Parents are the adults that offer the largest impact on children, but sometimes kids do not feel as though the can confide in their parents, because they feel they may be rejected. Being rejected is hard enough, but being rejected by one’s own parents can have devastating results.
Parents have choices. They can choose to ignore the fact that their child is gay. They can choose to have their child pulled from a class that includes LGBT topics. They can even choose to keep their children home on days when schools participate in the Day of Silence or other events that focus on LGBT issues. Our job as educators is to educate those who walk in our doors, and sometimes that includes parents, as well.
“I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women, though, they’re all ‘crazy.’ I have a suspicion — and hear me out, because this is a rough one — that the definition of “crazy” in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.”—Tina Fey
It’s 1978, five years after Roe v. Wade. I’m 38, I have four sons — the oldest is 17, the youngest is turning 12. I’m at school, getting a B.A., and I’m loving it.
I’m about two and a half months pregnant.
I don’t want this child. […]
So I’m on my way to Planned Parenthood to have a legal abortion. My husband drives me there — this is a serious matter for both of us, but we absolutely agree it’s my decision to make. We have been conscientiously using contraception and it’s failed us this time.
I’m pregnant but I’m not trapped.
All I had to do was call the clinic and make an appointment. I don’t have to be ashamed or terrified, because brave women before me fought to make abortion legal, have gone public with their stories of shame and terror and made sure that no woman ever again has to die from a back-alley abortion or bear an unwanted child.
We park and walk up to the entrance. No running the gantlet between pickets shouting at me that I’m a murderer, no fear that someone will throw a bomb. The receptionist takes my name and says, “You just have to talk with a counselor first.” I don’t mind, I figure it’s part of the procedure. I tell the counselor I already have four children and I don’t want any more. I’m on a different track now. She nods understandingly and says they’ll be ready for me soon. No judgment, no showing me pictures of fetuses, no trying to make me feel guilty. She just wants to be sure I’m sure.
And of course, I am.
It’s really not so bad; in fact it’s not as invasive as going for monthly checkups when you’re pregnant. They’re kind, they tuck me up under a blanket and say my husband can pick me up soon and take me home. I’m fine.
Our insurance company reimbursed us for most of the costs of the abortion. Because I was lucky enough to be able to, I sent that check for several hundred dollars as a donation to Planned Parenthood. I was grateful to the organization. I wanted Planned Parenthood to be able to continue to offer access to a range of health care services to all women. Having the abortion released me from the burden of the added mothering I could no longer undertake and allowed me to do the best mothering I could.
“Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.”—Ashley Judd
“It’s bullshit to think of friendship and romance as being different. They’re not. They’re just variations of the same love. Variations of the same desire to be close.”—Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (via asexyquotes)
“Actually, [polyamory] really does the opposite of make me insecure. It’s an ego boost, really. What it says to me is that even though you’re dating him, it hasn’t changed your desire to be with me. The fact that you want to be with me despite seeing other people says that there are things about our relationship you can’t get anywhere else. It means you find things about me irreplaceable, things that you don’t have in another relationship, and that preserves the value of our relationship. If your interest in Person A doesn’t diminish once you start dating Person B, it means that Person A is special enough and irreplaceable enough to keep around, no matter who else is a part of your life”—polycule
Kudos to Peggy McIntosh for her White Privilege Checklist, inspirer of this list and all-around rad resource worth reading more than once. An older version of the cis privilege checklist is available at T-Vox.
Very frequently people like to direct other people to privilege checklists in order to “prove” to them the reality of that privilege. If that’s why someone sent you here, you have my sympathy–it’s obnoxious, isn’t it? So, before you read this list, check out some caveats, explanations, and definitions I’ve set up; they might make it a bit easier for you to read from the right headspace, and easier to understand.
So, for everyone: Don’t quibble with privilege lists. If you read them from a standpoint of wanting to deny your privilege, you’ll come out having successfully denied it but learning nothing. Read sympathetically and think about it. If there’s something that seems like a privilege not all cis people have, try to consider about why someone would put it on the list, what larger scale patterns I might be to pointing to, rather than just rejecting it whole cloth. If there’s something you want to refine, or make better, add, or something you want clarified, let me know. This list is subject to continual revision without notice.
I expect non-discrimination acts that apply to me to cover the most prevalent vectors of discrimination against me. I expect laws banning the creation of a hostile work environment will ban the use of offensive language about me.
I expect my government-issued identification to accurately represent who I am.
