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Bronze-level article

Transphobia

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Yes, all the psychiatrists and psychologists of the world banded together to invent a fake condition just to rob you of your precious titty supply. Good catch.
—Cerberus[1]

Transphobia, in common English, is dislike or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people.[2]. It is also often used as a pejorative against critics of modern gender concepts.[3] The term has been used as a political tool by some philanthropic non-governmental organizations, e.g. from Planned Parenthood, "Transphobia is the fear, hatred, disbelief, or mistrust of people who are transgender, thought to be transgender, or whose gender expression doesn’t conform to traditional gender roles. Transphobia can prevent transgender and gender nonconforming people from living full lives free from harm."[4]

Transphobia is often conflated with homophobia and is justified for the same reasons that homophobes use to justify their hatred of gays (religion, prescriptive gender norms, etc.). Indeed, many clueless homophobes conflate homosexual people with transgender people and cross-dressers. Transphobia also manifests itself in some schools of radical feminist thought, as some feminists resent the idea that people who aren't biologically women might make claims as women.

On a societal scale, it can manifest itself in any number of ways, from systemic discrimination against transgender people in housing, healthcare, and employment,[5] to a relatively high murder rate,[6][7] to a series of demeaning depictions in the mass media. Cases of murder have been exceptionally high in Brazil. "The situation in Brazil is especially worrying, with 40% of the cases since January 2008, and 42% of the cases in 2016 so far worldwide."[8]

Language and social interactions[edit]

Casual transphobia may occur in everyday interactions between people, as well as in writing.

Misgendering[edit]

One common form of transphobia is misgendering. Misgendering is treating a trans person as the wrong gender. Most commonly, it involves language. It can involve using the wrong pronoun (he, she, they, etc.), honorific (sir, ma'am, miss, son), title (Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc), or descriptive noun (guy, gal, gentleman, lady, etc.). [9] Some people may gender trans people correctly the first time, but "correct" themselves after hearing their voices or seeing an unchanged ID card.

Another form of misgendering is expecting people to act or present in accordance with their assigned gender, i.e., expecting a trans woman to wear a suit instead of a blouse to a formal event, or expecting a trans woman to cut her hair in an environment where men aren't allowed to have long hair.

Deadnaming[edit]

Deadnaming is the intentional use of a trans person's birth or non-preferred name. It is common in both speech and in writing. [10]

Slurs[edit]

Slurs are another form of transphobia. Many transphobic people may use derogatory terms instead of "transgender" or "trans woman/man". Slurs such as "tranny", "freak", "science experiment", "he-she", "shim", and "MTT/FTT" are used as slurs for trans people in general. "She-male", "man in a dress", "cock-in-a-frock", and "guy with tits" are used to refer to a trans woman, notably by Milo Yiannopoulos and the Ted 2 movie. Post-op vaginas are sometimes pejoratively called "rotpockets". The pronoun "it" is sometimes used to dehumanize trans people. Transphobic slurs can be likened to slurs thrown at other kinds of LGBT individuals. [11]

Social ostracism and exclusion[edit]

Though coming out as trans is the first step to expressing one's gender identity, it will inevitably be met with ostracism by some people. People who once liked and respected the closeted trans person may now view them as a pervert or as a "waste of a good man/woman". People who once shared many great memories with the person might now actively avoid them. When trans people come out on social media, they often notice they lose followers (including close family members). Other people might leave hate comments.

Gatekeeping[edit]

This happens most commonly in the medical field where transgender people are denied the right to transition. Arguments by medical gatekeepers center around the belief that transgender people are wrong about their identity (transphobic in itself) and they need to undergo months or even years of therapy before they can be allowed to transition. Worse, some gatekeepers say that any psychological problem should be exclusionary to being "allowed" to transition which puts transgender people in a suicidal catch 22 because their psychological problems are caused by dysphoria from living as the wrong gender. The only way to relieve the serious problems is to transition. "Exclusionary disorders" just makes transitioning impossible, and most gatekeepers are probably fully aware of this.

The notion of gatekeeping as a "protection" against "wrongly transitioning" is a bogus shield for transphobia because cis people don't transition. Feminine men, butch lesbians, and people who think that their lives might be easier (based on gender roles and stereotypes) if they were born as "the other" gender don't transition. When someone comes out as wanting to transition, it's because they need to do it.

