Trans bashing

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Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender or transsexual.[1] Unlike gay bashing, it is committed because of the target's actual or perceived gender identity, not sexual orientation. However, a trans person may be gay bashed if the person perceives them as gay rather than transgender. The term has also been applied to hate speech directed at transgender people[2] and at depictions of transgender people in the media that reinforce negative stereotypes about them.[3]

Discrimination, including physical or sexual violence against trans people due to transphobia or homophobia, is a common occurrence for trans people.[4][5][6] Every 3 days a murder of a trans person is reported,[7][dubious ] and many murders are believed to go unreported.[citation needed] Hate crimes against trans people are common even recently, and "in some instances, inaction by police or other government officials leads to the untimely deaths of transgender victims."[8]

One of the most famous incidents was the December 1993 rape and murder of Brandon Teena, a young trans man who was raped and murdered by two male friends after they found out that he had been assigned female at birth.[9] The events became internationally known when told in the feature film Boys Don't Cry, which earned Hilary Swank an Academy Award for best actress.

Differentiating trans bashing from gay bashing[edit]

At least since the Stonewall riots in 1969, people from the greater trans communities have often been politically aligned with the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities.[10] However, researchers and some activists from the greater trans communities argue trans bashing should be categorized separately from violence committed on the basis of sexual orientation ("gay-bashing").[8][11] Anti-trans bias crimes have been conceptually and characteristically distinguished from homophobic crimes in the scholarly research.[12] One argument is that conflating violence against trans peoples with violence against gay people erases the identities of people in the greater trans communities and the truth of what happens to them. However, campaigns against gay bashing and trans bashing are often seen as a common cause.[13]

In one case, perpetrators accused of hate crimes against trans people have tried to use a trans panic defense, an extension of gay panic defense.[14][15] The jury deadlocked, but there is evidence they rejected the trans-panic defense. One law journal provided an analysis of the trans-panic defense, arguing in part that the emotional premise of a trans panic defense (shock at discovering unexpected genitals) is different from the emotional premise of a gay panic defense (shock at being propositioned by a member of the same sex, perhaps because of one's repressed homosexuality).[16]

Laws covering gender identity[edit]


The United Nations adopted their Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 as the first global declaration of human rights.[17] There are a number of articles in the declaration that have been suggested to specifically pertain to transgender people and violence (including, but not limited to, physical, psychological, legal, systemic, emotional, and political violence), although LGBT rights are not explicitly outlined in the document.

  • Article 2 entitles individuals to all of the rights and freedoms set forth in the declaration "without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status".
  • Article 5 states that "[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
  • Article 7 states that "[a]ll are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination".
  • Article 9 bans "arbitrary arrest, detention or exile" (which, according to Article 2, is protected from distinction based on identity or belief).
  • Article 20 states that "[e]veryone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."[18]

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

Current U.S. LGBT hate crimes laws by state. A national hate crimes law encompasses both sexual orientation and gender identity.
  Sexual orientation and gender identity recognized in state hate crimes law
  Sexual orientation recognized in state hate crimes law
  Sexual orientation recognized for data collection about hate crimes
  State hate crimes law uninclusive of sexual orientation or gender identity

In the United States, currently ten states plus the District of Columbia have hate crime laws protecting people victimized on the basis of their gender identity (they are Hawaii, California, Connecticut, New Mexico, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington state[19] and Washington, D.C.).[20][21]

In the late 2000s in Seattle's gay village of Capitol Hill, there was evidence of an increase in incidents of trans bashing.[22]

The Matthew Shepard Act expanded the federal hate crime laws to include gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Bathroom bills[edit]

Bathroom bills are bills proposed with relation to bathroom access and gender identity.[23] In a survey done by Jody L. Herman at the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School, 70% of the transgender respondents had faced some sort of the following types of discrimination when attempting to use a restroom of their gender identity: “denial of access to facilities, verbal harassment, and physical assault.” [24] There have been a number of bills proposed in the United States intended to limit access to restrooms for those who do not identify with the sex on their birth certificate.