If my identification does not, I expect to be able to remedy this quickly and easily, without added expense, undue delay, arbitrary criteria, or a necessity to present evidence or medical documents. I expect change procedures/criteria to be clearly outlined in readily-available documentation, and for those procedures/criteria to be followed consistently, independent of the political beliefs and gender, racial, etc prejudices of individuals serving me.
I expect all my forms of identification to “match”—to display the same value in any fields held in common. If they do not I expect to be just fine, anyway.
My identification does not reveal private information that I may not want others to know.
I expect my private medical information to remain private if I am attempting to non-healthcare-related government services, or if I am involved in a lawsuit/criminal investigation that does not involve healthcare. If the government is making decisions based on my medical history, I expect the persons making the decisions to be medical professionals grounded in the relevant medical literature.
I expect access to healthcare.
I cannot be denied health insurance on the basis of my gender.
I expect that I will not be denied medical treatment by a doctor on the basis of my gender.
I expect that if I am treated inappropriately by a doctor, my concerns will be taken seriously, and I will be able to find another doctor who will treat me appropriately.
Treatments which are medically necessary for me are generally covered by insurance.
Treatments which permanently or semi-permanently change my body are available to me immediately, based on my informed consent, ability to pay, and, if applicable, medical need.
If I am accessing medical treatment, my informed consent is verified in, at most, a one-hour consult made before the beginning of treatment.
I expect that medical professionals competent to treat my conditions exist outside of major cities, and in proportion to the demand for them. I expect no undue delay in access to routine medical services, and for such services to be available (at least) five days a week.
I expect that the specialists in medical conditions affecting me have received formal training about them, and are abreast of current medical developments in the subject.
I expect that there exists formal training about medical conditions affecting me.
I expect that medical therapies offered to me have been the subject of rigorous medical studies & approval processes.
I expect that medical studies are being done to improve & approve treatments available for people with my conditions.
I expect that my access to medical treatment that I need and can afford will not be affected by:
My sex life
How much, how often, and with how many people I enjoy sex
Whether or not I am sexually stimulated by a mode of dress
What sex acts I enjoy
The gender(s) I am sexually attracted to
The story I tell about my condition
My adherence to gender roles
The length of time I have wanted treatment
My desire for a different, but related, medical treatment
My definition of my gender
The gender in which I live
My age, independent of parental consent
Subconscious racial prejudice
The opinion of a therapist (other than the medical provider)
My willingness to accept side effects which could be avoided by lower dosages
My willingness to reveal my private medical information to the government, family members, employers, and friends
I expect that medical care will be crafted to suit my own particular needs. I expect to be able to access treatment A without accessing treatment B, if treatment B will do nothing to advance my particular needs.
I expect that I will be able to access medical care without lying.
Accessing respectful STD testing and reproductive care is (relatively) emotionally and logistically easy for me.
There is information about the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other diseases in my community.
Clothing works for me, more or less.
I am a size and shape for which clothes I feel comfortable wearing are commonly made
There are clothes designed with bodies like mine in mind.
If I am unable to find clothing that fits me well, I will still feel safe, and recognizable as my gender
If I have a restriction on what clothing I will buy (e.g. vegan, allergy, non sweatshop), I can expect that specialty stores will have them in my size/shape.
I expect my gender to not unduly affect my ability to travel internationally.
My gender presentation is legal in all countries.
I expect that information on a country relevant to travelers of my gender will be readily available, and supplied to me by travel guides, travel agents, and study abroad officials.
I expect that a visa and passport will be sufficient documentation for me to enter any country, however difficult these may be to obtain.
I expect that my documentation will decrease suspicion about me.
Information important for me to keep private will not be revealed by:
Pictures from my childhood
My diploma, transcript, or other educational document
The language used to refer to me
Gendered relationship words (e.g. daughter, boyfriend*, father)
My legal name or previous name
Having a cold
Coughing, sneezing, yelling
Seeing me naked
Menstrual blood stains
Pregnancy (except re: how I/my partner got sperm in hir body)
My face and neck
Greetings, missives from people/organizations I have not contacted recently
Perception/acceptance of my gender is generally independent of:
Anything mentioned in 8.*
My clothing choices, how my clothing fits
My adherence to traditional roles of my gender (both “too much” and “too little”)
Holding sexist, sex-negative, or rape-culture beliefs
Holding feminist or sex-positive beliefs
My sexual choices/desires
With whom? (gender, number)
Circumstance (marriage, love, one-night-stand)
What (e.g. penetrating/enveloping, fetishes, dominance)
Being assertive, aggressive, or passive
Being in a position of power
Being intellectual or not
My dietary habits
My musical taste
Wanting gendered things/actions labeled “immature” or “childish”
Whether or not I have had a specific medical procedure
My willingness to risk loss of sensation in my genitals/chest
My financial resources
My willingness to accept an unknown amount of health risks
My ability to access treatment that is deliberately made hard to access (see 4.*)
Bodies like mine are represented in the media and the arts. It is easily possible for representations of my naked body to pass obscenity restrictions.
