I recently saw an anti-transgender feminist rant that male-to-female transgender persons do not “lose” male privilege because it is inherent. Yet the feminist movement provides examples counter to this as does history itself. Let’s look at just a few.
In the 19th century, Irish began arriving in the United States. They were very strongly “othered” by the existing white establishment, who treated them badly (but not nearly as badly as people of color). Irish did not have “white privilege” simply by being white. In fact, white privilege was something that whites grant to each other, and if they do not grant it to someone else, it’s not there.
Another example is light skinned persons of color have frequently written about how they obtain and can exploit white privilege unless they reveal their racial heritage. And then it’s gone. They get othered from that moment forward by people who know.
A third example comes from the feminist community itself. Feminists have long argued about how strongly “butch” lesbians can and do gain male privilege in certain situations. They have also documented how that privilege vanishes when someone discovers they are dealing with a lesbian rather than another male. Again, privilege was not inherent. It was granted.
The reason I bring this up, and I refuse to link to the offending anti-transgender rant that spawned this blog post, is that the entire rant rested on the assumption that MtF transgender people “possess” male privilege and therefore every single conclusion in that rant is suspect. Logical conclusions that rest upon faulty assumptions are, themselves faulty. Therefore every conclusion in that rant is useless, suspect, and faulty.