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An Explanation of Why It’s a Ghost Town Around Here

Working on the book. I really want to share with you guys the new essays I’ve been working on….but I am going to save them for my book! I’ve also been expanding/revising the older essays and they are so different polished up a little! My biggest goal is to make the collection intellectual stimulating – a smorgasbord of tiny, interesting ideas.


In other news, I’ve just been really busy with work. I’m working like 55 hours a week or something crazy like that. Making good money though. But it’s exhausting – and not giving me much time to work on my writing. I dream of supporting myself through publishing one day. But in the meantime, just working the grind.

Life with Jacqueline is good 🙂 We have a lot of dreams and hopes and plans, some more concrete than others, but we are both wanting to get out of Missouri and get to the West coast – sooner rather than later. So making that a reality is a big priority right now. I’m also trying to save up an emergency fund. But otherwise things are looking pretty good financially. We are starting to think of ourselves more as a dual-income household and that’s pretty exciting and ties into a lot of the hopes and dreams we are discussing.

For some reason I feel like it’s really taboo to talk about finances out in the open. About “doing well” or whatever – or discussing exactly in numbers how much you’re making. There’s a stigma around personal finance and makes it so that only a certain class of people talk about money, and then, only with other people in the class of people who talk about money i.e. bankers, finance people, old rich white dudes, etc., etc. But we should all be talking about personal finance, budgeting, saving, retirement, credit, debt, etc., because all these things play a HUGE role in how well our lives goes.



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Hi everyone! I just joined Steemit. My username is rachelsmantra.

Looking forward to joining the community!

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There I Go Again, Thinking I Have a Basic Right to Exist in Society


There is a shockingly large contingent of Americans who believe that trans women should not have access to women-only spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, shelters, prisons, women’s centers, lesbian spaces, festivals, etc. I will call this contingent the Birthers, because they usually say things like only females who had “female” checked off on their original birth certificate can have access to women-only spaces, which would prevent trans women from using the bathroom they feel in their best judgment is most appropriate for them.

Ironically, Birthers usually place a very high value on the idea of freedom yet deny trans women the freedom to be themselves. Birthers are gatekeepers, they want to restrict access to life-saving medical treatment such as puberty blockers, hormone replacement surgery, and surgical treatments. They want to absolutely reduce the numbers of children and adults transitioning, socially or medically. For these people, the only acceptable solution to the “trans problem” is a form of conversation therapy, an attempt to mind fuck trans people into submitting to the fate of their non-consensual birth assignment. The fundamental goal of the Birthers is to eradicate the desire for transition, the possibility of transition, and the pragmatics of transition. Part of the strategy for inflicting this on trans people is by  using propaganda to overly emphasize how gender and thus appropriate social access to gendered facilities is determined by your so-called “innate biological essence”. This is often described by Birthers as a “fact” or “reality” that trans people are somehow “delusional” about. But trans people are not delusional. The difference between the body dysmorphic person and the gender dysphoric person is that the dysmorphic person misperceives the nature of their own body, giving it physical properties that don’t exist. The gender dysphoric person, in contrast, knows full well the reality of their body, that knowledge is usually the basis for medically transitioning and a source of the dysphoria itself.

The Birthers are so quick to point to “middle school biology” to solidify their argument but as Dan Dennett once wisely said “There is no such thing as philosophy-free science – there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.” The question of whether gender is different from sex is not a question that can be answered purely with science – it is a deeply philosophical question resting on complex questions of personal identity and gender as a performative, socially-embedded, experiential and subjective phenomenom. As Simone de Beauvoir famously said, “One is not born, but rather, becomes a woman.”

Upwards of 60% of trans people say they avoid public bathrooms. Without access to public bathroom facilities trans people are actually at risk of damaging their bladders by being compelled to hold their bladders for too long for fear of using either the men’s room or the women’s room.  Either option presents real dangers and for many trans people the reality is that they don’t use public restrooms at all. If they walk out of a movie, rather than waiting in line, they might just hold it until they get home. This is just one basic illustration of the way in which Birthers want to see trans folks eradicated from society. They want us to accept our birth assignments as absolute biological destiny and would, if possible, totally restrict the small little daily freedoms that allow trans people to exist in a public society of citizens.

