Tag Archives: Activism

Cross-post: Cisgender Privilege List

15 Dec
I found this laying around the office the other day, and was deeply moved by it. I think it’s worth a read and a discussion.. Can you think of any other cis privileges that come to mind?

Cisgender Privilege List


From Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

1) Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.
2) My validity as a man/woman/human is not based upon how much surgery I’ve had or how well I “pass” as a non-Trans person.
3) When initiating sex with someone, I do not have to worry that they won’t be able to deal with my parts or that having sex with me will cause my partner to question his or her own sexual orientation.
4) I am not excluded from events which are either explicitly or de facto* men-born-men or women-born-women only. (*possibly anything involving nudity)
5) My politics are not questioned based on the choices I make with regard to my body.
6) I don’t have to hear “So have you had THE surgery?” or “Oh, so you’re REALLY a [incorrect sex or gender]?” each time I come out to someone.
7) I am not expected to constantly defend my medical decisions.
8 ) Strangers do not ask me what my “real name” [birth name] is and then assume that they have a right to call me by that name.
9) People do not disrespect me by using incorrect pronouns even after they’ve been corrected.
10) I do not have to worry that someone wants to be my friend or have sex with me in order to prove his or her “hipness” or “good” politics.
11) I do not have to worry about whether I will be able to find a safe and accessible bathroom or locker room to use.
12) When engaging in political action, I do not have to worry about the gendered repercussions of being arrested. (i.e. What will happen to me if the cops find out that my genitals do not match my gendered appearance? Will I end up in a cell with people of my own gender?)
13) I do not have to defend my right to be a part of “Queer” space or movement, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people will not try to exclude me from our movements in order to gain political legitimacy for themselves.
14) My experience of gender (or gendered spaces) is not viewed as “baggage” by others of the gender in which I live.
15) I do not have to choose between either invisibility (“passing”) or being consistently “othered” and/or tokenized based on my gender.
16) I am not told that my sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive.
17) When I go to the gym or a public pool, I can use the showers.
18) If I end up in the emergency room, I do not have to worry that my gender will keep me from receiving appropriate treatment nor will all of my medical issues be seen as a product of my gender. (“Your nose is running and your throat hurts? Must be due to the hormones!”)
19) My health insurance provider (or public health system) does not specifically exclude me from receiving benefits or treatments available to others because of my gender.
20) When I express my internal identities in my daily life, I am not considered “mentally ill” by the medical establishment.
21) I am not required to undergo extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care.
22) The medical establishment does not serve as a “gatekeeper” which disallows self-determination of what happens to my body.
23) People do not use me as a scapegoat for their own unresolved gender issues.

Storytime: Identity Assumptions for Advocates

20 Oct

Funny thing about being a radical sexual pluralist and sex positive activist. A lot of assumptions seem to be made about who I am, what I do, and how my body and sexuality are designed. Granted, we all have assumptions made about us on a regular basis, based on how we dress, act, look, or some other arbitrary feature. But I’ve noticed that when I am verbally in support of a group of people that one cannot immediately tell whether or not I am a part of, I am assumed to be a part of that group- because why else would I care?

Nobody has ever mistaken me for a gay leather man, or a nice young pair of men looking to adopt, even though these are lifestyles I vocally support. Of course, you can look at me and tell that I seem to be presenting to the world as a woman, and thus (probably) don’t identify as a gay man (the funny thing here is that, on some days, I do!). However, you can’t look at me and tell if I’m a trans woman, HIV positive, polyamorous, kinky, a sex worker, a Domme, a submissive, a sexual assault survivor, a lesbian, or queer. I am some of those identities, and I am not some of those identities. As I say to strangers who ask me directly: That’s between me and my partner(s), thank you.

I think it’s curious that when I do not immediately confirm or deny association (it feels very strange to say “I advocate for the rights of ____! But, oh, no, of course I’m not ____.”), the assumption is made that I clearly care because I am a part of that minority. I think it speaks to the second, invisible assumption: Who would care but members of that minority?

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Storytime: Coming Out as a Survivor, or, How Kink Saved my (Sex) Life

10 Oct

Now for something completely different: Story time.

Trigger warning: I will be talking about issues surrounding sexual assault and survivor sexuality.

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Lets talk about sex(uality)!

3 Oct

“The time has come to think about sex. To some, sexuality may seem to be an unimportant topic, a frivolous diversion from the more critical problems of poverty, war, disease, racism, famine, or nuclear annihilation. But it is precisely at times such as these, when we live with the possibility of unthinkable destruction, that people are likely to become dangerously crazy about sexuality. Contemporary conflicts over sexual values and erotic conduct have much in common with the religious disputes of earlier centuries. They acquire immense symbolic weight. Disputes over sexual behaviour often become the vehicles for displacing social anxieties, and discharging their attendant emotional intensity. Consequently, sexuality should be treated with special respect in times of great social stress.” — Gayle Rubin, Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality

It is also time to talk about sex. Increased awareness of LGBTQ issues has led to an increased public discourse about sexuality, including policy shifts towards increased inclusiveness, and conservative public backlash as the movement has gained momentum. Even as policy changes perhaps slower than those within the movement may desire, the important thing is that, as a culture, we’re talking. Compliments of the internet, increasingly younger populations are able to find community in their diversity, and a generation of less-isolated gay youth are coming of age into the social and political arena. The closet door has blown off, and now America is adjusting to increased awareness and visibility of a diversity of sexual expression.

This is an excellent time to start some discussions about the rest of the rainbow, the forms of sexual diversity that spread beyond LGBTQ. This is a great time to start talking about expanding the rainbow.

I identify as a Radical Sexual Pluralist, a school of thought introduced by Gayle Rubin in the previously quoted document. According to this idea, there is no one “right” or “proper” way to experience sexuality. Sexual culture can be as intricate and diverse as ethnic culture, and as varied in it’s expression. It is my belief that in today’s modern era, any action that may be experienced as sexual that occurs between mutually consenting adults is okay.

I am also a Masters of Social Work Candidate at Western Michigan University. This blog was started as a part of my internship work with the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, and the Lets Talk about Sex(uality) film and discussion series will be coordinated through the center.

Through this lecture/documentary/blog series, I hope to start some conversations about different sexual minorities, and offer a variety of perspectives and approaches to stigmatized sexualities. Hopefully through this series, we can start a community conversation about the many shapes and flavors of consent, and help decrease our own personal judgmental beliefs about different groups of people. Stay tuned for book reviews, documentary reviews, this author’s personal musings, and guest bloggers from a variety of backgrounds.. Lets talk about sex(uality)!