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February 1, 2014

Each of the following privileges costs $100 to purchase.

1. Having a recognized marriage.
2. Having other people celebrate your marriage.
3. Paid leave from your job when grieving the death of your partner.
4. Inheriting from your partner/lover/companion automatically after their death.
5. Having multiple positive TV role models.
6. Sharing health insurance with your partner.
7. Being able to find role models of the same sexual orientation.
8. Being able to see your partner immediately if in an accident or emergency.
9. Not being subjected to scrutiny in your job and not being able to be promoted without your sexuality being questioned.
10. Adopting your children.
11. Filing joint tax returns.
12. Able to obtain child custody.
13. Kissing/hugging/being affectionate in public without threat or punishment.
14. Freely being able to discuss your relationship with others.
15. Being able to discuss and have access to multiple family planning options.
16. Not questioning normalcy, both sexually and culturally.
17. Reading books or seeing movies about a relationship you wish you could have.
18. Receiving discounted home-owner insurance rates with your recognized partner.
19. Raising children without worrying about state intervention.
20. Having others comfort you when a relationship ends.
21. Being a foster parent.
22. Being employed as a teacher without people assuming you will “corrupt” the children.
23. Dating the person you desired in your teens.
24. Raising children without worrying about people rejecting your children because of your sexual preference.
25. Living openly with your partner.
26. Receiving validation from your religious community.
27. Being accepted by your neighbors, colleagues and friends.
28. Being able to go to a doctor visit and have her/him understand your sexual orientation.
29. Not having to testify against your partner in a court of law.
30. Having people correctly assume your sexuality.
31. Sponsoring your partner for citizenship.
32. Being open and having your partner accepted by your family.

Yesterday on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University, I did a Safe Zone Project allyship training. One of the exercises included the above list. Each table was given an envelope with different amounts of cash; my table had $500. We were tasked with picking just five of the thirty-two Heterosexual Privileges. I chose #s 8, 9, 16, 19 and 25.

How much money would you need to spend to live a fulfilled, valued life?

How much would you have to spend to continue living with the privileges you currently enjoy?

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