CONTENT WARNING: LABELS, SPEAKING TRUTH to POWER, Q-word
But it’s not enough to say a person is marginalized for, say, being
black. Black women encounter both racism and sexism. If those black
women are not straight, they encounter heterosexism. If they are gender
expansive, they encounter cissexism. If they aren’t able-bodied or
neurotypical, they encounter ableism. So, a disabled, queer, trans woman
of color could encounter five types of oppression.
By contrast, I am a queer, trans woman who is white. That’s two forms
of marginalization and one form of privilege. Yet, there are other
queer persons who marginalize me because I identify as panromantic and
pansexual. First, differentiating between romantic and sexual
orientations is one way be the target of the “slings and arrows” of
others. And also, multisexual persons like me are often the recipients
of verbal abuse from homosexual in addition to heterosexual persons.
This becomes an interesting double-dilemma. In my first marriage when I
appeared to be a man married to a woman, I was a queer who could pass
for straight. Now that I’m a woman married to a woman, I’m a multisexual
queer who passes for a monosexual queer, thus becoming “Queerer than
thou.” My orientations lead me to be both marginalized and privileged,
depending on one’s point of view.
As far as being trans, I don’t pass for cis. This leads to me being
marginalized by some trans persons who do pass for cis who tell me I’m
“not doing enough” to blend in and end up confusing the issues of what
it means to be trans. If I say I’m pre-op, I can find a certain amount
as it implies I am unfinished. If I say I’m non-op, I’d better be able
to give reasons why surgical transition would be medically
contraindicated otherwise I get told I’m not really trans. One
unfortunate advantage to being pre-op/non-op with a somewhat deep voice
and remnants of facial hair is that I can still pass for male, which can
afford me a certain level of safety when passing as my true trans self
could be risky if not downright dangerous.
Most people I know have multi-identities, especially considering how
this society seems to break the population down into “demographics” of
race, sex/gender, orientation, physical ability, and mental health just
to name a few. With this multiplicity in mind, it seems to me that even
privileged persons can find themselves in situation where they will be
marginalized and oppressed.