Gender Normative Privilege

Updated: August 2021

For many cisgender (non-transgender) people, the privileges that come with their gender identity may be invisible. This list, adapted from a resource by the Lambda 10 Project, highlights some of the privileges cisgender people enjoy. If you are cisgender, you can use this list to think about your experiences with gender and gender expression. How can you make spaces you are a part of more inclusive for transgender people? Open a discussion with those around you to see how you can help.

If I am gender normative (or, in some cases, simply perceived as gender normative):

• Strangers do not assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.
• My validity as a man/woman/human is not based on how much surgery I have had or how well I “pass” as cisgender.
• When initiating sex with someone, I do not worry that they will react poorly to my body parts.
• I am not excluded from events which are either explicitly or de facto for (cisgender) men or women only.
• The choices I make about my body and medical care do not impact how people view my beliefs.
• I do not 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.
• I do not have to defend my personal medical decisions.
• 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.
• People do not disrespect me by using incorrect pronouns even after they have been\corrected.
• 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 “hip-ness” or good politics.
• I do not have to worry about whether I will experience harassment or violence for using a bathroom or whether I will be safe changing in a locker room.
• Others of my gender do not view my body and past experiences as “baggage” or as shameful.
• I do not have to choose between being invisible (“passing”) or being “othered” and/or tokenized based on my gender.
• People do not assume my sexual preferences based on what they think my body looks like.
• Others do not consider my sexuality to be valid or invalid based on my gender.
• When I go to the gym or a public pool, I can use the showers.
• If I end up in the emergency room, I do not have to worry that my gender will keep me from receiving appropriate treatment, or that all of my medical issues will be seen as a result of my gender. (“Your nose is running and your throat hurts? Must be due to the hormones!”)
• 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.
• Others do not consider my gender to be a “disorder” or an “illness”.
• The medical establishment does not serve as a “gatekeeper,” determining what happens to my body.
• People do not use me as a scapegoat for their own unresolved gender issues



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