I expect the privacy of my body to be respected. I am not asked about what my genitals look like, or whether or not my breasts are real, what medical procedures I have had, etc.
Wronging me is taken seriously*
Those who wrong me are expected to know that it is hurtful, and are considered blameworthy whether or not they intended to wrong me.
I have easy access to people who understand that this wrong is not acceptable, and who will support me.
I have easy access to resources and people to educate someone who wronged me, if I am not feeling up to it.
If I am being wronged, I can expect that others who are around will notice.
I expect that a short term arrest (e.g. for protesting) will not have serious consequences.
I expect access to, and fair treatment within, sex segregated facilities
Domestic Violence shelters
Juvenile justice systems
Institutions and authority figures do not force me to adopt a different gender presentation, or deny me medical treatment.
Parents, foster care
Juvenile justice systems
Schools (all K-12 schools, some religious universities)
Close relative/spouse unless otherwise specified, in the event of a medical emergency
Commonly used terminology that differentiates my gender from other genders/sexes implies that I am normal, and that I have unquestionable right to the gender/sex I identify with. The implications these terms make about my gender, my body, my sex, my biology, and my past are all acceptable to me.
The sex/gender dichotomy does not have consequences in my life.
Insistence on strict adherence to one interpretation of difference between “sex” and “gender” (if the dichotomy is used “accurately”) does not mean that different words should be used to describe me than adherence to another interpretation does (if ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are “conflated”).
“Accurate” use of these terms, when heard by people who subconsciously “conflate” them (i.e., all people), does not imply false or offensive things about me.
“Conflated” use of these terms does not imply false or offensive things about me.
I am not categorized differently if someone categorizes by “sex” when “gender” is more relevant. (e.g. my ID will read the same thing whether it says “sex” or “gender,” no matter how the authority interprets the dichotomy; I will have the same access to “sex” segregated facilities, etc.)
I expect no medical evidence to be necessary when changing my name.
For me, there is little-to-no conflict between being recognized as a member of my gender, and resisting sexism. (see #9)
My control of my body is independent of the good will of oppressive institutions.
Recognition of my gender is independent of the good will of oppressive institutions.
My gender is acknowledged universally, immediately, and without hesitation
My birth certificate, drivers’ license, social security card, etc are correct from the moment I get them.
I have no need to establish that I am a different gender than someone already thinks I am.
I lived my childhood in a gender that felt appropriate for me at the time, and still does. I lived my childhood in the gender that I want to have lived it in.
I was trained into whatever gender was appropriate for me, and so I am prepared to live in my current gender, without having to go back and learn vital skills I was not taught when I was young.
I experienced puberty, and being an immature girl/boy, at a time in my life when there were allowances for puberty and immaturity.
My preferences for my gender have been honored my whole life, by my doctor, my parents, my teachers, my professors, my relatives, my classmates, my bosses, etc., except before I was able to state preferences, when I was forced to adopt the gender which I now inhabit.
If someone is uncertain about how I am gendered, they are likely to use criteria that will influence them to choose the gender I identify with.
I expect be referred to respectfully without stating my preferences, or even being asked, no matter where I go, how I dress, or whom I’m talking to. If this does not happen, whatever level of anger I express will be acceptable, and I will expect the offense to be immediately corrected.
Regardless of my gendered behavior as a child, or how I felt about being forced into the gender I inhabited then, if I require medical treatment to keep up an appearance that matches my gender, it will be granted immediately and without question.
I have unquestioned access to all appropriate sex-segregated facilities.
My potential lovers expect my genitals to look roughly similar to the way they do, and have accepted that before coming to bed with me.
I expect the privacy of my body to be respected.
I expect to be able to shower at public facilities such as gyms and pools.
Others accept my control over when, whether, and how I talk about any given event/period in my life, according to what meets my needs and desires best. Others accept my determination of what events and periods in my life I wish to talk about or deem significant.
