New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently did a podcast interview with reporters Ryan Grim and Briahna Joy Gray for The Intercept, where she covered a range of topics, including her positionality and privilege as a cisgender person. Like a good ally should, she used her privilege to discuss intersectionality and shine light on issues that impact marginalized communities. In this case, the trans community.
“Almost every single person in this country can acknowledge some privilege of some type, you know?” Ocasio-Cortez said in the interview. “I’m a cisgendered woman. You know, I will never know the trauma of feeling like I’m not born in the right body. And that, that is a privilege that I have — no matter how poor my family was when I was born.”
This speaks to an important point. Instead of the “oppression Olympics,” as some conservatives like to label identity-focused politics, it’s possible (and frankly, beneficial) to acknowledge both the privileges we do have, as well as the ones that we don’t.
As the Congresswoman says, she grew up low-income, which is obviously not a privilege. Being cisgender (even while being low-income), however, is a privilege. The most common example of this (which is also discussed in the interview) is that one can be low-income but still benefit from white privilege if they are white.