Media and police[edit]

Transgender people are regularly discriminated against by the media and police.[12][13][14] Both the media and police when involving a transgender person invariably use the descriptor "transsexual" or "transvestite" (with its associated archaic psychiatric baggage) in place of transgender. Transgender people face high rates of rape and deaths in custody while in prison.[15][16][17] The level of cyberbullying towards transgender people and suicide is also disproportionately high.[18][19] The media, in going for sensationalized stories, typically publish the transgender person's previous name without permission even if they have legally changed their name and that name change is protected by privacy laws.[notes 1] An individual's gender identity is suggested in these stories to be fake or a fraud by connotation, with the intention to deceive.

When referring to trans women, the use of recycling exaggerated stereotypes such as "long and leggy", "tall physique", "fierce looking", "muscular", "ill-fitting dress", "over-the-top femininity", etc. combined with negative notions that transgender individuals are perverted or depraved is all-too common in the media.[notes 2][20] Another popular stereotype of trans women is that of a slim Asian person who is usually a prostitute. Such stereotypical imagery is imposed on other media such as film and television, where trans women are mostly portrayed in acting roles as sick, twisted, prostitutes or "stranger danger" serial killers.[21] There was some concern that the film The Silence of the Lambs, featuring a villain who was making himself a "woman suit" out of women's skin, would be seen as perpetuating this stereotype of the twisted and violent trans woman, and hence a disclaimer was placed in the mouth of Jodie Foster's character to emphasize that there was no link between "transsexualism and violence."

In most movies, trans women are portrayed by cis male actors, perpetuating the notion that a trans woman is just a man in a dress. Less commonly (as in Transamerica and Ace Ventura), a cis woman is used. Trans women rarely are portrayed using trans women.

When a trans woman is on the news or in a documentary, many news organizations use the same stock tropes when shooting the footage. Many show the trans woman looking in a mirror, as if all trans people are obsessed with their appearance. Others may show the trans woman shaving or putting on makeup. Pre-transition photographs will almost invariably be shown.

Trans men are reported about disproportionally less, although the amount of trans men and women is relatively equal.[22]

On 9 May 2014, the UK Press Complaints Commission ruled in Dr Kate Stone v Daily Mirror, that the publication of a person's transgender status is not relevant and that the disclosure of a person's previous name without consent was an unjustified intrusion into their privacy.[23] Newspapers named in the original complaint complied with the ruling and removed reference to Dr. Stone's birth name and transgender status on-line. The media covering the PCC case, not involved in the original complaint, ignored the ruling, such as The Guardian with a piece written by feminist journalist Yvonne Roberts, who referred to Dr. Stone as "Transgender Kate Stone" before amending their story caption to "Scientist Kate Stone" six hours after publication, following complaints by readers (the story url however remains unchanged and visible as "transgender-kate-stone-press-complaints-commission-ruling").[24]

In October 2014, when it was revealed a Gold Coast murder victim known as Mayang Prasetyo was trans, the media switched from reporting it as a domestic violence incident to one engaging in sensationalism, embellishment, and victim blaming, after publishing stories with headlines "Monster chef and the she male" and "Ladyboy and the butcher".[25]

The final episode of season six of the television drama series Pretty Little Liars has been condemned by a number of activist groups after it was revealed the identity of the psychopathic killer known as "A" was transgender. Director of advocacy group SPARTA, Brynn Tannehill, stated:[26]

Using transgender people and their transitions as a twist, and a way to explain psychotic behavior, is just plain lazy writing and has been for 50 plus years. It's the 'big-bad unmasking' equivalent to revealing that all of the 9th season of Dallas was all just a dream.

Seeking asylum[edit]

Two trans women - Ashley Ihász and Stephanie McCarthy - fled Australia claiming humanitarian asylum status in Iceland, in June 2017. Both women allege they have feared for their lives following threats and harassment from the NSW Police.[27] This follows a highly publicized, unprovoked violent attack on McCarthy at a Newtown hotel in 2015, in which the assailants served no jail time.[28]

Trans panic[edit]

Trans panic is used as a defence by some assailants of trans women. The defendant states that he was meeting a woman for sex, but upon discovering at the crucial moment that the woman is trans, such is his shock and outrage that he could not help but attack her. The object is to gain the sympathy of any jurors who may harbour similar prejudices, or to reduce a potential conviction of murder to the less heavily punished manslaughter. This is a desperate move, however, and the defence of trans panic (along with the similar gay panic) is inadmissible in some jurisdictions.