My gender, and my access to gender-specific services and medical care, are upheld no matter how important or unimportant I consider that to be. Even if I consider medical treatment to maintain an appearance matching my gender to be inconsequential, it will still be available to me, covered by health insurance. Likewise, even if I find the use of the appropriately gendered language about me inconsequential, it will still be taken as a serious, unproblematic need by others.
My right to inhabit my currently chosen gender is universally considered valid, regardless of my gendered behavior as a child, or how I felt about being forced into the gender I inhabited then. If I require medical treatment to keep up an appearance that matches my gender, it will be granted immediately and without question.
If someone else thinks I’m in the wrong bathroom, I am in no danger. When (or if) people mistake my gender, there are unlikely to be serious consequences.
1. It is unlikely that I will be ostracized by my family and friends, fired from my job, evicted from my home, given substandard medical care, suffer violent or sexual abuse, ridiculed by the media, or preached against by religious organizations simply because of my professed identity or perceived incongruent gendered behaviors or characteristics. 2. I can be confident that people will not call me by a different name or use improper pronouns. 3. I never suffered the indignation of “holding it”, when both functional and unoccupied public restrooms are available. In fact, I don’t need to be concerned about public facilities segregated by sex. 4. If I am institutionalized, I don’t have to worry about being housed in the wrong section of a facility segregated by sex. 5. I am not denied entrance to appropriate services or events that are segregated by sex. 6. My childhood innocence was not interrupted with desperate prayers to a divinity begging to wake up the opposite sex. 7. I never grieve about my lost childhood and adolescence because I was born the opposite sex. 8. I will only experience puberty once. 9. I never worry about potential lovers shifting instantly from amorous to disdain and even violence because of my genitals. 10. I am unlikely to be questioned about my genitals, even less likely to be touched inappropriately or asked to see them. 11. It is unlikely that I would risk my health by avoiding the medical profession for fear of discovery. 12. I never considered hiding my body parts by binding or tucking. 13. It is unlikely that I would consider changing my voice. 14. If I have a professionally recognized and diagnosed condition, I am unlikely to be excluded from medical insurance coverage. 15. As a man, I am more likely to look my age, and have a body similar in size and shape to other men. 16. As a man, I am more likely to be satisfied with the functionality of my genitals. 17. As a man, I am more likely able to father children . 18. As a woman, I am more likely to have a body similar in size and shape to other women. 19. As a woman, I am unlikely to lose my hair before middle age. 20. As a woman, I am more likely able to conceive and bear children. 21. As a woman, I don’t have to dilate the rest of my life. 22. I am more likely able to achieving orgasm. 23. I will likely have $50,000 or more to spend or save for retirement. 24. I can’t imagine spending months and $1000s of dollars on a therapist so they can tell me something I already knew. 25. If I am physically healthy, I don’t think about having a hysterectomy, a mastectomy, massive hair removal, contra hormone therapy, vocal surgery, facial reassignment surgery, or genital reassignment surgery. 26. I have a better chance of reaching old age without taking my own life. 27. At my funeral, it is unlikely that my family would present me crossdressed against my living wishes. 28. I never worry about passing gender wise. I am oblivious to the consequences of someone failing to do so, and consequently loosing my cisgender (non transgender) privilege. In fact, I have the privilege of being completely unaware of my own cisgender privilege
There appears to be little in the way of a comprehensive cisgender (non transgender) privilege list. These lists are generally written in the first person relative to having the privilege. Number #1 speaks to both heterosexual and cisgender privilege. The remainder of the list focuses on cisgender privilege
This is an excerpt from ‘White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ by Peggy McIntosh
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.
17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.
25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.
26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.
47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
50. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.
1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.
2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true. (More).
3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.
4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.
5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are. (More).
6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.
7. If I’m a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are relatively low. (More).
8. On average, I am taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces much less than my female counterparts are.
9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I’ll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I’m even marginally competent. (More).
12. If I have children and a career, no one will think I’m selfish for not staying at home.
13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.
14. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
15. When I ask to see “the person in charge,” odds are I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters. (More).
17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children’s media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male protagonists were (and are) the default.
18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often. (More).
19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.
20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented.
21. If I’m careless with my financial affairs it won’t be attributed to my sex.
22. If I’m careless with my driving it won’t be attributed to my sex.
23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.
24. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously labeled a “slut,” nor is there any male counterpart to “slut-bashing.” (More).
25. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my sexual availability. (More).
26. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women’s clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will probably fit better than a woman’s without tailoring. (More).
27. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little time. (More).
28. If I buy a new car, chances are I’ll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car. (More).
29. If I’m not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.
30. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.