But here’s the problem: Birthers will never understand the trans experience. They are not trans and have no concept of what it really means to have an incongruity with your gender. They can’t even fathom it. And if they do attempt to get their heads around it, they often just deny that its fundamental basis is true and go on to insist that the morphological shape of genitals we had as babies determines entirely and forever the very complicated phenomenon of our genders and how we fit into society. Talk about reductionist. Talk about rigid, stale, conservative, anti-freedom, anti-justice. They have no appreciation of the arguments in favor of thinking that gender can come apart from physiological properties. Ironically, most Birthers think that consciousness and the soul can come apart from biology but not gender for some reason, though gender is of course both a deeply social and deeply subjective phenomenon.

The Birthers are fundamentally just hypocrites hiding behind the social force of tradition. They value religious liberty, but not the liberty of trans people to make decisions about their healthcare, or about which bathroom they should use. Birthers justify this restriction of freedom by referencing the hypothetical possibility that a male person could abuse this freedom in order to harm girls and women. But it’s not like there’s a lock on the bathroom door. A cis male can walk in at anytime and there is no magic barrier blocking him from entering the bathroom and assaulting a woman or girl.

Bathroom bills are terrible solutions to a nonexistent problem. There might be a handful of problematic cases existing out there somewhere. With a population of 7.1 billion humans, with trans people accounting for, very roughly ~1 of the population, that makes 71 million trans people across the globe. Out of 71 million trans people it seems statistically likely for there to be at least *some* bad apples. But let me emphasize there is no empirical evidence showing trans women commit crimes at a higher rate than cis women. I repeat. No evidence. All there is is that one misinterpreted Swedish study but the author of the study said herself that nothing about the study suggests that your average trans woman who has transitioned circa 2017 is at any greater risk of being a criminal.

Bathroom bills are not created from the data. They are created from the ideological premise that, as Janice Raymond, the famous “radical feminist” who wrote that trans women are all rapists said, transgenderism must be morally mandated out of existence. Notice how this fits in line with many religious organizations such as the Roman Catholic church, who have said that trans people represent a grave threat to the moral order of society as dictated by the natural law of God. When your feminism aligns perfectly with what the Pope says about trans people being akin to “nuclear weapons” – then I think you need to reconsider your feminism.

Trans people have inalienable rights. We have a right to exist in society how we see fit according to our deepest vision of how we want our lives to go so long as we respect the autonomy of other people as well and think about the happiness of others.



Filed under Gender studies, Trans life, Trans studies, Uncategorized

Why Internalized Transphobia is the Hardest Battle

Am I a man? Or a woman? Or something else? Internalized transphobia is what happens when trans people unconsciously buy into the belief that, e.g., trans women are really deep down men and trans men are really deep down women. That biology will never change. That biology is destiny – gender is immutable. Often internalized transphobia is based on the toxic idea of cis-normative “Passing”. The idea is that the more you pass as cis then the more of a woman or man you are. We see ourselves in the mirror and see our assigned sex and the darkest thoughts enter our minds. “You’re just a man. What are you doing”. Or we meet a trans women who doesn’t pass perfectly and we can’t help but think “You’re still a man” – I admit I’ve had thoughts like this – I think we all have. Although I don’t have hard evidence I believe EVERYONE who has met a non-passing trans woman has had these thoughts. Even trans people. Trans people are not immune to transphobia. We live it and breath it just like everyone else. You look at someone, they have “masculine” features, and you think “boy”. But our minds like to ignore that many cis women have “masculine” features too. Oh but you might say even the most masculine cis women still is within the “norms” of cis-standards whereas non-passing trans women are “extreme” examples of masculinity. But this is internalized transphobia. It doesn’t matter if even the trans women before you is the tallest women you know. That is no license to assume she must be a man “deep down” because she is extreme on one or two traits. If a trans woman does not pass as cis female we have to fight against our own internal biases to see them as 100% women. We have to have grace for those trans women who have not had the time or opportunity to learn everything about acting/socializing like cis women. Furthermore, and most important, we must divorce ourselves from the idea that cis women define the standard by which socialization must be codified.

