November 19, 2014
Quick Guide to Cis-Privilege and Trans* Allyship
As someone who does not identify as transgender, I benefit from cis-gendered privilege. I will never know what it feels like to walk a day in the life of a trans* person, and will never be faced with perpetual trans* phobia and prejudice.
10 examples of everyday cis-privilege:
1) I can be sure that when I am in a public space, there will be a washroom that accommodates my gender identity
2) When filling out a form from pretty much any institution, business or service, I will have my gender identity represented
3) Strangers don’t feel that they can ask about my genitals and/or how I have sex
4) My gender identity is not medicalized and considered a disorder
5) I can be sure that people of my gender identity are widely represented in the media and popular culture
6) I don’t have to remind people to use gender pronouns that I identify with
7) If am incarcerated, I can be sure that I will be sent to a jail or prison with other people that are congruent with my identity
8) I can usually assume that I will be able to find a job, take out a loan and rent an apartment without having my gender called into question
9) I can be sure that there are homeless shelters, transition houses and sexual assault support services that accommodate my gender
10) I don’t have to worry about being denied access on a plane, services at a bank, hospital
or other institution because my gender expression does not match my gender on my identification card
*This list is far from being exhaustive –cis-privilege is endless!
What does it mean to be an ally to the trans* community?
First of all, what is allyship? In this context, an ally is someone who supports the rights of trans* people. An ally would work to acknowledge their own privilege and how it contributes to the marginalization of trans* folk. An ally would be an active bystander, striving to eliminate transphobia and discrimination.