Trans bashing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person emotionally, physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender.[1] 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] Trans and non-binary gender adolescents can experience bashing in the form of bullying and harassment.[4] When compared to their cisgender peers, trans and non-binary gender youth are at increased risk for victimization, which has been shown to increase their risk of substance abuse.[5]

Discrimination, including physical or sexual violence against trans people due to transphobia or homophobia, is a common occurrence for trans people.[6][7][8] 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."[9]

An infamous incident was the December 1993 rape and murder of Brandon Teena, a young trans man, by two male friends after they found out that he had been assigned female at birth.[10] These events gained international attention after being depicted in the film Boys Don't Cry (1999), which earned Hilary Swank an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Differentiation from gay bashing[edit]

Unlike gay bashing, trans bashing is committed because of the target's actual or perceived gender identity, not sexual orientation.[dubious ] However, a trans person may be gay bashed if the person perceives them as gay rather than transgender.[citation needed]

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.[11] 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").[9][12] Anti-trans bias crimes have been conceptually and characteristically distinguished from homophobic crimes in the scholarly research.[13] 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 having a common cause.[14]

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.[15][16] 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).[17]

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.[18] 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."[19]

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 seventeen states plus the District of Columbia have hate crime laws protecting people victimized on the basis of their gender identity (they are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C.).[20]

In the late 2000s in Seattle's gay village of Capitol Hill, there was evidence of an increase in incidents of trans bashing.[21]

The Matthew Shepard Act expanded the federal hate crime laws to include gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. In order to qualify as a federal hate crime in the United States, the crime must include successful or attempted bodily injury due to the use of firearm, explosives, weapons, fire, or incendiary devices.[22] Hate crimes are covered by state, rather than federal laws unless the victim or defendant travel across state lines or national borders; using an interstate commuting route; the weapon has been brought across state lines; or if the conduct interferes with or otherwise affects commerce across state lines.[22] This means that, unless hate crimes under the federal definition occur in a way that does not just affect one state, states have the freedom to implement their own hate crime laws. The protections of these laws range widely. Pennsylvania, for example, has not included gender identity in their hate crime protections since it was rescinded from the law in 2008.[23]

'Bathroom bills' to enforce gendered bathroom use[edit]

Bathroom bills are bills proposed with relation to bathroom access and gender identity.[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. Some of these bills are justified with the rationale of protecting cisgender women from violent acts committed by cisgender men entering their facilities under the pretense of identifying as transgender women, although there is no evidence thus far of any incidences of this.[25][26][27]

Some transgender people are content, and may even prefer, using gender-neutral bathrooms, but others expect the right to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network found that singling out trans students by offering them alternative facility options may backfire by increasing their chances of disengaging from school or dropping out entirely.[28]

Harassment of transgender people in bathrooms[edit]

It is transgender people who are likely to be harassed in bathrooms by cisgender people, not the other way around. In one survey, 70 percent of the transgender respondents had faced discrimination when attempting to use a restroom of their gender identity, including "denial of access to facilities, verbal harassment, and physical assault."[29] An example of such harassment occurred in 2018, when California Republican Congressional candidate Jazmina Saavedra said she heard the "voice of a man" from a locked stall in the women's restroom of a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles and filmed herself chasing the person out of the restaurant with assistance from the restaurant manager. In the video, Saavedra said she was prepared to use pepper spray and a stungun against the transgender woman.[30] This kind of tactic can result in public outing of a transgender person's current or former gender identity.

One survey of transgender populations conducted in Washington, DC, by the group DC Trans Coalition, "found that 70 percent of survey respondents report experiencing verbal harassment, assault, and being denied access to public toilets."[31] It also found that "54 percent of all respondents reported having some sort of physical problem from trying to avoid using public toilets, such as dehydration, kidney infections, and urinary tract infections" making access to safe restrooms a public health issue.[31][32]

On February 23, 2020, a restaurant patron in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico made a police report that a transgender woman had entered the women's bathroom. Police arrived at the restaurant and spoke to the transgender woman. Someone filmed the police interaction and posted the video to social media. Later that day, the transgender woman—Alexa Negrón Luciano, also known as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz—was murdered.[33]



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.[34]

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.”[34][35]

In the media[edit]

Media can contribute to trans bashing through misinformation and scare tactics. Transgender individuals are oftentimes misrepresented negatively in media, or not represented in media at all. Transgender individuals may be portrayed in the media as curiosities or oddities, as mentally unstable persons, and/ or as predators.[36] A public example of this is the attention paid to the transition of Chelsea Manning, a transgender U.S. Army soldier imprisoned for releasing classified documents to WikiLeaks.[37] A Fox News story on Manning's transition was introduced with the Aerosmith song "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)", while host Gretchen Carlson referred to Chelsea by her birth name, Bradley, mocking The New York Times for "helping him" by using Manning's preferred gender pronoun.[38] The Army refused to let her grow her hair as long as female prisoners, and continued referring to her as Bradley "to avoid confusion" until a court mandated her preferred gender pronouns.[39]

