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Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender or transsexual. 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 and at depictions of transgender people in the media that reinforce negative stereotypes about them.
Discrimination, including physical or sexual violence against trans people due to transphobia or homophobia, is a common occurrence for trans people. Every 3 days a murder of a trans person is reported, and many murders are believed to go unreported. 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."
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. 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
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. 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"). Anti-trans* bias crimes have been conceptually and characteristically distinguished from homophobic crimes in the scholarly research. 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.
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. 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).
U.S. hate crime laws covering 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 and Washington, D.C.).
The Matthew Shepard Act expanded the federal hate crime laws to include gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
- Gay bashing
- Hate crime
- Violence against LGBT people
- List of unlawfully killed transgender people
- Guilty plea over transsexual bashing By Mariza O'Keefe in Herald Sun
- Demagogues of defamation Gay: Where is the outrage when cable TV’s talking heads trash trans people?
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- "Two murder convictions in Araujo case", Zak Szymanski; Bay Area Reporter 15 September 2005.
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- HB 2661 - 2005-06: Expanding the jurisdiction of the human rights commission
- National Center for Transgender Equality: Hate crimes
- Human Rights Campaign: Mississippi Hate Crimes Law
- National Center for Transgender Equality, including information on hate crime laws in the United States
- Transgender victims in Massachusetts