Drew Cordes has a must read piece over on Bilerico about class and trans.
Usually when I put up a teaser to try and get folks to read something I recently read and thought interesting I go with the first few paragraphs. In this case I’m going to use a few paragraphs from a little way into the piece.
From Bilerico: http://www.bilerico.com/2012/07/the_effect_of_class_on_gender.php
By Drew Cordes
July 22, 2012
I’m a veteran of successful sex reassignment surgery and facial feminization surgery; I have years of hormone replacement therapy under my belt; I have endured hours upon hours of electrolysis; I’ve had voice modulation lessons/therapy; I’ve spent many hours talking (and some just blankly staring) with a therapist who specializes in gender transition. I know (I don’t “believe,” I know) that I would not be who/where/what I am right now if not for all those things, and more.
I am the end; those were the means.
How did I come to have access to those means, though? Money is the easy answer, but that explanation is reductive. Raw spending power and cash flow is certainly one way to access those things, but the reflexive focus on wealth as the answer ignores how one achieves wealth, in its various forms. A more accurate (albeit still fairly reductive) answer is class. The means to my end were accessible to me through social standing.
Make no mistake – I am not rich, and I do not come from a rich family. What I am is middle class, white, and the only child of somewhat upper middle class parents. This grants me certain privilege – privilege that many people like me don’t recognize because we’re born into the world with it as our “normal.”
This is where a lot of those in the “majority” (white/cis/straight/etc.) freak out and say “Hey, I’m not privileged. I work hard to provide for myself and my family. I don’t have a silver spoon. Nobody gave me anything.” Quite right. I’m not saying there are no hardships and that being white and middle class is a 24/7 happy-hour boat cruise. Everybody has hardships; the difference is merely that if you’re white and middle class, statistics show that chances are you have fewer and/or less threatening problems than someone who’s black and lower class.
Let’s examine just one facet of my gender transition, and break down the role my privilege played. My sex reassignment surgery cost $20,000. I don’t have that kind of money, but I do have health insurance. Because of that, my operation cost me $240 (not counting travel expenses, etc.).
Complete article at: http://www.bilerico.com/2012/07/the_effect_of_class_on_gender.php
Too often we act as though class privilege doesn’t play a major role in who gets or doesn’t get SRS during the current era.
I got SRS in the early 1970s which were far more economically advantaged times even got those of us who were in the working poor classes.
I don’t know if I would be able to get SRS today given my socio-economic background.
Too often we over look the role class plays in determining who gets SRS and who does not.