Trans health[edit]

According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care (NTDSR), which surveyed 6,450 transgender and gender non-conforming people, people who do not identify with their birth sex face obstacles to getting healthcare and have a greater likelihood of facing health issues related to their gender identity.[40]

Mental health[edit]

Transgender people experience greater mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as physical health disparities (e.g., cardiovascular disease).[41] Trans people also have a higher rate of suicide attempts than the population as a whole.[42] In 2013, the 2.2% of U.S. adults had attempted suicide[43] while 41% of trans people had attempted suicide in 2011.[40] The rate of attempted suicide in transgender individuals increased to 51% for those bullied or harassed in school, 55% for those who recently lost a job due to bias, and 61% and 64% for those who were victims of physical and sexual assault, respectively.[40] Low self-esteem in transgender people has been linked to being at high-risk for HIV transmission.[44][45] In 2008, the rate of HIV in transgender women in North America was 27.7%.[46]

Access to healthcare[edit]

In the 2010 and 2011 NTDSRs, 19% of the people surveyed reported having been refused medical care due to their gender identity and 50% reported lack of provider knowledge of transgender health needs.[40][47] Under the Affordable Care Act, it is illegal for any health program receiving federal funding to discriminate based on gender identity. Discrimination includes refusal to admit, treat or provide any services that are available for other patients; subjection of patients to intrusive examination; harass or refuse to respond to harassment by other staff or patients; refusal to provide support services; obligation to participate in conversion therapy; and any sort of interference in the pursuit of health care rights.[48]

Racial disparities[edit]

Race has been shown to compound manifestations of existing discrimination on the basis of gender identity.[40][47] Black trans women have the highest suicide rate of any other group in the United States, at almost half attempting in their lives, while cisgender black women attempt suicide at a rate of 1.7% on average.[49] Trans students of color face higher rates of harassment and violence in schools.[40] American Indian transgender students face the highest rates of sexual assault in school at 24%, followed by multiracial (18%), Asian (17%), and black (15%) students. White transgender students face a 9% rate of sexual assault in K–12.[40] Black trans women have a higher rate of HIV infection than other groups, with a 30.8–56.3% rate, versus 27.7% of MTF transgender people on average.[46]

Police and incarceration[edit]

