The Inability To Understand Until You’ve Experienced It

“Cultural sexism in the world is very real when you’ve lived on both sides of the coin”

One day in court, Ward and his opposing counsel
were making a big request to a judge. Ward knew their question would not go over well, so he wasn’t surprised when she reprimanded both him and his opposing counsel for asking. What he didn’t expect was for the opposing counsel lean over to him and call the judge the c-word. “We weren’t out the courtroom door when he said that to me under his breath,” Ward says. “He never would have said that when I was female.

Many trans men I spoke with said they had no idea how rough women at work had it until they transitioned. As soon as they came out as men, they found their missteps minimized and their successes amplified. Often, they say, their words carried more weight: They seemed to gain authority and professional respect overnight. They also saw confirmation of the sexist attitudes they had long suspected: They recalled hearing female colleagues belittled by male bosses, or female job applicants called names.

“If I’m going off-the cuff, no-one really questions it,” Ward says. “It’s taken as, ‘He’s saying it, so it must be true.’ Whereas while I was practicing as female, it was ‘Show me your authority, you don’t know any better yet.’”



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