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Transmisogyny (sometimes trans-misogyny) is the intersection of transphobia and misogyny. Transphobia is defined as "the irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against transgender people".[1] Misogyny is defined as "a hatred of women".[2] Therefore, transmisogyny includes negative attitudes, hate, and discrimination of transgender individuals who fall on the feminine side of the gender spectrum, particularly transgender women. The term was coined by Julia Serano in her 2007 book Whipping Girl and used to describe the unique discrimination faced by trans women because of "the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to, and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity",[3][4][5] and the way that transphobia intensifies the misogyny faced by trans women (and vice versa).[3] It is said many trans women experience an additional layer of misogyny in the form of fetishization; Serano talks about how society views trans women in certain ways that sexualize them, such as them transitioning for sexual reasons, or ways where they’re seen as sexually promiscuous.[6] Transmisogyny is a central concept in transfeminism and is commonly referenced in intersectional feminist theory. That trans women's femaleness (rather than only their femininity) is a source of transmisogyny is denied by certain radical feminists, who claim that trans women are not female.[7]


Transmisogyny is generally understood to be caused by the social belief that men are superior to women. In Whipping Girl, Julia Serano writes that the existence of trans women is seen as a threat to a "male-centered gender hierarchy, where it is assumed that men are better than women and that masculinity is superior to femininity".[8] Gender theorist Judith Butler echoes this assumption, stating that the murder of transgender women is "an act of power, a way of re-asserting domination... killing establishes the killer as sovereign in the moment that he kills".[9]

Trans women are also viewed as threatening the heterosexuality of cisgender men. In media, "deceivers" such as Dil, a transgender woman from the 1992 film The Crying Game, have been observed to invoke outrage and male homophobia in an audience when their "true" maleness is unveiled.[10]

I think perhaps that if a trans woman flirts with a man who is straight, and that man feels humiliated or embarrassed (is that last word strong enough? maybe mortified), it is probably because he is identified by the trans man as someone with whom flirtation is possible, who could himself be involved with a trans woman or might himself be one. For some straight men, it may be possible to flirt back or to say, "thanks but no thanks," and for others, they reach for a gun. What accounts for those differences? I presume that the straight man who shoots the trans woman, he feels like he has been "attacked" by the flirtation. That is very crazy reasoning, but there is lots of craziness out there when it comes to gender identity and sexuality.

United States[edit]

In regard to health care, 55% of those who tried to receive coverage for transition-related surgery were denied. This can also be seen in the realm of education, where 77% of people who either are transgender or were perceived as transgender have received some form of mistreatment in schooling (K-12). The income level and poverty levels are both also 2-3x higher for transgender respondents. Discrimination has been found to be pervasive in many areas such as "housing, healthcare, employment, and education".[11]

However, due to transmisogyny, transgender women face even harsher levels of discrimination. A study on workplace experiences after people receive sex changes found that "average earnings for female-to-male transgender workers increase slightly following their gender transitions, while average earnings for male-to- female transgender workers fall by nearly one third. On top of this, the transition to female was found to accompany a loss of authority and an increase in harassment, whereas the opposite often brings authority and respect."[12] Another study confirmed that, especially amongst transgender women of color, there were increased levels of discrimination on the basis of transphobia and racism. This discrimination led to an increase in coping methods, and in turn, higher rates of depression.[13]


A study on discrimination of lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersex women in Ecuador found similar results. Transgender women "lack protection against discrimination in both law and practice." As a result, trans women have faced violence, sexual abuse, and discrimination in educational, health and workforce institutions.[14]


Julia Serano in Whipping Girl pointed out that transvestic fetishism, a disorder listed in the DSM-IV, only mentions cross dressing by men.[8] Similarly, autogynephillia was a recognised disorder in the DSM-IV, but autoandrophillia was not. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was revised in 2013 and transvestic fetishism and gender identity disorder were removed; transvestic disorder and gender dysphoria were the product of the revisions. Gender dysphoria is defined as being experienced by people who feel discongruent with their assigned gender at birth. The other addition to DSM-V regarding gender is transvestic disorder; in which a heterosexual male feels dissociation from his assigned gender because he derives pleasure from dressing in women's apparel.

