Originally published on It’s Pronounced Metrosexual
Following is a list of cisgender identity privileges. If you’re not familiar with the term, “cisgender” means having a biological sex that matches your gender identity and expression, resulting in other people accurately perceiving your gender.
If you are cisgender, listed below are benefits that result from your alignment of identity and perceived identity.
If you identify as cisgender, there’s a good chance you’ve never thought about these things. Try and be more cognizant and you’ll start to realize how much work we have to do in order to make things better for the transgender folks who don’t have access to these privileges.
If you’re unsure of what it means to be “transgender” you can read about it in our gender identity guide.
Please comment below if you have any additions or revisions to make!
Use public restrooms without fear of verbal abuse, physical intimidation, or arrest
- Use public facilities such as gym locker rooms and store changing rooms without stares, fear, or anxiety.
- Strangers don’t assume they can ask you what your genitals look like and how you have sex.
- Your validity as a man/woman/human is not based on how much surgery you’ve had or how well you “pass” as non-transgender.
- You have the ability to walk through the world and generally blend-in, not being constantly stared or gawked at, whispered about, pointed at, or laughed at because of your gender expression.
- You can access gender exclusive spaces such as the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Greek Life, or Take Back the Night and not be excluded due to your trans status.
- Strangers call you by the name you provide, and don’t ask what your “real name” [birth name] is and then assume that they have a right to call you by that name.
- You can reasonably assume that your ability to acquire a job, rent an apartment, or secure a loan will not be denied on the basis of your gender identity/expression.
- You have the ability to flirt, engage in courtship, or form a relationship and not fear that your biological status may be cause for rejection or attack, nor will it cause your partner to question their sexual orientation.
- If you end up in the emergency room, you do not have to worry that your gender will keep you from receiving appropriate treatment, or that all of your medical issues will be seen as a result of your gender.
- Your identity is not considered a mental pathology (“gender identity disorder” in the DSM IV) by the psychological and medical establishments.
- You have the ability to not worry about being placed in a sex-segregated detention center, holding facility, jail or prison that is incongruent with your identity.
- You have the ability to not be profiled on the street as a sex worker because of your gender expression.
- You are not required to undergo an extensive psychological evaluation in order to receive basic medical care.
- You do not have to defend you right to be a part of “Queer,” and gays and lesbians will not try to exclude you from “their” equal rights movement because of your gender identity (or any equality movement, including feminist rights).
- If you are murdered (or have any crime committed against you), your gender expression will not be used as a justification for your murder (“gay panic”) nor as a reason to coddle the perpetrators.
- You can easily find role models and mentors to emulate who share your identity.
- Hollywood accurately depicts people of your gender in films and television, and does not solely make your identity the focus of a dramatic storyline, or the punchline for a joke.
- Be able to assume that everyone you encounter will understand your identity, and not think you’re confused, misled, or hell-bound when you reveal it to them.
- Being able to purchase clothes that match your gender identity without being refused service/mocked by staff or questioned on your genitals.
- Being able to purchase shoes that fit your gender expression without having to order them in special sizes or asking someone to custom-make them.
- No stranger checking your identification or drivers license will ever insult or glare at you because your name or sex does not match the sex they believed you to be based on your gender expression.
- You can reasonably assume that you will not be denied services at a hospital, bank, or other institution because the staff does not believe the gender marker on your ID card to match your gender identity.
Having your gender as an option on a form.
- Being able to tick a box on a form without someone disagreeing, and telling you not to lie. Yes, this happens.
- Not fearing interactions with police officers due to your gender identity.
- Being able to go to places with friends on a whim knowing there will be bathrooms there you can use.
- You don’t have to convince your parents of your true gender and/or have to earn your parents’ and siblings’ love and respect all over again.
- You don’t have to remind your extended family over and over to use proper gender pronouns (e.g., after transitioning).
- You don’t have to deal with old photographs that did not reflect who you truly are.
- Knowing that if you’re dating someone they aren’t just looking to satisfy a curiosity or kink pertaining to your gender identity (e.g., the “novelty” of having sex with a trans- person).
- Being able to pretend that anatomy and gender are irrevocably entwined when having the “boy parts and girl parts” talk with children, instead of explaining the actual complexity of the issue (one “how-to” in the comments below).
- [leave a comment below with another example!]
Thanks to BGSU’s Safe Zone Program for the beginnings of this list.
Sam Killermann is a Staff Writer for Everyday Feminism and the person behind It’s Pronounced Metrosexual, a comedy show and blog focused on issues of identity, stereotypes, and oppression. A social justice advocate and ally, Sam performs the show at colleges around the country and writes for the site when he is at home in Austin, TX. Follow on Twitter @Killermann.