The "trans panic" defense was used in the murder case of trans woman Gwen Araujo[29] and Angie Zapata.

Some have loosely speculated a similar motive for the crimes of a fugitive caught by America's Most Wanted as Direct Result Capture #352.

Among fundamentalist Christians[edit]

Fundamentalist Christians do not, as a rule,[30] think highly of transgender people. They generally base this opinion on a handful of biblical verses, such as Genesis 1:27-31: "And God created man in His image, in His likeness; male and female He created them... and it was very good." From this, through a generous bit of interpolation, conservative Christians conclude that transgender people (like gays) are either actively rebelling against God[31] or have been socialized into it by bad parenting, the liberal media, and other such machinations of Satan.[32] (If one could translate the Hebrew original of Genesis 1:27 into English as "male or female He created them", then transphobia might have a more secure Biblical basis, with less chance of allowing for anyone's "inner woman" or "inner man"...)

Some fundamentalists, such as Pastor Sean Harris of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, have advocated beating children at the first sign of "gender-inappropriate" behavior; for example, says the pastor, when a four-year-old boy lets his wrist go limp, his father needs to paste him one in the jaw, and if his daughter starts acting too butch, he needs to demand that she make herself attractive.[33]

As transgender or gender-nonconforming human beings become more prominent, transphobia also becomes a front in the culture war. For example, back in the bad old days of 2011, Fox News psychologist Keith Ablow lost his shit over a J.CrewWikipedia's W.svg ad which featured a boy having his toenails painted pink.[34][35] Emily J. Miller of the Moonies' newspaper The Washington Times ranted over referring to Chelsea Manning as a woman.[36]

Radical feminism and transphobia[edit]

Several radical feminists indulge in and have been accused of transphobia, such as Julie Bindel,[37] Cathy Brennan, Germaine Greer,[38] Sheila Jeffreys,[39] Mary Daly,[40][41] and Janice Raymond.[42] A quote from Raymond's book The Transsexual Empire, saying roughly the same thing of transsexual and transgender women as radical feminists have always said of men, serves as a good example of radical feminist transphobia:

All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves.

Academic radical feminism is premised upon the idea that gender is entirely a social construct, and that it must be destroyed to end the oppression of women. Transgender people tend to maintain, on the other hand, that gender identity is to some extent intrinsic.[notes 3]

As frequently happens, when ideology runs up against someone else's lived experiences, ideologues respond by trying to hammer the problem flat until it fits with what they already believe. There has been,[43] and continues to be,[44][45] a rich current of anti-transsexual bigotry underlying much of radical feminist thought. The radical feminist critique of transsexuality maintains (generally contrary to what trans people themselves have said about their own identities) that trans women are nothing more than effeminate men who have been relegated by the patriarchal gender binary to the status of women (whereas trans men, when they bother to mention them at all, are just women trying to claim male privilege for themselves). Thus they slam transsexual people in general for "reifying the gender binary." There is no out, however, for transsexual people who do not embody the stereotypes of their adopted genders either; lesbian trans women, for example, are dismissed as men who only transitioned in order to infiltrate women-only spaces.

A great amount of the problem, especially regarding trans women in particular, has to do with privilege. Radfem transphobes insist on referring to trans women as men, and treating them as if they're privileged as such, ignoring the fact that social and other aspects of transition (or to a lesser extent merely contemplating those) are generally met with hostility and derided socially. Considering them to be men, such radfem transphobes might also deny that trans women are subjected to misogyny more than men. Much like transphobes generally, radfem transphobes typically reject the concepts of cisgender privilege and cissexism, even claiming that "cis" is not a neutral description of one's gender alignment but is a misogynistic slur.[notes 4]

The term TERF (nominally stands for "trans-exclusionary radical feminist") has come into use to describe this faction to distinguish them from radical feminists who aren't transphobic. They tend to not like this term, as it violates their attempt to claim ownership of the word "feminist".

Neopagan transphobia[edit]

Largely overlapping with the radical feminist transphobia, certain members of the neopagan community have also expressed sentiments and/or acted to exclude transgender people.[46] This is especially common in Dianic Wiccan circles, and transgender women have been excluded from events at nominally ecumenical neopagan gatherings.[47] Z Budapest, one of the progenitors of the Dianic Wicca community, stated (spelling and grammar errors in the original):

This struggle has been going since the Women’s Mysteries first appeared. These individuals selfishly never think about the following: if women allow men to be incorporated into Dianic Mysteries,What will women own on their own? Nothing! Again! Transies who attack us only care about themselves.

