “natural product of rejecting the power of the patriarchy”, going in the feminine direction…is seen as favoring the patriarchy (though that isn’t necessarily the case).”

    ^^^ wisdom nuggets right here. it’s just fucking transmisogyny.

    “Gender expression can have an element of will, and choice behind it, but to erase it as a valid part of ones identity, or to limit the expressions that are valid is about as useful as cutting off ones nose to spite their face.”

    ^^^ and some truth bombs.

    it’s a pretty complicated topic, right? i mean, i benefit from conditional cis privilege and conditional binary privilege. it fucking makes me ill with dysphoria, but it does probably save me from a bit of violence/hatred/etc. i totally hope to change that, but, yeah. still got those conditional privileges.

    conditional privileges totally fuck with privilege checklists. like, i try to account for it in this checklist, but it’s tough. oog.

    also, huzzah for rainbow guns! mew!

  21. I think you are doing an awesome job on the checklist considering the cultural complications. If oppression were a simple thing we’d have dealt with it long ago. Small moves. I also benefit form conditionally cis/hetero/binary privilege until my status is known, and it irritates me. I wrote a post about it. I used to actually like getting that sort of thing, but because I feel androgynous, non-binary, and such I feel it’s erasive for someone to gender me binary, or even assume that I am cis.

    Because I’m not cis, I actually like my androgyny, and their assumptions that I am is oppressive. I don’t think it’s my duty to correct other peoples assertions about me should the moment arise that my status becomes a need to know for them. But that is what it ends up being. Cis privilege for you. It’s clear you also abhor those insinuations, even experience dysphoria over them. I guess the only reason I liked it before was because it meant I wasn’t being “read man” anymore. But as my androgyny became important to me it did.

    Once again, I have you to thank for coming to a place I understand that. Our thoughts on this matter also tend to be “ironically linked”. But this whole deal relates to a lot I am dealing with lately, when it comes to trying to date queer women. I am constantly afraid that someone is going to like me because they think I am cis, and ditch me when they find I am not. At the same time, I am not going to wear a red letter so they get it right. I shouldn’t have to, you know? Even had nightmares about it.

    I should make Rainbow Guns for everyone! Because a world filled with rainbows verses hate couldn’t be a bad place. There would have to be cupcakes too, of course. Add awesomeness where necessary, as you are now, mew.

  22. thanks for the kudos! honestly, though, this checklist would suck hard without all the input i’ve received; it’s a totally different beast than it was when i first posted it. so, yay!

    conditional cis privilege is weird, isn’t it? like, yeah it makes me feel pretty dysphoric cuz it means i’m being misgendered (i doubt i get read as nonbinary cis), but it’s not like i want extra bullshit to deal with. ya know? like, i don’t think it’d be cool to have to put up with people reading me as trans* and being asshats about it.

    as it is, i out myself whenever possible, but i still play it safe in some situations. still, i need to look more like me and that means i need to get read as cis less often. take the bad with the good, right? and tell the grues to play in microwaves. ;)

    i can’t imagine dating as trans*. in my case, there was a bunch of casual sex and then there was my one true love. who happens to be my greatest ally. i totally found a magic unicorn.

    you shouldn’t have to out yourself up front if you don’t want to! what a shitty situation. i send internet hugs and rainbow jar cupcakes! <3

    also, yes to the cupcakes and rainbow guns. mwa.

  23. I ditto the “Play in microwaves bit”. Thanks for the hugs, and cupcakes. I appreciate it. I am hoping it’s just my fear playing tricks with my head and I find out after more experience it’s not so bad. Only time will tell. Either way, I’ll move forward and keep looking for the things I desire.

  24. “I’ll move forward and keep looking for the things I desire.”

    this is totally awesome. i’m glad, sparkle-cat!