31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)
32. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. “All men are created equal,” mailman, chairman, freshman, he.
33. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
34. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I don’t change my name.
35. The decision to hire me will not be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
36. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is pictured as male.
37. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.
38. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we’ll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks. (More).
39. If I have children with my girlfriend or wife, I can expect her to do most of the basic childcare such as changing diapers and feeding.
40. If I have children with my wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we’ll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.
41. Assuming I am heterosexual, magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.
42. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female counterparts are. (More). If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic consequences for being fat than fat women do. (More).
43. If I am heterosexual, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover. (More).
44. Complete strangers generally do not walk up to me on the street and tell me to “smile.” (More: 12).
45. Sexual harassment on the street virtually never happens to me. I do not need to plot my movements through public space in order to avoid being sexually harassed, or to mitigate sexual harassment. (More.)
45. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are interrupted by men.
46. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.
Sometimes one of the hardest things to deal with can be sweet people who are, completely unintentionally, really insulting. With outright queerphobia it’s easy to point out. With things like this, not so much. But let me make one thing clear: people don’t deserve to be put on a pedestal because they are an LGBTQ ally. Everyone should be an ally. So if someone is calling themselves an ally, but is really being ignorant or bigoted in some ways, it is totally okay and appropriate to call them out on it, and teach them otherwise.
Oh, so it’s like you’re genderblind! Nope, not really. We just have a wider range of preferences than monosexuals do when it comes to body types. Genderblind is a term more often associated with pansexuality- but even so, don’t assume this; it’s always better to ask.
You love everyone equally! That’s great! First, we don’t like everyone. Second, only some of us like various genders equally. We have preferences and standards just like everyone else. See the Kinsey Scale for a good visual on the spectrum of attraction.
So you can tell me what [opposite gender] really thinks! We can tell you what we think. We’re not here to be the undercover gender-stereotyping police.
I love bisexuals- one of my best friends is bi! You can be biphobic even if all of your friends are bi. Furthermore, everybody is different. Yep, even bisexuals are different from each other. It’s demeaning to say you love somebody purely because of their sexual orientation and disregard all the other aspects of their personality. It’s also insulting to assume that things one bisexual is okay with all bisexuals will therefore be okay with.
It’s so great that you can date everyone! We can’t date everyone. We can date those genders we are attracted to provided their orientation is such that they have the potential to be attracted to us as well. We can’t date people who are biphobic, which is a significant amount of people, especially when it comes to relationships with bisexuals. We also don’t know everyone. We also have other things besides gender which play into who we like, such as personality, age, looks, chemistry, location, and more. How do you think it makes someone who hasn’t met “the one” yet feel when they’re told that they can date everyone, as though being bisexual is this great advantage over others which they just haven’t utilized properly? Probably not too great.
If person is same gender: So, be honest: do you think I’m hot? How hot am I? Our potential to be attracted to multiple genders is not related to our ability to recognize societal expectations of beauty in someone. If you didn’t ask us this question before we came out to you, don’t ask us after. Also, it puts us in an awkward place in which it becomes clear that us being bi has changed the dynamics of this relationship where it shouldn’t have.
Do you have a crush on me? If we do, we’ll tell you. If we do and we’re too shy to tell you, respect it. Again, because bi people have types and standards as well, there is a high chance that we don’t. You don’t ask every person of the opposite gender who you hang out with if they have a crush on you; don’t make us into a special case.
If person is opposite gender: So, can I, like, watch you make out with [same gender]? Our orientation is not your plaything. We are not your plaything. If you wouldn’t ask this to a straight couple, don’t ask us.
I don’t get why people make such a big deal out of it, everyone is a little bit bisexual after all. This completely diminishes the bisexual experience. If everyone is bi, why should those who identify as bisexual go through any individual hardships? Why are they complaining about it? Why are they making such a big deal about it? If someone identifies as bisexual, chances are they have a significant potential to like multiple genders, enough so that it is highly relevant in their life and lifestyle. By saying everyone is bi, you are twisting the meaning into something much more general than it actually is, which creates a lot of misconceptions and problems for actual bisexuals. Bisexuality is not “everyone liking everything”.
So, how many people have you done it with? How many girls? How many boys? Again, if you didn’t ask us before we came out to you, don’t ask us after. You don’t get special access to our private lives simply because our orientation isn’t heteronormative. Also, being bisexual doesn’t automatically mean we have sex with more people than straight people do, and this is a leading question implying just that.
How many threesomes have you had? To quote 13 from House, “Do you know what bisexual is? It doesn’t mean you have sex with two people at once.”
