How Transgender Women Can Help You Understand White Male Privilege Expressed As Rage

Paula Williams blog
Photo: TEDx Mile High via YouTube

“The call toward authenticity has all the subtlety of a smoke alarm.”

So says Paula Stone Williams. She was once a former corporate senior executive, pastor, evangelist while presenting male…Then she transitioned into “Paula”, her authentic self.

And lost everything but her authenticity, humor and keen insight.

Authenticity calls all of us. Some hear that call better than others and benefit in the listening.

But once the call is heard, then heeded, one becomes an amplifier of it for others.

Paula has become exactly that.

“The call to authenticity is sacred, it’s holy, it’s for the greater good.” She says.

The call also connects us all, offering species-level transformational potential. The more who are transformed by it, the more room is made for others’ transformation.

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Paula’s TEDx talk landed in my inbox with perfect timing.

I mentioned two weeks ago on our IN YOUR FACE show (Mondays at 5:30 pst), a conversation I had with what at first sounded like a transphobe. Even though Billy is “grossed out” by trans women, I was impressed with his willingness to be vulnerable, his articulate arguments, and his willingness to chat instead of doing a dump and run on our YouTube Show’s comments section.

This weekend though, our conversation turned for the worse.

It’s hard to have a long conversation about transgender people without bringing up obvious parallels between what transgender people are going through and what other minorities have experienced. So it was natural for me to do that.

In doing so, I referred to the browning of America and the benefits a renewed balance to resource access will have on race matters in the United States, and by extension, to transgender people.

That pushed Billy’s buttons.

Thankfully, he’s still willing to chat. Paula’s lessons shared from her male privilege experiences, or rather the loss of them, came – with perfect timing – into my life. They helped me better understand where Billy was coming from, why he was so rage-inspired, and allowed me to be more gracious in the receiving of his vitriol.

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There are so many benefits transgender people bring to the world. Paula’s influence on my conversation with Billy is a small, but apt demonstration.

You might argue that it’s better to transition when young. And while I agree with that for many reasons, benefits come from transitioning late in life too.

For those folks, Paula offers an example of how late-blooming can be just as awesome as blooming early.

Spending a long time presenting as male affords a magnificent inside view of male privilege.

It can be shocking post-transition to lose all that privilege. But it also can be used as a powerful sociological transformational path to authenticity for self and others.

Paula clearly has successfully stepped into that with grace and humor.

And here is where late-blooming transgender women such as Paula can have a huge influence on others: by sharing their personal experience in an authentic way to transform the species for the better, they become greater than themselves.

I think that’s the kind of impact we all want to have, but many miss the chance.

Watch her TEDx talk here.