Personally, I don’t care if people think im 100%woman. But that’s just me. I’d be fine with like 70-80% woman. My self identity is not based on rigid binary concepts. I don’t even really identity as a woman simpliciter as in your “average everyday woman”. I see myself as a special kind of woman. A rare kind of woman. A woman that you just don’t meet everyday. But we must be careful. Because just because I’m rare that does not make me less of a woman. We need to reject the idea that the ONLY women are those women who embody cis-normativity 100%. If someone is read as 51% women we need to make room for these being full-fledged members of the category or women. We need to expand the concept of womanhood to make space for trans women who fall into the margins of binary stealth cis-passing normativity. Some trans women are butch, have no interest in passing as cis, and yet are fully comfortable in their own womanhood. Women come in all shapes and sizes. I know this idea is hard to swallow. Many people want to keep things easy were there are only two boxes for gender/gender presentation and everything is neat and tidy and correspondent with biology. But newsflash: biology is messy. Humans are messy. Gender is messy. This isn’t your biology 101 textbook about farm animals. Gender defies easy categorization. This is part of what makes the human experience so interesting. We are generally much more fluid than people believe. The line between men and women is rather thin actually and the boundary is porous.

But the battle with internalized transphobia is to accept this not just at an intellectual level but at a deeper, unconscious, core level. It’s one thing for liberal cis allies to use the right pronouns and treat us on the surface as women. But internalized transphobia deals with those secret thoughts you never share with anyone. It’s that twinge of uncomfort around non-passing trans women. And yes I am focusing on non-passing trans women because non-passing trans men often lead to less unconscious anxiety because they’re simply read as butch lesbians for which there is a socially acceptable category. But there is no acceptable social category for non-passing trans women. We are the fringe. But you know? Confidence is key. Hold your head up high. Be confident in your body language. Have a deep voice? Fuck it? Don’t pass perfectly? Fuck it. I am proud to fly my freak flag. I know not every one is comfortable with that language but for me non-conformity and living outside of society’s shit is a good way to cope with my internalized transphobia and dysphoria. Sure, I still care about passing. I still present femme. But I’m no longer obsessed with my voice. I’ve come to accept my voice. It’s mine. It will probably always be deep. It will always probably bring about occasional dysphoria. But that’s fine. Everyone has something they don’t like about themselves. Cis people also don’t like many parts of themselves. All we can do is work to better ourselves. To be good people.

At the end of the day the war against internalized transphobia can probably never be won. We might win a few battles but the war itself is a on-going lifelong struggle to accept ourselves. And to accept others. To divorce gender from biology. From appearance. From presentation. We will never live in a genderless world but we can live in a world where people internally fight hard to see trans people as their true genders no matter their appearance.


Filed under feminism, Gender studies, Trans life, Trans studies, Uncategorized

Trans as an identity vs Trans as a trait

Why did I choose to name my domain site “transphilosopher” instead of just “philosopher” or my name, Rachel Williams? I have self-consciously adopted the language of identity and embraced my transness as a central feature of my personhood (I even have a trans tattoo on my ankle). But not all trans folks feel this way. Some either want to downplay their trans identity as much as possible or go “deep stealth” and not acknowledge it at all. Post-transition, many trans people identity as cis because they see themselves as “normal” members of their gender just like cis people. Some just see their trans identity as a private medical issue that is the business of no one.

