I Didn’t Know I Was Privileged until I Gave It up.

Gaining firsthand experience with the gender divide

Addison Smith
7 min readMay 29, 2018


For most of my life, I presented, even identified, as a heterosexual, cisgender man. I always knew something wasn’t quite right with that but it took me quite a while (read “decades”) to realize that gender was my issue. I suppose I should actually say that I finally accepted that I am a trans woman. Well, a trans femme non-binary . . . look, gender is complicated. My likes, interests, attitudes and even the way I dressed were always on the feminine or androgynous side but I convinced myself that I was just an effeminate man until the time came when I could no longer live in that denial.

Public Photo by Rutger van Waveren

Looking back, it was pretty obvious. My love of going shopping with my exes to help pick out new outfits, the discomfort I felt around men when they were talking about women, the fact that most of the women I found attractive were gay or bi and my emotionality that often had me joking “I’m the girl in this relationship” where all giant red semaphore flags being waved by my inner gay woman spelling out:


Once I confronted my gender issues (you probably noticed I still deflect some of them) and decided to live openly as a transgender person, I felt the need to figure out what had kept me in that denial for so long. After reading Dr. Jeana Jorgensen’s discussion of a feminist take on privilege, I must wonder if part of the reason was a fear of abandoning my privilege as a straight white guy.

When we talk about privilege, we’re not talking about a higher socioeconomic status. Basically, what this type of privilege means is not having to put up with the crap others do because you are of the privileged class. Men never have to deal with the crap women have to deal with. They’ll never have to fend off some schmuck who thinks that he deserves sex because he paid for dinner or find out that the woman who has the same job but isn’t as good at it is paid 20% more. White people will never have to put up with crap like getting pulled over by a cop who approaches their window with his gun drawn at the same rate black people do. Cisgender people will never put up with crap like being attacked for going to the bathroom like a transgender person can be, and it…



Addison Smith

I’m an LGBTQ+ DEI educator, activist, and writer living in the Midwest with my cat. Call me Addi. They/She. Booking and more info at https://addisonsagenda.com


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