Handout 1-3: Unpacking the Invisible Gender Knapsack

Part of Authentic Selves

Because I am a cisgender person...

  • Strangers don’t assume they can ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex.
  • My validity as a man, woman, or human is not based upon how much surgery I’ve had or how well I “pass” as a non-trans person.
  • I am not excluded from events and spaces that are cissexist (reserved for non-trans men or non-trans women only).
  • My politics are not questioned on the basis of choices I make with regard to my body.
  • I don’t have to hear “so have you had the surgery?” or “oh, so you’re really a [incorrect sex or gender]?” each time I come out to someone.
  • I am not expected to constantly defend my medical decisions.
  • Strangers do not ask me what my “real name”—by which they mean my birth name—is and then assume that they have a right to call me by that name.
  • People do not disrespect me by using incorrect pronouns for me even after they’ve been corrected.
  • I do not have to worry that someone wants to be my friend or have sex with me order to prove their “hipness” or good politics.
  • I do not have to worry about whether I will be able to find a bathroom to use when I am out of my home.
  • When engaging in political action, I do not have to worry that, if arrested, I will not be put in a cell with people of my own gender.
  • I do not have to defend my right to be a part of queer movements and spaces.
  • My experience of gender and of gendered spaces is not viewed as “baggage.”
  • I do not have to choose between either “passing” or being consistently tokenized on the basis of my gender.
  • I am not told that my sexual orientation and gender identity are mutually exclusive.
  • When I go to the gym or a public pool, I can use the showers safely and comfortably.
  • If I end up in the emergency room, I do not have to worry that my gender will keep me from receiving appropriate treatment or that all my medical issues will be seen as a consequence of my gender. (“Your nose is running and your throat hurts? Must be due to the hormones!”)
  • My health insurance provider (or public health system) does not specifically exclude me from receiving benefits or treatments available to others because of my gender.
  • When I express my internal identities in my daily life, I am not considered “mentally ill” by the medical establishment.
  • I am not required to undergo extensive psychological evaluation to receive basic medical care.
  • The medical establishment does not act as a “gatekeeper” controlling what happens to my body.
  • I can get on an airplane or cross an international border, because the name shown on my legal documents is my true name.
  • I do not regularly see debates in the media or political spaces about whether my gender is “real.”