Today I acquired a new driver’s license. In many ways, it was a normal license with the normal stuff – name, address, birth date, picture, and gender. My license, however, was anything but normal.
I went into the DMV today with a three and a half year old license with three and half year old information. I then asked the DMV to change four of the above five items, gave them my paperwork and money, and waited. Thirty minutes later, it was done, and I had a bright shiny new ID.
This touched off a thought tree that I believe bears examination: what happens when we gain unexpected privilege?
Prior to today, I was nervous when I needed to present my ID – whether for a purchase, admission, age, law enforcement, etc. I compensated for that nervousness by finding power and enablement in the fact that I am very open about being a trans woman. Because I have some passing privilege- both in terms of gender presentation and racial presentation – I enjoy a certain amount of ease with which I went through the world.
Now though, I no longer have an ID that outs me upon presentation. Which means I have gained a new privilege – stealth. I can now choose whether or not to out myself as assigned male at birth. My life, my choice- and one that I can choose to relinquish based on my relative safety.
This is interesting, and bears further examination to find the methods by which I can leverage this privilege – and all my others – to lift and amplify the voices and experiences of the oppressed.