Using the power of our privileges
Over the past few years, I have begun to fully appreciate the privileges I have in comparison to many marginalized individuals in our society.
In short, I have hit the jackpot.
Simply by being born, I have acquired privileges of which many can only dream: white, Canadian, straight, non-trans, no visible or invisible disabilities to speak of, supportive parents. These privileges have led to opportunities often denied to others: access to informed and appropriate health care, stable employment, proper housing and a good education.
No one questions me or harasses me when I walk into a gender-specific washroom or gym, no one tries to evict me from my home because of the way I identify. No one accuses me of being an inappropriate children’s caregiver or teacher, or hassles me at work simply for being who I am. When I walk into my doctor’s office complaining of the flu, invasive questions relating to my gender and which have noting to do with my illness, are not asked. I am not condemned from the pulpit as an abomination, and my identity is not pathologized or criminalized.
I’ve decided that it is counterproductive to feel guilty about these privileges — I didn’t have a choice about the circumstances surrounding my birth.
What I have recognized, though, is that these privileges give me power, and this power can be used to effect social change through education and advocacy.
We parents have privileges, and we have power. We can use our voices to help to bring the concerns of our trans children to the people, agencies and organizations that can best serve them. Anthropologist Margaret Mead said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”