Tag Archives: sexual orientation

How much Privilege do you really have?

 So I have been talking about privilege for many years.  I have gotten into arguments on Facebook and Twitter about privilege.  People almost always come back with (particularly white heterosexual males): “I am not privileged.  I have had to struggle”
Ummmm, okay, so privilege is not about whether or not you have had to struggle in your life.  It is about how society in general perceives you and judges you with regards to things like your gender, sexual orientation, race and financial status.
My friend Tonya posted this Buzzfeed (I LOVE Buzz feed, btw), with questions about privilege and to be honest I think it is a very comprehensive list, so I am going to copy it (and give credit of course) here so people may have an understanding of privilege and how it works. So, How much Privilege do you really have?
Please feel free to share your number (if you are comfortable) in the comments on the blog so it becomes more apparent to all how privilege works.
privilege-definition
Give your self one point for every comment you can say yes to: (I added the stuff in Italics)
1.  I am white.
2.  I have never been discriminated against because of my skin color.
3.  I have never been the only person of my race in a room.
4.  I have never been mocked for my accent.
5.  I have never been told I am attractive “for my race.”
6.  I have never been a victim of violence because of my race.
7.  have never been called a racial slur.
8. I have never been told I “sound white.”
9.  A stranger has never asked to touch my hair, or asked if it is real.
10. I am heterosexual.
11. I have never lied about my sexuality.
12. I never had to “come out.”
13. I never doubted my parents’ acceptance of my sexuality.
14. I have never been called “fag.”
15. I have never been called “dyke.”
16. I have never been called a “fairy,” or any other derogatory slur for homosexuals.
17. I have never tried to hide my sexuality.
18. I am always comfortable with P.D.A. with my partner in public.
19. I have never pretended to be “just friends” with my significant other.
20. I have never been ostracized by my religion for my sexual orientation.
21. I have never been told I would “burn in hell” for my sexual orientation.
22. I have never been told that my sexuality is “just a phase.”
23. I have never been violently threatened because of my sexuality.
24. I am a man.
25. I feel comfortable in the gender I was born as.
26. I still identify as the gender I was born in.
27. I have never tried to change my gender.
28. I have never been denied an opportunity because of my gender.
29. I make more money than my professional counterparts of a different gender.
30. I have never felt unsafe because of my gender.
31. I have never been catcalled.
32. I have never been sexually harassed or assaulted.
33. I have never been raped.
34. I work in a salaried job.
35. My family and I have never lived below the poverty line.
36. I don’t have any student loans.
37. I have never gone to bed hungry.
38. I have never been homeless.
39. My parents (or someone else) pay some of my bills.
40. My parents (or someone else) pay all of my bills.
41. I don’t rely on public transportation.
42. I buy new clothes at least once a month.
43. I have never done my taxes myself.
44. I have never felt poor.
45. I have never had to worry about making rent.
46. I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender, or salesperson.
47. I have had an unpaid internship.
48. I have had multiple unpaid internships.
49. I went to summer camp.
50. I went to private school.
51. I graduated high school.
52. I went to an elite college.
53. I graduated college.
54. My parents (or someone else or the VA) paid (at least some of) my tuition.
55. I had a car in high school.
56. I’ve never had a roommate.
57. I’ve always had cable or Direct TV
58. I have traveled internationally.(not military service)
59. I travel internationally at least once a year.(again not for military service)
60. I studied abroad.
61. I’ve never skipped a meal to save money.
62. I don’t know what “Sallie Mae” is. (Or know what it is but have never had to use it)
63. I spent Spring Breaks abroad.
64. I have frequent flier miles.
65. My parents are heterosexual.
66. My parents are both alive.
67. My parents are still married. (or would be if they were alive)
68. I do not have any physical disabilities.
69. I do not have any social disabilities.
70. I do not have any learning disabilities.
71. I have never had an eating disorder.
72. I have never been depressed.
73. I have never considered suicide.
74. I have never attempted suicide.
75. I have never taken medication for my mental health.
76. I can afford medication if/when I need it.(and have a co-pay I CAN afford, even if I think it is too high)
77. I have never been told I’m overweight or “too skinny.”
78. I have never felt overweight or underweight or “too skinny.”
79. I have never been shamed for my body type.
80. I consider myself to be physically attractive.
81. I can afford a therapist.
82. I’ve used prescription drugs recreationally.
83. I have never had an addiction.
84. I have never been shamed for my religious beliefs.
85. I have never been violently threatened for my religious beliefs.
86. I have never been violently attacked for my religious beliefs.
87. There is a place of worship for my religion in my town.
88. I have never lied about my ethnicity as self-defense.
89. I have never lied about my religion as self-defense.
90. All my jobs have been accommodating of my religious practices.
91. I am not nervous in airport security lines.
92. I have never heard this statement: “You have been randomly selected for secondary passport control.”
93. I have never been called a terrorist.
94. Nobody has ever tried to “save” me for my religious beliefs, or my sexual orientation
95. I have never been cyber-bullied for any of my identities.
96. I was not bullied as a child for any of my identities.
97. I have never tried to distance myself from any of my identities.
98. I have never been self-conscious about any of my identities.
99. I have never questioned any of my identities.
100.  I feel privileged because of the identities I was born with
I originally thought I scored a 30, but I actually scored a 31.  Which is a bit better but not by much!
I believe my score is only 30 because as a JEWISH, WOMAN in a SAME GENDERED relationship who has also struggled financially as a SINGLE MOM, I cannot get as many points as if I could remove one of those labels.
This also brings up intersectionality.  Look how many words in the above sentence  are bold.  I could also add OVERWEIGHT to those categories……I have many “adjectives” that describe me…. that is what intersectionality is in a nut shell.  We are many things, not just one, and each one of those adjectives, (or intersections) forms how we view ourselves and how society as a whole views us.
Please feel free to comment about how this made you feel if you are comfortable.  Until we start having a discussion about privilege it will be more difficult to remove these labels that cause separation in our society.
#womenslives  #blacklivesmatter