There has been debate as to whether gender transition should be included in psychology.[15] "Gender transition processes are classified as mental disorders in diagnostic manuals"[16] Suess also explains how stigmatizes trans people as mentally unwell, and incapable. Communities such as STP (International Campaign Stop Trans Pathologization) argues that it has observed, "structural interrelations between dynamics of psychiatrization, discrimination, and transphobia and on acknowledgement of the negative effects that a psychiatric classification has on the citizenship of people".[16] Sonny Nordmarken states that, "The idea that trans people are mentally ill is institutionalized in psychiatric texts such as the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and thus also in medical and legal transition routes"[17] Sonny believes that when transgender people are placed in a psychology text, they are stigmatized as mentally ill, and thus increasing microaggressions and discrimination. A study by Schilt and Wiswall showed that in a workplace environment transitioning trans men were supported in incorporating them more into society; whereas transitions trans women were demoted or fired.[18][19] In the study microaggressions were noted by employers to transitioning trans women.

Sexual harassment[edit]

Julia Serano notes that, despite transitioning, trans women are still commonly perceived as male; however, they are rarely sexualized as such. In the porn industry, whose target audience is primarily heterosexual men, largely show trans women as sexual objects rather than "predatory".[8] Serano observes that when she is in a social environment where she is known to be transsexual, for example places where she performs spoken word poetry, she receives many more blatantly sexual comments than when in a similar setting where she is assumed to be cissexual.

Transitioning may or may not also include medical and legal aspects, including taking hormones, having surgery, or changing identity documents (e.g. driver’s license, Social Security record) to reflect one’s gender identity. Medical and legal steps are often difficult for people to afford."[20] Transgender people face many challenges in our society. What is being spoken out about now is Sexual Harassment. According to Stotzer (2009), There are currently three possible sources for information about the violence and harassment that transgender people experience: self-report surveys, hotline calls/ social service reports, and police reports.[21] Upon clinical research, It was "reported that: 50% of transgendered persons report unwanted sexual activity. Followed by another survey which concluded 59% reported a history of forced sex or rape. The above numbers are from data in 2006" (Stotzer, 2009).[22]

According to Laura Kacere (2014), "hate crimes against trans people are disproportionately and tragically high, and the majority of this violence victimizes trans women." According to a National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (2012), found that "transgender people across the U.S. experience three times more police violence than cisgender people. In fact, over half of all anti-LGBTQIA+ homicides were perpetrated against transgender women. Also speaking statistically, "it's important to note that nearly three-quarters of those homicides targeted people of Color" (Kacere, 2014).[23] According to Kacere (2014), “Transmisogyny is seen in violence as well- studies show that 1 in 5 transgender women (21%) has been incarcerated at some point in her life. This is far above the general population, and is even higher (47%) for Black transgender people.”[23]


Part of the cause may be that transgender women, by nature of their relative rarity, are viewed as "exotic"; however, this is not wholly the situation, as Julia Serano points out "there are plenty of types of women who are relatively rare, but they are not all sexualized in the same manner that trans women are".[8] In Whipping Girl, Serano writes on what she calls a "predator–prey dichotomy", where "men are invariably viewed as predators and women as prey". Because of this view, trans women are perceived to be luring men by transitioning and "turning [themselves] into sexual objects that no red-blooded man can resist".[8]

However, from a different viewpoint, "Transgender people face violence because of their gender nonconformity"[22] (Stotzer, 2009). The cause can stem from blaming victims of "Sexual Deception"[24] according to Bettcher (2007). Sexual assault on those who are transgender have been often been the recipients of victim-blaming (i.e. making it their own fault for being assaulted). In reality, an accurate portrayal of someone who is transgender can be described as "'Feeling like a girl trapped in a man's body' or vice versa"[24] (Bettcher, 2007, p. 44). According to Bettcher (2007), the unwillingness to disclose a sexual orientation when that person resides with a different gender within themselves is not wrong on the part of the individual, but the article states "discovering the true sex, had provoked the violent response brought on." Sexual harassment of transgender people has been fought against by activists to say that society should not excuse transphobic violence.[24] A sample was done, of that sample 14% reported being sexually assaulted in their lifetime,[25] according to a study done by Gender Violence (2008).  According to Stotzer (2009), studies showed that transgender people experience high levels of violence from attackers, and often the attacked face a lifetime of repeated victimization.[22]

Relation to transphobia[edit]

