[personal profile] twostatesystem
I got sick earlier this week, so I'm a bit late to the start line. But hey, I run this place, so it's OK!

I mentioned in my last post my inability to get started because I don't have complete and polished thoughts about some of the things I'm thinking about, and this post right here? Will be Example A.

When I transitioned, I had a very easy time of it. It happened nearly coincidently on the border between undergrad and grad, so I was already moving to a basically new group of people, who all took it in stride. I began medical aspects of transition without jumping through a lot of hoops, and then got on with my life, because I had more interesting things to do. I spent way more time stressing out about where to go to grad school than about transition issues.

It took me a long time to see that the ease of this had nearly nothing to do with any inherent qualities of myself, but 20+ years of built up class privilege. Which is to say that I come from a reasonably wealthy family—wealthy by nearly any standard except growing up among the truly, astonishingly, obscenely wealthy families that lived in my town/sent their children to my high school. But we were wealthy enough that I grew up in a nice suburban house with a nice yard and both my parents had cars and we went on vacation quite a lot, including a trip to Europe almost every year once I was 10. Wealthy enough that when my public school system failed to be able to ensure my (physical, emotional) safety, my parents could put me into private school, no question. Wealthy enough that I was expected to go to college, and probably on to an advanced degree.

At any rate, this means that when I did take the leap to transition, I had so much already going for me: medical care all my life meant that I was in good physical shape; I had a college degree that I was free of debt from, an income and health insurance and easy access to medical care from grad school, and a stable living situation; and probably most importantly, the self-assurance that I could walk into this and walk out the other side intact.

And I think it's that last part that I struggle with in relation to transition. And in general. Because I grew up lacking nothing, I, on many levels, simply expect things to go my way. And in the case of transition, it just did, in no small part because I knew I had a lot of options to fall back on.

Right about here is where I always consider deleting this post, because I'm not sure I've made the connections clear—transition for me was made easy because of my class privilege; transition was the thing that made me aware of my class privilege. Also because I don't like what comes next.

I continue to struggle with class privilege in a way that I don't with many other aspects of social difference, because class is so much more loosely defined, and the way that I separate "people of my class" from "others" has much more to do with values and manners than money, which is in and of itself a marker of social class. Yet, in conversation or research, "class" focuses primarily on wealth. And particularly because those markers of values (particularly about education) and manners are similar among the people I interact with every day, despite very significant differences in wealth, I can lure myself into laziness.

And I do not know how, I have no tools to break out of that loop.



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