  25. i think it’s noble that you want to put this together, but most of the stuff on here isn’t really “DFAB privilege,” it’s white privilege, class privilege, regional privilege, or it’s the result of plain old sexism. many of these items are about trans women only because trans men as a community are largely invisible, which is hardly a privilege.

    those lists of murdered trans people don’t tend to include many DFAB trans people, but they don’t tend to include many white middle-class DMAB people, either. calling that a “DFAB privilege” is inaccurate: it’s white privilege and class privilege that keeps folks off those lists.

    also, 22 may be true for pre/non-transitioning dfab trans people, but definitely not for post-transition trans men.

    it’s always good to check our privilege, but i don’t see where it is a good use of anyone’s time to recreate entire new privilege checklists for privileges that are already covered extensively and more thoroughly in infinite other places, or to create these hierarchies within the trans community over “privileges” that are so specific to socially liberal cities with large trans/queer communities. maybe in new york/san francisco/wherever, these things are a problem, but in smaller non-coastal cities, trans men are still in the minority, and trans resources often cater specifically to trans women, with trans men being treated as an afterthought or assumed to be pre-transition women. if you’re privileged enough (yes) to live in large liberal coastal cities and have access to large enough queer and trans communities to experience these kinds of rifts, then by all means, check your privilege and work on it. but please don’t assume that these things are specific to all DFAB trans people everywhere, because it just isn’t true.

  26. “It is noteworthy that the primary source of privilege extended to DFAB trans* and queer people resides within the queer community and queer spaces.”

    I think this is a really important point. I’m dfab genderqueer and white.

    I have white privilege everywhere. In liberal spaces, in conservative spaces, with friends, with family, with strangers.

    Many of these dfab privileges, though, apply primarily to queer/sj spaces. When I try to talk about trans issues outside of queer/sj spaces I’m met with blank looks at best, and frequently hostility. My use of feminine-coded clothing, accessories, etc. may be seen as empowering or radical when in queer spaces, but outside of them it’s seen as proof that I’m not really trans and faking for attention. And so on.

    Regarding 7 and 15 – in general, people who are read as dfab are less harassed when shopping in the “wrong” section, wearing the “wrong” gender’s clothing, etc. This is not unique to dfab trans* people, so I think it does not belong on a list of dfab trans* privilege. And I do not feel “unlikely to be harassed” is accurate – violence towards gender non-conforming women (and people who appear to be women) is appallingly common. I and several other dfab people (cis and trans) were beaten up in school for not appearing feminine enough, received death threats, etc.

    22 also applies to all dfab people – cis women are not rejected for crisis treatment on the basis of their gdab.

    And as for 25, no, I’m not seen as a patriarchal agent infiltrating female spaces, I’m seen as a traitor to the female cause who took the easy way out/grabbed for privilege. Neither of these are privileges, they’re just different aspects of transphobia, just like dfab trans people being allowed in womens’ spaces when trans women aren’t is. (14)

    As for all the stuff about misogyny and transmisogyny… that’s not dfab trans privilege. That’s male privilege (or perhaps non-female privilege), since it applies just as consistently to cis men.

    All in all, I feel that there are very few points on this list that are not better attributed to male/non-female privilege and transphobia.

  27. @ j and sparrow: thanks for your input, cats. sorry it’s taking me so long to get back to you, but i haven’t even checked my email in ages because life.

    i’m not going to reply right away because i want to think about your comments before just blathering brainlessly. be patient!

  28. one last thing….

    with pretty much every other privilege (white privilege, able-bodied privilege, cis privilege, etc.) the population is divided into two parts: the people who have the privilege, and the people who do not and are thus oppressed

    this doesn’t work with dfab trans* privilege, though. there are many people who are not dfab trans*. some of these people are dmab trans*. however, others are cis. while dfab trans* people may be treated better than dfab trans* people, they’re not at the top of this hierarchy. dfab and dmab cis people are not oppressed by dfab trans* people.