So why have I taken up the mantle of being both a philosopher and trans as a central feature of my online presence? This is a question I’ve asked myself many times since I started blogging under the name “transphilosopher” about 1.5 years ago. First and foremost, I do see my trans identity as central to who I am. It is not just an incidental feature of my personhood – it defines my everyday existence and structures my thoughts, desires, and beliefs in a profound way. Second, I want to raise more awareness in order to remove the stigma that comes along with openly identifying as trans. The more people get exposure to trans people the more society will begin to see us as full-fledged human beings instead of second-class citizens and the butt of jokes. Writing about gender issues as a trans philosopher also gives people advance notice that my writing is informed by my trans status – I can’t help but see the world through a lens that has been shaped by my transition.

I think another reason why I have adopted “transphilosopher” as my online persona is that I am self-consciously taking advantage of the “trendiness” of trans culture in mainstream media. Take for example H&M’s recent featuring of Hari Nef (a trans model) in a new advertising campaign. The mainstream media and the corporate world are starting to cash in on the explosion of trans awareness over the past few years. Intersectional feminism as a marketing strategy is also taking advantage of trans people to sell products (see the Absolut vodka ad featuring a trans woman named “Darla”). It’s a cash cow. It sells because trans identities are still seen as “exotic”. And perhaps they are in a way – I mean, how many people experience a gender transition? It’s a relatively rare phenomenon (1% of the population). Will it always be seen as taboo? Hard to say. But the rarity of gender transition will probably always make it something that is deemed “curious”. This is especially true of male-to-female transition which is very much considered “strange” for the same reason it’s considered highly taboo for assigned male at birth people to express any kind of femininity. Trans culture also sells because allies like to pat themselves on the back for even knowing a trans person or – gasp – being decent when it comes to the right pronouns. Oh – how progressive you are for reaching the bare minimum of decency!

So my identity as philosopher who is trans is self-consciously taking advantage of these recent trends to hopefully bring greater attention to my writing than if I was just going “stealth” with my online presence. Some trans folks might feel uncomfortable with this kind of selfish exploitation but after all isn’t it my choice on how to express myself? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t necessarily always love being trans. It’s not all roses and candy. It can be difficult. Dysphoria sucks. Being gender ambiguous sucks. Being misgendered sucks. These things happen on a daily basis on my life. Even 1.5 years in transition and 13 months into hormone therapy trans-thoughts still occupy my mind, though of course not as much as they did when I was first getting started. Like most trans people I am hyper aware of gender differences and the extent to which gendering happens in everyday life. But I’ve learned to embrace who I am, to even take pride in my identity. In my view, trans people just posting a seflie to FB is a radical act – showing the world that trans is beautiful no matter what. We are beautiful. We are here. We’re not going away.

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Dysphoria as a Symptom of Modernity


Dysphoria is everywhere we look in American society. Take for example the toxic beauty culture of the media promoting images of beautiful models representing unattainable beauty ideals. There are many young women wishing they were skinnier, with bigger breasts, and the right size ass. I would imagine many if not most girls and women in America wish they could change something about their bodies or appearance. Men and boys as well. We live in a fix-it society exemplified in reality tv shows depicting “ugly” people getting a smorgasbord of cosmetic surgeries and then showing the dramatic “before and after” reveal. The plastic surgery industry is a multi-billion growth bonanza – with surgeons making big bucks by not having to deal with insurance – straight up cash please.  But dysphoria is at the core of this phenomenon, a cultural dysphoria we have all internalized due to our exposure to unattainable beauty ideals and constant exposure to the digital altered world where a thick instagram filter hides our imperfections.

There are many flavors and varieties of dysphoria – and it is not just a transgender thing either. It literally just means discomfort about some aspect of your physical body. But dysphoria is probably more associated these days with gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria is a special kind of dysphoria that is felt when one is uncomfortable in your body because it either makes you feel like the wrong gender or makes you socially perceived as the wrong gender. Gender dysphoria has been a known phenomenon for decades. Many kinds of treatment are available to gender dysphoric people. Therapy. Hormones. Surgeries. These have all been shown effective life-affirming and life-saving treatments. I wouldn’t necessarily argue these treatments should be seen as “medical” in any way, like fixing a broken truck. They affirm gender. They relieve that pain of looking in the mirror and not seeing yourself as the right gender. People who have never experienced it generally have little ability to know what it’s like. But I don’t want to buy into any system of thought that sees all trans people as these broken creatures in need of fixing with the doctor’s help. Some trans people might think they are broken but I don’t want to generalize to ALL trans people.