A 2013 proposed amendment to Arizona bill S.B.1432 would have allowed police to demand identification from anyone suspected of using the 'wrong' public bathrooms or showers, meaning the facilities assigned to the sex not matching the sex on their birth certificate. If found guilty, a person would have been subject to up to 6 months in jail and a $2500 fine under a disorderly conduct charge.[25][26]

A bill in Kentucky was proposed in 2015 that would allow students to sue their school if they encountered transgender students using their gender identifying bathroom.[27][28] The proposed bill S.B. 76 would allow transgender students to request special accommodations, including single-stall or faculty restrooms, but would not allow them to use public facilities.[27]

A bill introduced to the Texas House of Representatives in March 2015 proposes to award any student in a school who can prove that another student who does not identify with their "biological sex" was using a public facility at the same time damage reparations in the form of $2000 for any "mental anguish" that may have been caused them. The school itself would also be liable for any knowledge of a transgender student using their gender identified restroom and for failing to take action against said use.[29][30] Another bill, introduced to the Texas House in February 2015, suggests that anyone over the age of 13 years old found to be in a public restroom of a gender not their own should be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, spend up to a year in jail, and face a $4000 fine.[31] Under this proposed bill, building managers who repeatedly and knowingly allow transgender individuals to use the facility of their gender identity would also face a fine of up to $10,000.[32]

In Colorado, in February 2015, a bill died in committee that proposed banning transgender people from using changing rooms of their gender identity.[33] This bill would have prevented discrimination lawsuits against facility managers who chose to deny entry into facilities to transgender people.

A proposed bill in Florida would make it illegal for transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity in restaurants, workplaces, or schools. The consequences would be up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The representative pushing H.B. 583, Rep. Frank Artiles, says that, under laws protecting transgender use of restrooms, "A man such as myself can walk into the bathroom at LA Fitness while women are taking showers, changing, and simply walk in there," and claims that this bill will protect against cases such as that.[34][35][36]

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network has found that singling trans students out by offering them alternative facility options may actually increase their chances of disengaging from school or dropping out entirely.[31][37] Some of these bills were justified with the rationale that they are written to protect cisgender people using their identified public facilities from violent acts committed by cisgender people of another gender entering their facilities claiming to identify as transgender. There has been no evidence thus far of any incidences of this.[35][38][39]



Malta passed the 'Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sex Characteristics Act in 2015. This bill states that all citizens of Malta have the right to

  1. The recognition of their gender identity;
  2. The free development of their person according to their gender identity;
  3. Be treated according to their gender identity and, particularly, to be identified in that way in the documents providing their identity therein; and
  4. Bodily integrity and physical autonomy.[40]

This act protects the gender identity of a person at all times. It also states that "person shall not be required to provide proof of a surgical procedure for total or partial genital reassignment, hormonal therapies or any other psychiatric, psychological or medical treatment to make use of the right to gender identity." The act allows parents to postpone listing gender on a child's birth certificate and prohibits “non-medically necessary treatments on the sex characteristics of a person.”[40][41]

In the media[edit]

