8. I may have enjoyed male privilege, but I also suffered at the hands of it
I lived as a man for sixteen years and a boy for eighteen before that. I have certainly benefitted from my socialization. I knew how to operate within a male dominated environment; I was a dominant male. Trans skeptical feminists often cite this as a reason that I am disqualified from being a woman: “How can ‘he’ claim to be a woman because he benefitted from the system for so long?”
The reality is that living as a closeted transgender person is not much fun. I may have appeared to be a strong, successful man, but inside I was unhappy. I was too afraid of how the society I lived in would react to what I felt inside. I had heard people in my industry openly making transphobic and homophobic jokes and slurs not understanding that they were hurting me. I was terrified to even think about living authentically. I was oppressed by the patriarchy before I transitioned. Now I am living as a woman I experience the more classic oppression of sexism and misogyny that almost every woman faces.
I am very fortunate in that I have a solid career that pays me well. Have I benefitted from sexism? Would I have had the same career trajectory as a natal born woman? I don’t know. I chose to believe I am successful because I’m intelligent and talented not because I was born with a willy. In fact, if trans women benefit so greatly from their socialization as men, then why is unemployment and poverty so rampant amongst trans women?