Almost three decades ago, Peggy McIntosh published her now-legendary piece on White Privilege. McIntosh likened white privilege to an invisible knapsack of advantages that white people carry with them, listing a selection from the abundance of everyday rights withheld from people of colour. This post is the second of two parts, in honour of McIntosh’s birthday this month. The first addresses the racial privilege I carried as a student growing up in international schools. This piece considers a few of the many ways that heterosexual and cisgender people benefit from privilege in international schools:
- Cishet people are free from concern that a teacher or classmate will misgender them.
- Cishet people never have to worry that a teacher will deadname them while taking attendance.
- The standardized tests that pre-enter personal information always check the box that corresponded with cishet people’s gender identity.
- Cishet people can be certain that both anatomy and relationships similar to theirs would be discussed in sexual education lessons.
- Cishet people can enjoy the playground and other common campus spaces without worry that they would be the target of verbal or physical harassment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Cishet people don’t have to come out to anybody.
- Cishet people can attend dances and school functions with their partners, unquestioned.
- Cishet students can audition for a part in a play or try out for an athletic team without being asked to discuss their gender.
- Cishet students can use the school bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
- Cishet people are not assigned entire reading lists with characters and plots that completely ignore or invalidate romantic relationships like theirs.
How do you see heterosexual and cisgender privilege playing out in international schools today?
 McIntosh, P. (1998). Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In P.S. Rothenberg (Ed.), Race, class, and gender in the United States, p. 165-169. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.