Why is dysphoria a symptom of modern society? It’s because dysphoria is a symptom of the hyper-sexualizing/beauty obsessed modern media machine that is Hollywood and American media at large, either in video games or magazines, to the models we see on the walls of every department store. It’s everywhere. When you see perfection everyday it’s hard to not feel like well if I had the money to spare maybe I really would like to have perfect teeth, or bigger breasts, or less wrinkles in my face, or a flat stomach. I would look younger, better, newer, improved.

Non-trans dysphoria feels like a tempting analogy with trans women who get “facial feminization surgery” which is essentially just cosmetic surgery with the intent of reducing masculine features and emphasizing feminine features.  The analogy is that the dysphoria of a cis woman wanting plastic surgery to look presumably more feminine and beautiful is like that of a trans woman wanting plastic surgery to look more feminine. Metaphyscially they seem to be very similar.

But we must be careful with this analogy. Very careful. Because we can make a distinction between healthy and non-healthy kinds of dysphoria, strange as that sounds. What kind of dysphoria would be healthy? First and foremost the kind that can be treated. If the underlying cause is gender based then there are proven treatments that often lead to easing the burden of gender dysphoria, though it might be present at low background levels or intermittent bursts. Second, in cultures that have a recognized social role for gender expansive people the kind of dysphoria present in those populations is not necessarily unhealthy so long as society at large approves transition and has the mechanisms in place to ensure a healthy transition.

On the other hand, the kind of dysphoria that stems from trying to live up to the beauty ideals in media and culture is a lot harder to treat because it’s based on a flawed ideology, an ideology of the body. Of what the body is supposed to be. This is also the root of cis-normativity as well. This kind of dysphoria is hard to treat with technology because the problem actually lies in the culture at large not necessarily in the individual. The media machine that spreads unattainable beauty ideals into every aspect of society is unstoppable and getting worse as our appetite as consumers grows larger. I don’t see it going away anytime soon. This affects everyone but especially young women.

But men have their own unique kind of dysphoria surrounding things like balding and muscles. They see physically perfect super men in Marvel movies and feel inspired to get a super hero body but few ever get to that level, just like most women don’t look like Kim K.

But I think it is these media-driven kinds of dysphoria that are unhealthy and thus different from the healthiness of gender dysphoria, which is rooted in concept- gender – that is absolutely fundamental to our essence as people whereas the beauty ideals of society are not core essential features – we can do without them thank you very much.

Last, and this is important, I don’t want this post to indicate that I mean to judge any particular person for getting cosmetic surgery. I support the autonomy of rational people to make decisions about their bodies as they see fit. And who am I to judge. But surely there are some cosmetic surgeries that cannot be described as healthy. People get talked into more work being done by overly enthusiastic surgeons during consultation.


Filed under Beauty culture, feminism, Gender studies, Trans studies, Uncategorized

Estrogen and breakups = a lot of tears

Yeah, my engagement is over. She fell in love with another woman, a friend of mine actually – I even introduced them to each other. It wasn’t cheating. There was honesty and openness throughout the whole process. We briefly tried to do the poly thing but my now-ex partner and her new love just can’t do poly and want to be exclusive, so that leaves me out of the picture. Shucks. I just moved in a few months ago so I’m stuck wondering what’s gonna happen. I’m not getting kicked out right away but it’s gonna be weird living with my now-ex. It’s been hard. It is hard.

I’m still processing things – crying a good deal. Oscillating between feeling crushed inside and sad vs being icy and cold, closing myself off emotionally to what’s happening before my eyes, literally watching a relationship die. But now I’m calculating future possibilities. A whole new horizon has opened before me as the past 9 months melt away behind me. Old possibilities have died and new ones have opened up. In a weird way I’m excited for the future – the breathless anxiety of not knowing where I’ll be in a year.