Transmisogyny is different than transphobia in that transmisogyny focuses on trans women in particular, whereas transphobia is a more general term, covering a broader spectrum of hate and discrimination towards any and/or all transsexual and transgender individuals. Julia Serano states in Whipping Girl that "When the majority of jokes made at the expense of trans people center on 'men wearing dresses' or 'men who want their penises cut off' that is not transphobia – it is transmisogyny. When the majority of violence and sexual assaults committed against trans people is directed at trans women, that is not transphobia – it is transmisogyny."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Merriam Webster [1]
  2. ^ Merriam Webster[2]
  3. ^ a b "Transmisogyny primer" (PDF). Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  4. ^ Harrison, Kelby (2013). Sexual deceit: the ethics of passing. Lexington Books. p. 12. ISBN 9780739177068.
  5. ^ Battis, edited by Jes (2011). Homofiles : theory, sexuality, and graduate studies. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739131916.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "William H. Hannon Library Proxy Server Authentication".
  7. ^ Jeffreys, Sheila (2014) Gender Hurts, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-53939-5, page 8.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping girl ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1580051545.
  9. ^ "Why Do Men Kill Trans Women? Gender Theorist Judith Butler Explains | Broadly". Broadly. 2015-12-16. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  10. ^ Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping girl ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1580051545.
  11. ^ "USTS Report". 2015 U.S. Trans Survey. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  12. ^ Schilt, Kristen (2008). "Before and After: Gender Transitions, Human Capital, and Workplace Experiences". The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. 8 (1): 1–28.
  13. ^ Kevin Jefferson; Torsten B. Neilands; Jae Sevelius (2013-11-29). "Transgender women of color: discrimination and depression symptoms". Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care. 6 (4): 121–136. doi:10.1108/EIHSC-08-2013-0013. ISSN 1757-0980. PMC 4205968. PMID 25346778.
  14. ^ Klein Rodriguez, Guayaquil Diane (2008). "Ecuador: Discrimination of Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex Women". IGLHRC-Comisión Internacional de los Derechos Humanos Para Gays y Lesbianas.
  15. ^ Davy, Zowie (2015-07-01). "The DSM-5 and the Politics of Diagnosing Transpeople". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 44 (5): 1165–1176. doi:10.1007/s10508-015-0573-6. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 26054486.
  16. ^ a b Suess, Amets; Espineira, Karine; Walters, Pau Crego (2014). "Depathologization" (PDF). Transgender Studies Quarterly. 1–2 (1–2): 73–77. doi:10.1215/23289252-2399812.
  17. ^ Nordmarken, Sonny (2014). "Microagressions" (PDF). Transgender Studies Quarterly. 1–2 (1–2): 129–134. doi:10.1215/23289252-2399812.
  18. ^ Schilt, Kristen (2010). "Just One of the Guys? Transgender Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality". Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  19. ^ Schilt, Kristen; Wiswall, Matthew (2008). "Before and After: Gender Transitions, Human Capital, and Workplace Experiences". The B.E. Journal of Economics and Policy. 8 (1): 1–28.
  20. ^ Grant, J. M., Mottet, L., Tanis, J. E., Harrison, J., Herman, J., & Keisling, M. (2011). "Injustice at every turn: A report of the national transgender discrimination survey". National Center for Transgender Equality.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ Stotzer, Rebecca L. (May 2009). "Violence against transgender people: A review of United States data". Aggression and Violent Behavior. 14 (3): 170–179. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2009.01.006. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  22. ^ a b c Stotzer, Rebecca L. (2009-05-01). "Violence against transgender people: A review of United States data". Aggression and Violent Behavior. 14 (3): 170–179. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2009.01.006.
  23. ^ a b "Transmisogyny 101: What It Is and What Can We Do About It - Everyday Feminism". Everyday Feminism. 2014-01-27. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  24. ^ a b c Bettcher, T.M (2007). Evil Deceivers and Make‐Believers: On Transphobic Violence and the Politics of Illusion. pp. 43–65.
  25. ^ PhD, Emilia L. Lombardi; Wilchins, Riki Anne; Esq, Dana Priesing; Malouf, Diana (2002-03-26). "Gender Violence". Journal of Homosexuality. 42 (1): 89–101. doi:10.1300/J082v42n01_05. ISSN 0091-8369. PMID 11991568.

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