We women need our own culture, our own resourcing, our own traditions. You can tell these are men, They don’t care if women loose the Only tradition reclaimed after much research and practice ,the Dianic Tradition. Men simply want in. its their will. How dare us women not let them in and give away the ONLY spiritual home we have! Men want to worship the Goddess? Why not put in the WORK and create your own trads. The order of ATTIS for example,(dormant since the 4rth century) used to be for trans gendered people, also the castrata, men who castrated themselves to be more like the Goddess. Why are we the ONLY tradition they want? Go Gardnerian!Go Druid! Go Ecclectic! Filled with women, and men. They would fit fine. But if you claim to be one of us, you have to have sometimes in your life a womb, and overies and MOON bleed and not die.

Women are born not made by men on operating tables.
[48]

In pseudoscience[edit]

For main article, see Autogynephilia

Sex researchers Ray Blanchard and Kurt Freund in the 1980s attempted to create a "taxonomy" of transsexuals which classified them into one of two categories which, they claimed, all transsexuals would fall:

  1. Homosexuals who are very effeminate and think life would just be easier as a woman
  2. Heterosexuals who have a fetish for imagining themselves as a woman

If you are paying attention, you'll notice that this says all transsexuals are either gay men, or perverts. The evidence that transsexuals have chromosomal, neural, and even genital traits more similar to their identified sex than their assigned sex? Yeah, that's irrelevant because all transsexuals are either one of the gays or perverts.

Oh, and you might have also noticed something else: Not a single part of this idiotic theory includes a single recognition that there are trans men, that is, someone assigned female at birth who identifies as a man. Ever seen Boys Don't Cry? Well Hilary Swank's character, Brandon Teena, is wasWikipedia's W.svg one of the people this theory completely ignores.

Another "theory" on trans people is that their gender identities are caused by autism. Some conservative and TERF doctors state that it is caused by autistic people's tendency to "fixate" on issues, and that gender dysphoria is no different from obsessing over numbers. Other "theorists" suggest that it has to do with wanting to "fit in" to society better. Still others suggest that both conditions are caused by high levels of testosterone in the womb, which would make sense for trans men, but not for trans women, who have had high levels of estrogen in the womb. In any case, correlation does not imply causation. The studies are simply "incidence studies." Some possible explanation for the correlation is that trans children are more likely to see psychologists, or even that symptoms of gender dysphoria can resemble autism.[49]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. In many countries, changes to birth certificates and/or issuing of gender recognition certificates are covered by privacy laws. In the UK for example, Section 22 of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 states: "It is an offence for a person who has acquired protected information in an official capacity to disclose the information to any other person." Article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights provides that: "Everyone has the right to respect for their private life." In Australia, change of name privacy is protected in the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1995 (NSW), Gender Reassignment Act 2000 (WA) etc. but the media for a story still publishes previous names, ignoring the laws.
  2. For example, when reports emerged in the mid-1970s that Ramatam guitarist April Lawton was trans, she was described in one music review as a "muscular guitarist", "plays guitar like one of the guys", etc. Before these claims, she was described as "a hot chick with a guitar".
  3. That is, even though they were raised as one gender, they have always identified as another, and further, often want bodies to match.
  4. It is not entirely off the wall to say that the TERF position on gender is pretty much incoherent and incomprehensible. Although they might understand what they're saying. Maybe.

References[edit]