Once again after the break-up of a serious relationship (I’m divorced) I am left with a dark cynical view of relationships. I will not jump into things so quickly again. Or I will try not to – the logical side of my mind does not always win against the almighty force of emotion.

On the bright side, during our little poly experiment I met a girl who is quite awesome – I really hope things work out – I really like her. She’s giving me hope that the future won’t be so bleak after all. She’s poly. And kinky. And smart. And successful. And beautiful. And she’s also a huge metal head (like me). So yeah – I hope it works out *crosses fingers*

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Infighting in the Trans Community

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Selfie culture: vanity or self-expression?


Anyone who knows me well knows I post a LOT of selfies. On the days where I do my makeup (which is almost everyday) I take at least one selfie and post it on either instagram, Facebook, or tumblr. I sometimes post more than one selfie a day.I love it. I’ve been doing this since I started transition back in May 2015. However, I am generally very self-conscious of the image this projects to people who follow my social media accounts. I think often of: what do they think of me for posting so many selfies? Do they think I’m vain? Narcissistic? Shallow? Full of myself? Prideful?

Perhaps I am all of those things. But perhaps I want to carve out space in which it’s ok to be a little vain. After all, it brings me pleasure to take and post all these selfies – and who am I harming? I increase my pleasure and no one is harmed – sounds like a win-win right? If a little bit of vanity causes one to engage in acts that make you happy without hurting others – why not? Vanity has been thrown at femmes as a derogatory label since forever and us femmes have had to fight to protect our self-expression.

And that’s how I see selfie-taking – as a form of self-expression. I see makeup as a form of self-expression. Combine the two together and you have the hashtag #fotd (face of the day), which is my favorite hashtag. It legitimizes and normalizes the practice of selfie-taking.

Some people might have noticed that trans people early in transition post a lot of selfies. I am a good example of this. Part of it is documentation so I can look back on this special time in my life where my facial features are literally changing before my eyes. And part of it is just allowing myself to express femininity in an unfettered way, something I wasn’t able to do prior to transition. It gives me an excuse to put on my face, something I take intrinsic joy in doing – I enjoy the artistry of it – the infinite ways to paint your face.

Some might say “Oh well Rachel just posts so many pictures because she is pretty and has passing privilege and thus she’s just being vain, shallow, and narcissistic in taking so many pictures”.

And to this I say: so what? Again: who are we harming by taking selfies? And this brings me to a larger social commentary: why aren’t women allowed to think they are pretty after being told they are pretty? Ever notice that? Pretty women are not supposed to acknowledge their own prettiness. But after awhile, after hearing the same compliments over and over, you tend to hone on such things. And why should we play the demure little girl who isn’t confident in herself? Is it because women are held to unrealistic beauty standards that the acknowledgement somehow hurts women who are not pretty? Is it because vanity is a multi-billion dollar industry of plastic surgery? Perhaps – but it irks me that women are expected to live up to these high standards but not acknowledge their own attractiveness when they do meet them. But I am pretty sure I am pretty. Unless hundreds of people have been lying to me this whole time. And not to mention that it does seem possible for humans to look in the mirror and determine fairly objectively their own level of attractiveness.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to claim that pretty women are some kind of super-oppressed class of people who need special protection. I raise this issue because I’ve noticed that women, especially trans women, who have less self-confidence tend to post a lot less selfies. But on the other hand, some of the most popular beauty bloggers on the internet are not attractive by the standards of Western society, specifically Hollywood. Beauty is not just about your raw physical features. It’s also about your personality, your grooming standards, the way you carry yourself, etc.

So this post has been about defending the existence and validity of selfie-culture for all those selfie-takers who get shit from others for “taking too many selfies”. Take as many selfies as you want. Post ten selfies a day on Facebook. Or more. Post 20 a day. You do you. Don’t let the threat of social judgment deter you from the practice if it makes you even the tiniest bit happy. And usually that’s why I love selfies: You get to see a picture that makes the selfie-taker happy in some small way. I love seeing selfies of my friends. I wish my friends would post more selfies. Maybe the world would be a better place if we spent more time posting selfies.