Is Sexual Orientation a choice?

We are all unique when we are born.  We have a unique genetic code that decides what color hair we will have, will it be straight or curly, how tall will we be, what our skin tone will be.  It tells us what color eyes we will have, hazel, green, brown or blue.   Our DNA decides if we will be born with all of our body parts and brains fully functioning, or if we are missing a chromosome, or piece of DNA it decides if we will have Down’s Syndrome, or autism, or any myriad of genetic birth defects.

That being said, what about gender and sex?  Of course we know our physiological sexual characteristics are decided by our DNA, but gender? Gender is fluid and is a social construct and we are socialized to be one gender or another.  And what about sexual orientation? Is sexual orientation a choice? Or is it hardwired into our DNA?
Many people will say that people CHOOSE to be gay or straight.  Many say they are born gay or straight.  I am not a scholar and I have not done enough research to determine if the scientific data supports either theory.  All I can tell you is what people have told me.

One day, while waiting for a professor to show up for a class, my classmates and I started having a discussion about sexual orientation.  I said I don’t like to
“classify” my sexuality, and told them that I am vague because I don’t like to categorize myself as one thing or another.  I am not straight.  I like guys, but I also like women. I have been in a wonderful relationship with a woman for over 10 years, and I expect to stay in that relationship until I die.  If something were to happen to her and I wanted to be in another relationship  have no idea what gender that person might be.  They could be male, female, transgendered….who knows.  I don’t rule anything out and definitely don’t really have a certain “type” of person I am attracted to.  According to my college friends this makes me a “pansexual”

I had never heard of Pansexuality before and of course I looked it up and did some research, and I realized she was right, and that described me perfectly.  I am not attracted to just one type of person, I can be attracted to any type of person.  What matters to me more than their sexual anatomy is who they are as a person, their heart and personality.  Those are the things that draw me in and makes me attracted to someone, not their gender or physical features.

During this discussion with some of my classmates, we started talking about sexual orientation and whether it was a “choice” or how we were born.  Someone said,  “You know, I hear people say that gay people choose to be gay, but I am here to tell you that is not true.  Why would I choose this lifestyle?  Choose being discriminated against?  Choose a lifestyle that made my friends and church family abandon me?  Choose an orientation where I can’t even walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand? Who would choose that? Nobody would.”

That young man articulated the thoughts that I believe MANY LGBTQ people have had.  Why in the world would we CHOOSE to be born that way?  A life of discrimination, ridicule and being treated differently?  A life where you still can’t have a legally binding civil union or marriage (or whatever term you prefer to use) in every state in this country.  A lifestyle where you get bullied and picked on in school.

These are questions that anyone who feels being gay is a choice should ask themselves.  It would be much easier to be heterosexual.

So for anyone who thinks LGBTQ people wake up one day and consciously make a choice to take a more difficult path through life, ask yourself, “would I chose that?”  If the answer is no, then that is all you need to know.  Being gay, or straight, or bisexual, or asexual, or bisexual is not a choice, it is hardwired into our DNA and it is how we are born.

So in the words of Lady Gaga, we were “Born This Way”!!