  29. oh ok i guess that wasn’t one last thing – regarding #2:

    i believe that misogyny is directed at women, and thus doesn’t apply to dfab trans* people (except for those who are genderfluid and do identify as women at times). however, that means that #2 also applies to dmab people who are not women.

    i am mentally ill. men and women are treated differently when it comes to mental illness – i mean, ptsd was only recognized and legitimatised after wwi, when it was recognized in men. but i wouldn’t argue that there’s any such thing as “mentally ill male privilege” – male privilege as it applies to mentally ill people, yes, but that’s an important distinction. no one is privileged for being a mentally ill man, but some people do benefit from being mentally ill *and* male.

    i feel the same thing is true for what you (and many other people) are calling dfab trans* privilege.

  30. I just wanted to say thank you to Mx.Punk for this site in general and the way you write things. I’ve been reading various articles since yesterday when I found this and I’d really like to show my GSA your site. Its very interesting to see what you and others have to say about being trans*/gender queer and I love to see everybody having calm rational discussions. As someone who is a cis female some of these things wouldn’t have occurred to me to even consider.

  31. I know you’ve said you are rethinking this post years ago but honestly this should be taken down.

    I’m a dfab trans person who has experienced so many things on this list that you claim dfab trans people have “privilege” regarding and are “extremely unlikely” to experience. Reading this is triggering and creates such erasure and oppression olympics. You’re right that it’s not international but even as a white person I’ve experienced so many of these. And as a disabled person who is read as “wtf are you” and is on hormones i constantly have to describe my trans status to doctors and deal with that there.

    You said don’t tell you to take this post down. So, ok, I won’t. But, just know that I’m not the only dfab trans person who has read this and felt erased and disgusted and I won’t be the last.

    Privilege is a systematic advantage that a dominant group has over others. There is no “dfab trans privilege.” That’s like saying there’s dmab trans privilege because most mainstream visibility of trans people is binary trans women and they also have received the most trans medical advancements. Or that late transitioning dmab trans people once had access to male privilege. We can always find random things that one group has that another doesn’t. That doesn’t mean they have dominant group hierarchical privilege.

    There is male privilege, white privilege, cis privilege, etc which trans people can sometimes access regardless of how they identify. But there is no trans privilege.

  32. I know someone else has probably said this but I wanted to chime in because I had someone post this on something as proof that AFAB people have AFAB privilege.

    I don’t think it’s really fair to call most if not all of these things privilege? Not to say that AFAB trans* people aren’t treated very differently than AMAB trans* people, but this seems more like a list of how sexism affects trans* people differently based off of how people see us. I’m not sure I’m comfortable the implication that AFAB trans people have power or privilege by being AFAB. Most all of those things on that list are due to society’s perception of femininity versus masculinity, not because AFAB trans people are inherently privileged. Being feminine is seen as negative so AFAB people who aren’t cis are seen as “distancing” themselves from femininity and are therefore accepted. The reverse goes for AMAB people, as being feminine is seen as weak and demeaning. This is literally just the effects of patriarchy and the negative views on masculinity/femininity affecting how people view different people. If anything that’s not AFAB privilege but cis male privilege leaking over to trans men and AFAB nonbinary people for “distancing” themselves from femininity; like how people always talk about how you want to marry one of those “real women” who love sports and bacon and trucks and being “one of the guys”, while women who like traditionally feminine things are demonized.

    Also AFAB trans* people being accepted in twerf spaces isn’t privilege that is just twerfs rejecting our identity and assigning us the same one we were given at birth. Like….a lot of that list really rubs me the wrong way because it makes being misgendered by feminists and praised by general sexist society for “rejecting the weakness of femininity” sound like privilege. And saying that being AFAB trans* means you have privilege, in the context of people misgendering or praising our rejection of femininity, sounds an awful lot like MRAs claiming “female privilege” because sometimes benevolent sexism helps cis women. I guess in this case it would be benevolent transmisogyny.

    I think the only instance where any of this could be privilege is for passing privilege, where trans men “pass” and so are treated with male privilege. But being misgendered or praised based off of sexist misogynistic views on femininity is not exactly what I’d call privilege, and as the commentor “A” said, a lot of these things are generalizations and not really indicative of how AFAB trans* people are actually treated.

  33. Pingback: Workshop Wednesday: Recognizing Privilege | LUKAYO

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