Media can contribute to trans bashing through misinformation and scare tactics. A public example of this is the attention paid to the transition of Chelsea Manning, a transgender U.S. Army soldier currently in prison for releasing classified documents to WikiLeaks.[42] A story on Manning's transition on Fox News was introduced with the Aerosmith song "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", while host Gretchen Carlson referred to Chelsea by her birth name, Brandon, mocking the New York Times for "helping him" by using her preferred gender pronoun.[43] While in prison, the Army has refused her request to grow her hair long like other female prisoners and continued to refer to her as 'Brandon' "to avoid confusion" until a court mandate to refer to her by her preferred gender pronoun.[44] On February 5, 2015, Manning became the first member of the United States Army to have hormone treatment approved by the army.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guilty plea over transsexual bashing By Mariza O'Keefe in Herald Sun
  2. ^ Demagogues of defamation Gay: Where is the outrage when cable TV’s talking heads trash trans people?
  3. ^ McNamara, Mary (2001-02-08). "Transgender Artists, Work Gaining Acceptance". Los Angeles Times. 
  4. ^ Trans Health Project: A position paper and resolution adopted by the Ontario Public Health Association
  5. ^ Hill, D.B. (2001). Genderism, transphobia, and gender bashing: A framework for interpreting anti-transgender violence. In B. Wallace, & R. Carter (Eds.). A multicultural approach for understanding and dealing with violence: A handbook for psychologists and educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.
  6. ^ Namaste, V.K. (2000a). Invisible lives: The erasure of transsexual and transgendered people. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b Frye, Phyllis (Fall 2000). "The International Bill of Gender Rights vs. The Cide House Rules: Transgenders struggle with the courts over what clothing they are allowed to wear on the job, which restroom they are allowed to use on the job, their right to marry, and the very definition of their sex". William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law 7: 139–145. 
  9. ^ Ramsland, Katherine. "Teena Brandon". TruTV. p. 5. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  10. ^ Kay Dayus, Transgenders Protest HRC Exec's Visit to Houston, Hous. Voice, Sept. 29, 2000
  11. ^ Discrimination and Hate Crimes Against Gender Variant People, It's Time Illinois . . . Political Action for the Gender Variant Community (May 2000)
  12. ^ Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes: The Challenge for Law Enforcement, at
  13. ^ 'Zero tolerance for gay-trans bashing': Protests mount
  14. ^ Transpeople: Repudiation, Trauma, Healing by Christopher A. Shelley.
  15. ^ "Two murder convictions in Araujo case", Zak Szymanski; Bay Area Reporter 15 September 2005.
  16. ^ Steinberg, Victoria L. (Spring 2005). "A Heat of Passion Offense: Emotions and Bias in "Trans Panic" Mitigation Claims: Hiding From Humanity". Boston College Third World Law Journal 25. 
  17. ^ "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights". 
  18. ^ "About LGBT Human Rights". Amnesty International. 
  19. ^ HB 2661 - 2005-06: Expanding the jurisdiction of the human rights commission
  20. ^ National Center for Transgender Equality: Hate crimes
  21. ^ Human Rights Campaign: Mississippi Hate Crimes Law
  22. ^ Holt, Emily. "Gentrification ousting local gay community". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2011. 
  23. ^ Sprigg, Peter. ""Gender Identity" Protections ("Bathroom Bills")". Family Research Council. Family Research Council. 
  24. ^ Herman, Jody. "Williams Institute" (PDF). Williams Institute. 
  25. ^ Kavanagh, John. "PROPOSED HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AMENDMENTS TO S.B. 1432". Arizona Legislature. 
  26. ^ Strupp, Julie (March 24, 2013). "Arizona Transgender Bathroom Bill: Let Us Pee Without Showing ID". 
  27. ^ a b Wynn, Mike (March 1, 2015). "Transgender Bathroom Bill Passes Ky Senate". 
  28. ^ "SB 76: 2015 Regular Session. Friday, February 27th, 2015" (PDF). Kentucky Legislature. 
  29. ^ Brydumm, Sunnivie (March 10, 2015). "Texas Doubles Down on Transphobic Legislation, Adding $2,000 Fine for 'Wrong' Bathroom Use". Advocate. 
  30. ^ "H.B. No. 2801" (PDF). 
  31. ^ a b Kellaway, Mitch (February 24, 2015). "Texas Bill Would Jail Those Whose Chromosomes Don't Match the Restroom They're Using". Advocate. 
  32. ^ "H.B 1748". Texas Legislature. 
  33. ^ Marcus, Peter. "Transgender bill shot down". Durango Herald. Durango Herald. 
  34. ^ "HB 583". Florida House of Representatives. 
  35. ^ a b Bixby, Scott. "This Lawmaker Wants to Make It Illegal for Transgender People to Use Bathrooms". Mic. 
  36. ^ Ford, Zack. "Florida Lawmaker Wants To Criminalize Transgender Bathroom Use For ‘Public Safety’". Think Progress. 
  37. ^ "Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation" (PDF). Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. GLSEN. 
  38. ^ Maza, Carlos. "Debunking The Big Myth About Transgender-Inclusive Bathrooms". Media Matters for America. 
  39. ^ Brinker, Luke. "One Month Later: How California's Transgender Student Law Is Affecting Public Schools". Equality Matters. 
  40. ^ a b "Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (Malta, 2015)". Transgender Europe. 
  41. ^ "Gender Identity, Gender Expression And Sex Characteristics Act". Social Dialogue Malta. 
  42. ^ Tate, Julie (August 21, 2013). "Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in WikiLeaks case". Washington Post. Washington Post. 
  43. ^ "'Fox & Friends' Chelsea Manning Segment Introduced With Aerosmith's 'Dude (Looks Like A Lady)' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 
  44. ^ "". Huffington Post. March 5, 2015. 
  45. ^ Tom, Vanden Brook. "Military approves hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning". USA Today. USA Today. 

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