Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bisexuals and Straight Privilege

Edit: I disagree with much of this now, but I am not deleting it in the interest of honesty.  I recognize now that bisexual (cis) women experience higher rates of violence  and abuse than any other cis queer demographic, and that for trans bisexuals (especially black trans people) it's even worse.  Materially, "looking straight" has proven to offer no protection.

As someone who used to see myself as cis bisexual (before I was comfortable with accepting my trans status), I can definitely relate to #1 and #2 in this post. I gained a lot of privilege when I was with a man that I lost when I was with a woman.

Having been on both sides of the fence, and even on top of it from time to time, I can say that #3 is really missing the point of what "privilege" means. I wish privilege were a feeling! Unfortunately, privilege is an systematic advantage gained by having a status ascribed to oneself.

If people think I'm cis, and they see me with my partner, they will treat us like we're straight. It will not feel comfortable, and in fact will feel very degendering, but that doesn't change the fact that even wrongly-ascribed privilege is still privilege.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Not My Nigel

My Nigel* "gets it" more often than not. And I'm not saying everyone should give him cookies simply for being a decent human being, though of course I like to celebrate my partner's positive qualities because I love and respect him. But it seems like so many of my genderqueer and woman friends online and in meatspace are partnered with dudes that just don't "get it" at certain times when it seems like the situation is self-evidently hostile to gender equality. I want to be like "hey, this isn't rocket surgery, my Nigel gets it, what's this asshole's excuse?" but then that sounds so "my boyfriend can beat up your boyfriend."

I guess what I'm saying is that anti-feminist attitudes in men aren't some sort of force of nature, like "in today's forecast, we have a high of male supremacy with a chance of scattered sexist jokes." Some of us don't face that crap on the home front on a regular basis - my lived experience is proof of concept that this is not only possible, but to be expected, even demanded of men in our** lives. Anti-feminist male attitudes are the result of willful ignorance or gross negligence at best. They're not something that the gender minorities in our lives should be expected to brace themselves for on a regular basis, hoping the sexism washes over them with minimal damage, because "boys will be boys" and ze wouldn't want to hurt his feelings, now would ze?

*that's feminist lingo for a male partner, friend, or family member
**I in no way want to imply that the responsibility is on gender minorities to police men's behavior.