In the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 22% of respondents who had interacted with the police reported harassment due to bias. 20% reported denial of equal services. 48% reported being uncomfortable asking for police assistance. Respondents who had served time in jail reported a higher rate of harassment by officers than by others in jail. For all respondents, 7% reported being held in a jail cell solely due to gender identity expression, while this number was 41% for black and 21% for Latino trans respondents.[40] Transgender people have reported being refused medical care, particularly hormone therapy, in prison, with black trans people and American Indian trans people with the highest reporting rates.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Guilty plea over transsexual bashing Archived 2008-05-02 at the Wayback Machine By Mariza O'Keefe in Herald Sun
  2. ^ "Page not found - Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights". Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights. Archived from the original on 2012-03-11. Retrieved 2007-11-28. Cite uses generic title (help)
  3. ^ McNamara, Mary (2001-02-08). "Transgender Artists, Work Gaining Acceptance". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Reisner, Sari L.; Greytak, Emily A.; Parsons, Jeffrey T.; Ybarra, Michele (2015). "Gender Minority Social Stress in Adolescence: Disparities in Adolescent Bullying and Substance Use by Gender Identity". Journal of Sex Research. 52 (3): 243–256. doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.886321. ISSN 0022-4499. PMC 4201643. PMID 24742006.
  5. ^ Reisner, Sari L.; Greytak, Emily A.; Parsons, Jeffrey T.; Ybarra, Michele (2015). "Gender Minority Social Stress in Adolescence: Disparities in Adolescent Bullying and Substance Use by Gender Identity". Journal of Sex Research. 52 (3): 243–256. doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.886321. ISSN 0022-4499. PMC 4201643. PMID 24742006.
  6. ^ "2003-06_pp.pdf" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-05-18. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Namaste, V.K. (2000a). Invisible lives: The erasure of transsexual and transgendered people. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Ramsland, Katherine. "Teena Brandon". TruTV. p. 5. Archived from the original on 2013-12-14. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  11. ^ Kay Dayus, Transgenders Protest HRC Exec's Visit to Houston, Hous. Voice, Sept. 29, 2000
  12. ^ Discrimination and Hate Crimes Against Gender Variant People, It's Time Illinois . . . Political Action for the Gender Variant Community (May 2000)
  13. ^ Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes: The Challenge for Law Enforcement, at Archived 2011-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Workers World Oct. 8, 1998: Zero tolerance for gay-trans bashing". Archived from the original on 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
  15. ^ Transpeople: Repudiation, Trauma, Healing Archived 2015-09-26 at the Wayback Machine by Christopher A. Shelley.
  16. ^ "Two murder convictions in Araujo case" Archived 2009-02-01 at the Wayback Machine, Zak Szymanski; Bay Area Reporter 15 September 2005.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights". Archived from the original on 2015-03-17. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  19. ^ "About LGBT Human Rights". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  20. ^ "Hate Crime Laws". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  21. ^ Holt, Emily. "Gentrification ousting local gay community". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  22. ^ a b "18 U.S. Code § 249 (a)(2) (a) – "Hate Crime Acts"" (PDF). Government Publishing Office. Government Publishing Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  23. ^ Giampolo, Angela (29 September 2014). "Changing the State of Hate Crime-Laws in Philadelphia". The Legal Intelligencer. The Legal Intelligencer. Archived from the original on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  24. ^ Sprigg, Peter. ""Gender Identity" Protections ("Bathroom Bills")". Family Research Council. Family Research Council. Archived from the original on 2015-04-11. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  25. ^ Bixby, Scott. "This Lawmaker Wants to Make It Illegal for Transgender People to Use Bathrooms". Mic. Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  26. ^ Maza, Carlos. "Debunking The Big Myth About Transgender-Inclusive Bathrooms". Media Matters for America. Archived from the original on 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  27. ^ Brinker, Luke. "One Month Later: How California's Transgender Student Law Is Affecting Public Schools". Equality Matters. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  28. ^ "Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation" (PDF). Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. GLSEN. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  29. ^ Herman, Jody. "Williams Institute" (PDF). Williams Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-11-22. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  30. ^ Broverman, Neal (17 May 2018). "Trump Supporter Broadcasts Live as She Chases Trans Woman Out of Bathroom". The Advocate. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  31. ^ a b Herman, Jody (June 2013). "Gendered Restrooms and Minority Stress: The Public Regulation of Gender and Its Impact on Transgender People's Lives" (PDF). Journal of Public Management & Social Policy. 19 (1). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 22, 2016.
  32. ^ Penner, Barbara. Bathroom. Reaktion Books, 2013.
  33. ^ Kaur, Harmeet; Rivera, Rafy (29 February 2020). "A transgender woman's brutal murder has shocked Puerto Rico and renewed a conversation about transphobia". CNN. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  34. ^ a b "Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (Malta, 2015)". Transgender Europe. Archived from the original on 2015-04-07. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  35. ^ "Gender Identity, Gender Expression And Sex Characteristics Act". Social Dialogue Malta. Archived from the original on 2015-04-08. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
  36. ^ Panfil, Vanessa (June 11, 2015). ""Don't Talk To Me About Deception": The Necessary Erosion of the Trans* Panic Defense". Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  37. ^ Tate, Julie (August 21, 2013). "Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in WikiLeaks case". Washington Post. Washington Post. Archived from the original on December 13, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2017.
  38. ^ "'Fox & Friends' Chelsea Manning Segment Introduced With Aerosmith's 'Dude (Looks Like A Lady)' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 27 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  39. ^ "". Huffington Post. March 5, 2015. Archived from the original on March 8, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i Harrison, Jack. "Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey" (PDF). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-06. Retrieved 2015-04-28.
  41. ^ "EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page". Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  42. ^ "Statistics about Youth Suicide". Youth Suicide Prevention Program. Youth Suicide Prevention Program. Archived from the original on 2015-04-29.
  43. ^ "Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempts". Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Archived from the original on 2015-04-26. Retrieved 2015-04-28.
  44. ^ Sugano, E (2006). "The impact of exposure to transphobia on HIV risk behavior in a sample of transgender women of color in San Francisco". AIDS and Behavior. 10 (2): 215–225. doi:10.1007/s10461-005-9040-z. PMID 16362237. S2CID 6642842.
  45. ^ Bockting, W (2001). "Transgender HIV prevention: Community involvement and empowerment". Transgender and HIV: Risks, Prevention, and Care: 119–144.
  46. ^ a b Herbst, J (2008). "Estimating HIV prevalence and risk behaviors of Male-to-Female transgender persons in the United States: A systematic review" (PDF). AIDS and Behavior. 12 (1): 1–17. doi:10.1007/s10461-007-9299-3. PMID 17694429. S2CID 22946778.
  47. ^ a b Grant, Jaime. "National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care" (PDF). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2015-04-28.
  48. ^ "Know Your Rights Health Care". Trans Equality. Trans Equality. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  49. ^ "Facts and Figures". American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.

External links[edit]