Can you be my gay best friend? First of all, we’re not gay. Second of all, even if we were, we’re not reducible to an offensive and reductive social stereotype, so don’t act like we are.
This is so exciting, you’re the first bisexual I’ve ever met! I don’t know any bisexuals besides you! Statistically, unless you are an individual isolationist, we are not the first bisexual you’ve met. We’re just the first one to share it with you. Also, this just serves to make us feel really alone and as though it is our entire responsibility to educate you on bisexuality, since you have no other outlets, when, in reality, it is never the responsibility of the oppressed to educate the privileged.
If you want to avoid being one of these people (note: this applies to LGBTQ people as well; know ALL the identities, not just yours!), then check with every person you meet about what is okay and what isn’t. Take the time to research issues and terminology even if it may not seem directly related to you, because it may be relevant to those you interact with. And overall, don’t treat anybody differently based on their orientation or gender identity. If you need to treat a specific person differently than others, they can tell you. Otherwise it is demeaning, hierarchical, and embarrassing to everyone involved.
Note: this is from the perspective of a female-bodied individual. Societal expectations of male-bodied bisexuals has its own set of inappropriate questions as well.
Some people get hung up on the ‘bi’ and protest that gender isn’t binary. In traditional dictionaries:
Homosexual is defined as “attracted to the same sex”
Heterosexual is defined as “attracted to the opposite sex”
So why then dismiss bisexuality as being about “men and women” when the definitions of hetero- and homo- don’t mention those? In this modern age with a wider understanding of gender some would re-state those as:
Homosexual means “attracted to people of broadly the same gender”
Heterosexual means “attracted to people of broadly a different gender”
In fact many people say there’s more than two genders, but if two options are either “the same as me” or “different to me” then we think it’s clear that “both” can refer to those two options rather than two perceived sexes.
So I guess this is a call to action: The LG and T community need to make more of an effort to support the B’s among us. Being bisexual doesn’t mean being selfish or sitting on the fence, it means being brave enough to live in the gray space.
And though I could write a whole other piece just about the stereotypes associated with bisexuality — like that bisexual people can’t be monogamous, or that they are just “confused” — coming out as bisexual means saying, “I don’t care if you think I’m just a promiscuous perv and I don’t care if you think it’s a phase and I don’t care if you don’t accept me as part of the gay community, this is who I am.” We need to provide a loving environment for our bisexual brothers and sisters and make them welcome among us. And maybe we need to learn to look at ourselves and accept some gray in our lives, too.
I really need to update my dictionary. I’m going to add every variation of cis since I get asked about that often. Does anyone have any suggestion on words I use a lot or concepts we talk about that some people might not understand or know about?
Bisexuals = people who ♥ People of Same Gender as themselves + ♥ People of Different Genders/Gender Presentations from themselves
the longer more formal definition of bisexual:
Bisexuals are people with the inborn capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, (some include spiritual) and/or emotional attractions to:
(1) those of the same gender as themselves (2) those of different genders/gender presentations from themselves
There may be an individual attraction for one gender or gender presentation which can also be fluid and changeable over time.
Bisexuality is not synonymous with being polyamorous, (some include “or promiscuous”). Individual bisexual people may be celibate, asexual, monogamous or non-monogamous just as individual straight, lesbian or gay people can be.
No matter what the gender/gender presentation of the person they are partnered with, bisexual people remain bisexual. They do not suddenly switch orientation as if by magic when they enter into a relationship.
And just (re)posted, here is the Actual Etymology of the word. All that must be“cishomonormative 50%/50% only!” stuff is a very recent (almost a backronym) invented by those who did not actually know and probably didn’t really like bisexual people.
DEAR LADY A: The people I know who claim they’re bi are attention-seeking and creepy. I honestly think, of the “bisexuals” I know, the guys are just gays who can’t emotionally handle being gay, and the women are trying to keep potential boyfriends interested with the promise of threesomes….
Something that occurred to me recently: I am never in a straight relationship, and I am never in a gay relationship, although my partners may be. I am always in a bisexual relationship, regardless of the gender of the person I’m dating.
Yes! Yes! Yes! One of the many reasons that the accusations sometimes leveled at bisexual people in different gender relationships of deliberately accessing some sort of ‘heterosexual privilege’ is such a fallacy. Bisexual people, by definition, can never be in a ‘Straight Relationship’ becasue We Are Not Straight!
Privilege comes from the closet (or perhaps from some sort of mistake on the part of the viewer) not from self-identification.