  1. Sadly, No!, archived.
  2. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/transphobia
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/12/germaine-greer-tells-qa-her-trans-views-were-wrong-but-then-restates-them
  4. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexual-orientation-gender/trans-and-gender-nonconforming-identities/whats-transphobia
  5. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation
  6. Trans Murder Monitoring Project, Trans Respect versus Transphobia Worldwide
  7. "The victims of prejudice", BBC News, 26 December 2003
  8. http://transrespect.org/en/idahot-2016-tmm-update/
  9. http://affinitymagazine.us/2017/04/17/intentionally-misgendering-transgender-people-is-considered-violence/
  10. http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/mesa/2017/02/08/deadnaming-awareness-growing-anniversary-fatal-mesa-police-shooting-kayden-clarke-transgender-lgbt/97406114/
  11. https://www.queerty.com/lets-learn-the-nine-anti-trans-slurs-we-should-avoid-20110620
  12. Kermode, Jennie (2010) How Transgender People Experience the Media. Trans Media Watch: London, United Kingdom. http://www.transmediawatch.org/Documents/How%20Transgender%20People%20Experience%20the%20Media.pdf
  13. Signorile, Michelangelo (12 June 2011) "Escalating Police Violence and Transgender People", Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/escalating-police-violenc_b_1131343.html
  14. "You're Rooting a Bloke", SameSame, 6 February 2008
  15. The punishment doesn't fit the crime: More on transgender women, prison, and Maria Benita Santamaria, The Bilerico Project, 6 January 2010
  16. "To keep me safe from harm? Transgender prisoners", Deakin Law Review, Volume 9, Number 2
  17. The death of trans woman Veronica Baxter, Community Action Against Homophobia
  18. STUDY: LGBT Youth Face High Levels of Cyberbullying, Think Progress, 11 July 2013
  19. Transgender teen who spoke on YouTube of bullying takes her own life, Los Angeles Times, 9 April 2015
  20. "Comment: The media need to stop writing the same story about trans people", SBS News, 30 March 2015
  21. "Ed Gein and the figure of the transgender serial killer", Jump Cut, no. 43, July 2000, pp. 38-47
  22. Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Seal Press. pp. 46-47.
  23. Resolved - Dr Kate Stone v Daily Mirror, Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors' Code of Practice. 9 May 2014
  24. Yvonne Roberts, "Scientist Kate Stone hails landmark press ruling over transgender reporting," The Guardian, 11 May 2014. Footnote published on newspaper article: "This article was amended on Sunday 11 May 2014 to change the terminology in the standfirst".
  25. "Mayang Prasetyo killing: 'disrespectful' Courier-Mail coverage sparks inquiry", The Guardian, 8 October 2014
  26. "Pretty Little Liars Transphobic Writing Is Hackneyed, Harmful", Huffpost, 12 August 2015
  27. Australian couple fearing transphobic attacks file for asylum in Iceland, Out in Perth, 22 June 2017
  28. Assault victim Stephanie McCarthy devastated at assailant's sentencing, Star Observer, 2 December 2015
  29. "Shelley, Christopher A. (2008-08-02). Transpeople: repudiation, trauma, healing. University of Toronto Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-8020-9539-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=SiaNoJ3puyQC&pg=PA47&dq=%22gwen+araujo%22&lr=&as_brr=3#PPA47,M1. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  30. Although there are some very surprising exceptions
  31. http://www.dallasvoice.com/group-backing-sally-kern-calls-transgender-opponent-brittany-novotny-a-confused-it-1043177.html
  32. http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4222623/k.8B00/What_is_a_Biblical_View_of_Transgendered_People_and_Hermaphrodites.htm
  33. http://jezebel.com/5906907/horrible-pastor-advocates-beating-the-gay-out-of-young-kids
  34. http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201104120004
  35. J. Crew Plants the Seeds for Gender Identity
  36. Emily J. Miller, AP calls Bradley Manning a ‘she’ and liberal media fall in line with PC agenda, The Washington Times, 29 August 2013
  37. CL Minou - Julie Bindel's dangerous transphobia, guardian.co.uk
  38. Prominent feminist espouses her bizarre "theory of transsexualism" in the book The Whole Woman (1999, 2000)
  39. Transmeditations Blog - A Transphobic Hate-Monger Comes to Boston: Sheila Jeffreys Given U.S. Platform at Wheelock College to Spread her Bigotry
  40. Feministe - Acts of Contrition: Feminism, Privilege, and the Legacy of Mary Daly
  41. Frankenstein, Necrophilia, and The Final Solution: How Transphobic Was Mary Daly, Really?
  42. Transgriot - Why The Trans Community Hates Dr. Janice G. Raymond
  43. Janice Raymond, The Transsexual Empire: the Making of the She-Male (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979).
  44. Cara, "Germaine Greer Paints a Portrait of Transphobic Feminism," Feministe, 2009 August 22.
  45. Julie Bindel, "Gender benders beware," The Guardian, 2004 January 30.
  46. Thompson, Sarah; Pond, Gina; Tanner, Philip; Omphalos, Calyxa; and Polanshek, Jacobo (2012) Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism. Circle of Cerridwen Press: Cupertino, California, USA. http://st4r.org/genderbook.pdf
  47. PantheaCon and Gender Matters…, Aedicula Antinoi, 26 February 2011
  48. In the comments section here
  49. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/11/the-link-between-autism-and-trans-identity/507509/