Without claiming it's anything remotely close to the same thing, I temporarily lost some privilege this evening.
I didn't gain 100 lbs all of a sudden or lose my legs or anything like that. I had dinner at Cucina Stagionale in the West Village in New York. This pleasant little restaurant is two blocks from the Stonewall Inn -- and draws its clintele from the same demographic.
This isn't a case of being the only white guy in a subway car. For one thing, that never made me nearly as concious of being white as dinner tonight made me of being heterosexual. It's not that I felt threatened1, or anything like that. Not specifically, at any rate. It was more a worry: "am I being blatantly straight? Am I violating some boundry of behavior with my heterosexuality? Am I going to offend people?"
I imagine some variation of that wariness -- only, again, substantiall more so -- is what all non-privileged people experience whenever they're out other than among their group. In the religion sphere I get it twice: as a Jew in the world (though not as much as Wiccans and Muslims) and as a secularist among Jews.
Today is Blog Against Heteronormativity Day. Obviously I'm not participating, but I think it's useful to look at your life and see if you're makintg assumptions about how people are -- people you know -- and if those assumptions might be interfering with your relationships with them.
And it might be instructive, if not useful, to experience the loss of privilege you take for granted, however slight, and however briefly.
1For that matter, I never feel threatened when I'm the only white guy on the subway car either.