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My Many Privileges

First, I have the privilege of being white. I’m not going to elaborate on this privilege because if you don’t understand how being born white in America is a privilege then you’re probably just a racist bigot who won’t be persuaded by what I write anyway. But I recommend listening to the voices of #blacklivesmatter activists and listening to their stories of discrimination and violence at the hand of the police state as well as the systematic discrimination of white supremacy in the good ole US of A.

Second, I have class privilege insofar as I was born into the working middle class. My parents were never “rich” per se but they worked hard and could always provide food on the table and a roof over our heads as well as enough money for amazing Chistmas’s, birthdays, etc. I had a nintendo and LEGO and bikes and they bought me a car at age 16.I was fortunate to inherit money from my grandmother on my dad’s side. My middle class privilege has provided me numerous opportunities in life. Although I worked hard in school and was “smart”, my socio-economic status helped me get into a decent university while also having my family support me in countless financial ways through my young adulthood.

Part of my socio-economic privilege was that I was able to build up a good credit score which has allowed me to finance my transition, including paying for 8 sessions of laser (~$1,700) as well as buying a whole new wardrobe for all four seasons of St Louis weather (granted, I do shop at goodwill a LOT), buying a shit-ton of makeup, etc. I live a comfortable life for the most part. I have a lot of credit card debt but I managed to spend 11 years in higher-education without racking up any student loan debt.

I feel privilege that I was able to get so much university/graduate education before starting my transition. Some trans people feel like they would have been better off transitioning before puberty or during their teen years. But personally, I am glad I was not out-as-trans during highschool or college. For one, I would literally be a different person. And two, I probably would have faced outright bullying and intolerance. And I was able to use my “male privilege” in order to power my way through grad school without ever having my intelligence second-guessed just because of my sex.

But I can only feel that last one (late transitioning)  as a privilege because my genetics have made it such that when I did start transition, at age 29, after only like 5-6 months of HRT and a few laser sessions under my belt I started passing pretty well and now, 9.5 months on HRT and 8 sessions of laser, I pass probably like 80-90% of the time which is a HUGE privilege. It allows me to blend into society relatively well. My passing privilege allows me to be gendered correctly. To avoid harassment. To avoid danger, violence, insults. I don’t pass perfectly, and I am still clockable – but my genetic luck (and the laser) has made it such that I can go outside the house to run an errand without spending two hours putting on makeup to downplay my masculine features. I am lucky in that I don’t have to perform femininity to the extreme in order to be accepted for the person I am (although I do LOVE makeup and all things feminine and generally identify as a very femme person). But it’s not necessary to my survival. I also started transition with long hair and that helps a lot for avoiding misgendering.

Most trans women are not as privileged as I am. They struggle with suicidal thoughts. With homelessness. Rejection from family and friends. Depression. Anxiety. I don’t deal with any of that.  I haven’t been forced to turn to survival sex work just to pay for my hormones. I managed to get my legal name change ($175 court cost) without too much hassle. I have a good credit score.

I managed to find love and acceptance in my partner. I am happy and engaged. I found true love within the first year of my transition. You know how rare that is? I never take it for granted and count my lucky stars every day.

Sometimes I feel guilty – like survivor’s guilt. I want to make a difference – but who cares what a “stuck up white bitch” like myself has to say? I’ve been told I’m the “epitome of white passing privilege” and that I’m “just like Caitlyn Jenner”. But I still feel like I have important things to say. Important things to write. I want to help my fellow trans folks who are not as fortunate as I am. I want to be a voice for those who don’t have a voice. I never want to talk over people though I’m afraid I do that all the time as part of my privilege.  Please correct me when I’m wrong. I will listen. I’m all ears. I identify as an intersectional feminist. I want to listen to the diverse narratives of trans folks of all stripes so that I can boost their voices.

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