Privilege vs. judgement
Let’s make something clear, I’m a tiny little blonde hair, blue eyed white girl. I grew up in upper middle suburbia, I now live in upper middle class suburbia. I didn’t grow up in a religious home, but we celebrated Christian holidays so even if it was very commercial it was enough to be in the religious majority. My parents have been married for a hundred or so years, I’m straight, I went to your run of the mill local public schools and other than a learning disability that did make learning to read very challenging my life is basically as “normal” as it gets or it was until my husband became my wife.
I didn’t think about privilege and I certainly wouldn’t have understood it had I been asked about it, but oh it was there and I know it was there because it’s not there anymore. I guess it’s one of those things you don’t miss until it’s gone.
The type of privilege I lost is heteronormative privilege. Heteronormative refers to anyone who identified with their birth gender and is exclusively attracted to members of the opposite sex. Heteronormative is not very inclusive and while I consider myself straight I’m not heteronormative since I’m married to a trans woman, I’m also not homosexual or heterosexual, so the umbrella term for my family becomes non-heteronormative, we are outside of any box, there is not a perfect label that fits us.
So here is a list of heteronormative privileges that my family and I lost just to give you a taste of my life, this is in no way am exhausted list just a brief glimps into my world…
- We get asked if we are together or separate when paying at a restaurant.
- I can’t find cards that match the holidays we celebrate the third Sunday in June (Target doesn’t have mommily’s day cards).
- I can’t buy my kids clothes that say “mommily’s sweetheart” or “mommily’s big boy” at the local retail stores, but I do have to sell or give away one out of five shirts in multi onesie packs because one always says “daddy’s vip” or ape thin similar.
- When meeting new people they automatically ask about my husband.
- My daughter’s birth certificate will have Emily Nicole listed as her father.
- My kids can’t read books, watch cartoons, or see movies that depict my family unless they are specifically about being LGBT.
- People think it’s ok to ask about my sex life, and my spouses genitals.
- My families safety and ability to do normal things such as use the bathroom are now a legal issue.
Some people mix up privilege with judgement and they are VERY different. I have been judged the same as everyone else. Whether it be for the color of your hair, your height, or the brand of clothes you wear, people are judges regularly, but the big difference in privilege and judgement is the underlying assumption. If you experience privilege of any type you can assume what you need (a card, a shirt, a birth certificate that matches the name and gender of the parent), who you are (a married couple) will be available, assumed, accepted. A judgement simply means that someone disagrees with what you are doing, look like, stand for ect. Being judged stinks no one likes it, but the loss of privilege is like taking a bullet. You’re basic rights are taken from you and you have to seek special provisions, get permission or approval, and spend more money than others just to get the same things they are getting. We in the trans community have been accused of seeking special treatment, we don’t want special treatment, we want equal treatment, we want acceptance, we just want to live life the same way as everyone else.