Reflections of a fourteen year post-op

s_davebath.jpg (1643 bytes)
(Taken 1988
about one year
before starting
transition)

Hi.  I'm Melanie Anne.

I'm 53 years old, a professional teacher of fiction writing, parent of two, still married to my spouse of thirty years but living with another woman, my soul mate, for the last eight years.

I'm also a fourteen year post-op from sex reassignment surgery.

Welcome to my life....

Male Privilege

I'm not going to belabor the same old points.  What's the point.

But after fourteen years, I do have a few observations from a personal perspective.

When you are born into a male body (or at least an intersexed but apparently male body), you are granted by society the rights and privileges of the role that will be assigned to you as a man.

To those of us who are of a different frame of mind, these seem like constraints and limitations, though I suspect to those whose minds match their bodies, they seem like pleasures and opportunities.

In any event, once you are graced with the mantle of the male of the species it becomes your birthright.  And even through transition and all the years that follow, you never really give it up.  Oh, sure, you renounce it, and you consider all the implications of "second class status."  You willingly abdicate your position in society and even secretly get off on the notice of being made subordinate, supplicant, perhaps even submissive.

But the funny thing is, you never really let it go.  You know how you were born, and you realize that if push comes to shove you can always pull that fact of your hat and reassume the trappings and ranks of the office, much like a retired veteran called back into service.

That simple knowledge keeps a sense of male privilege alive in the back of your mind, as part of the foundation of your sense of self, and prevents you from ever really knowing what life is like for women who were never born to that, and really only have an outside view of what it means.

Nonetheless, if you are lucky, after great number of years you go through something of a second transformation.  For me, it was when my soul-mate and life partner when through facial feminization surgery.  Her pending future beauty struck at the core of my self-confidence, coupled with the toll of advancing age, and I went in a depression even more profound than the one I suffered prior to SRS.

Yet, in the midst of this emotional pit, my mate reached down while still in the recovery house just four days after surgery - face still bandaged like an accident victim and in terrible pain, and took my hand to keep me from falling behind.

She had every reason to have focused on herself, and if she had, I might never have experienced that miraculous moment when all my protections dropped, and for the first time since I was a very small child, I saw into my own heart.

I've covered the details in full in my diary entries regarding that period of time (starting with chapter 67) and will not describe it again here.  Suffice it to say that from that day forward, once I could see the truth of my inner nature so clearly, the rest of my facades, habits, and self-deceptions began to dissolve in a process that spanned many months filled with scores of epiphanies and which concluded only recently.

And among these no-longer needed obfuscations, a sense of male privilege noiselessly faded away in the background.  I had never known that I had perpetuated it.  I had never really understood what it was until it was gone.  But once it had left me, I felt quite different.  I fully realized that though one could always admit to the circumstances of one's birth, and that one might be able to garner again the outward recognition of some of the elements of that status, due to my new internal make-up, I would never again experience that sense of entitlement within myself.

More than that, I came to see that I had never really grasped it as a man would; I had simply done the best my female mind could do to approximate the way I thought a man would feel about it.  Perhaps that, more than anything, helped me separate the physical from the mental, and to accept that I know nothing more of what it is to be a man than any woman who might find herself wrapped in a male body.

So while I absolutely have experience what it is like to be treated with the deference afforded to man, it is the same experience a woman might garner by masquerading as a male.  The sense of how it feels to be a man treated with such deference is an experience that is forever barred from me, as it is from every other woman.

What do I have then to say of male privilege?  Actually, nothing at all.

 

Melanie is a prolific author, musician, composer,
teacher, theorist, and successful businesswoman.

She is also the founder of the first Transgender Forum on America Online
and the creator of the world's very first Transgender Support Web Site.

Visit Melanie's Home Page

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