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Graffiti in Berlin branding the Liebig 34 squatters as transmisogynists

Transmisogyny, otherwise known as trans-misogyny and transphobic misogyny, is the intersection of transphobia and misogyny as experienced by trans women and transfeminine people.[1][2] The term was coined by Julia Serano in her 2007 book Whipping Girl to describe a particular form of oppression experienced by trans women.[3][4][5] In an interview with The New York Times, Serano explores the roots of transmisogyny as a critique of feminine gender expressions which are "ridiculed in comparison to masculine interests and gender expression."[6]

Transmisogyny is a central concept in transfeminism and is commonly referenced in intersectional feminist theory. In her definition of transmisogyny, Serano does not limit those affected by transmisogyny to individuals who identify as transgender and includes others, such as cisgender people, and those who identify as drag queens.[7]


The concept of transmisogyny hinges on two other concepts first described by Serano: traditional sexism and oppositional sexism. The former is the idea that "maleness and masculinity are superior to femaleness and femininity", while the latter holds male and female as "rigid, mutually exclusive categories". Transmisogyny stems from both these concepts.[2]

In Whipping Girl, Julia Serano writes that the existence of trans women is seen as a threat to a "male-centered gender hierarchy".[8]: 15  Gender theorist Judith Butler echoes this assumption, stating that the murder of transgender women by men is "the most toxic form that masculinity can take", a way for the killer to assert power over the victim in the instant, in response to the idea of the intrinsic nature of his power (i.e., his masculinity) being threatened. Butler states that trans women have relinquished masculinity, showing that it is possible to do so.[9]


Transfeminists use the terms transmisogyny-affected (often shortened to the acronym TMA) and transmisogyny-exempt (often shortened to TME) to distinguish in a non-essentialist fashion between individuals' relationships with transmisogyny in a way that focuses on gender rather than gender expression or sex assignment.[10][11] Transmisogyny-affected refers to trans individuals who are aligned with womanhood and therefore affected by transmisogyny. Transmisogyny-exempt refers to anyone who is not marginalized by transmisogyny, a category which includes cis people as well as trans men and nonbinary people.[12]


United States[edit]

Transgender women face harsher levels of discrimination than some other transgender people. A study on workplace experiences after people receive sex changes found that trans women, on average, lose almost one third of their salary (see Gender pay gap in the United States), are respected less, and receive more harassment. At the same time, trans men often experience slight salary raises and greater authority in the workplace.[13]

According to Laura Kacere (2014), trans people experience a disproportionately large number of hate crimes, with trans women experiencing the majority of these crimes.[14] The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (2012) found that police violence is three times higher against transgender people than it is against cisgender people.[15] In fact, over half of all anti-LGBTQIA+ homicides were perpetrated against transgender women.[14] (See List of people killed for being transgender.) In the United States, the majority of transmisogyny is directed at trans women of color. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (2018) reports significant overlaps between the gender identity and race of anti-trans violence victims: of the known homicides of transgender people from 2013 to 2018, approximately 92% were trans women, and approximately 70% were black.[16] Kacere (2014) also states that 21% of transgender women and 47% of black transgender women have experienced incarceration, rates that are much higher than those for the overall U.S. population.[14]


A study of discrimination directed against lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersex women in Ecuador found that 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.[17]

The Netherlands[edit]

When transgender women are murdered, the victim being a trans woman is still often used as the justification for their murder.[18] According to Transgender Netwerk Nederland, at least 14% experience violence or credible threats [18] and are abused seven times more often than the average.[19] According to Dinah Bons from Trans United Europe, trans women often face harassment, violence, or threats of violence, but it is hard to get accurate statistics on the matter as there is severe hesitancy to report the crime[18] and the government is unwilling to track it as a statistic.[20] Bons also thinks the media does not cover the yearly murders of trans women.[18]

Sexualization and harassment[edit]

Julia Serano has stated that many trans women experience an additional layer of misogyny in the form of fetishization.[21] She 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, trans women are largely presented as sexual objects rather than "predatory".[8][page needed]

According to Serano, the sexualisation of trans women is not solely because transgender women, by nature of their relative rarity, are viewed as "exotic": she notes that trans women are sexualized particularly much even compared to other types of "rare" women.[8][page needed] In Whipping Girl, Serano writes on what she calls a "predator–prey dichotomy" where "men are invariably viewed as predators and women as prey."[8]: 255  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][page needed]

Transmisogynistic violence and harassment directed towards trans feminine individuals is often perpetrated by strangers rather than those known by the victim and oftentimes includes catcalling and other forms of verbal abuse.[22] Although some states have non-discrimination laws protecting transgender individuals, there is no federal law specifically designed to protect those who identify as transgender.[22]

Forming coalitions with trans activism is crucial to collectively challenge both ableism and transmisogyny.[23] Transmisogyny and ableism often intersect, resulting in unique challenges for trans disabled individuals who face compounded discrimination and marginalization.[24]

Relation to transphobia[edit]

Transmisogyny is a distinct category of transphobia in that transmisogyny mainly focuses on trans women and other transgender individuals who demonstrate femininity, whereas transphobia is a more general term, covering a broader spectrum of prejudice and discrimination towards transsexual and transgender individuals.[25] Julia Serano states in Whipping Girl that "[w]hen 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]: 14–15 

Serano gives an example of the discrimination that trans feminine individuals experience and how it differs from what she assumes is the experience of a trans masculine individual in a New York Times interview,

Once in San Francisco I saw a trans woman dressed like an average feminine woman walk past a straight couple on the street. The man turned to the woman and sneered "Did you see all that crap he's wearing?" He was referring to her dress and jewelry and makeup and all that. If a trans man had walked by, they might also have ridiculed him for being transgender. But I doubt very much they would have made fun of his masculine clothing.[26]

See also[edit]

  • Feminism – Range of socio-political movements and ideologies
  • Kyriarchy – In feminist theory, a social system based on oppression
  • TERF – Movement originating within radical feminism
  • Transmisogynoir – Term for misogyny toward black women


  1. ^ Kevin L. Nadal (2017). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender. SAGE Publications. pp. 1728–1731. ISBN 978-1-5063-5324-1. Archived from the original on 4 June 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Arayasirikul, Sean; Wilson, Erin C. (24 August 2019). "Spilling the T on Trans-Misogyny and Microaggressions: An Intersectional Oppression and Social Process Among Trans Women". Journal of Homosexuality. 66 (10): 1415–1438. doi:10.1080/00918369.2018.1542203. PMID 30475682. S2CID 53729580.
  3. ^ Krell, Elías Cosenza (2017). "Is Transmisogyny Killing Trans Women of Color?". TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. 4 (2): 226–242. doi:10.1215/23289252-3815033.
  4. ^ Serano, Julia. "Transmisogyny primer" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  5. ^ Harrison, Kelby (2013). Sexual deceit: the ethics of passing. Lexington Books. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7391-7706-8. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  6. ^ Carstensen, Caitlyn (22 June 2017). "Julia Serano, Transfeminist Thinker, Talks Transmisogyny". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Serano, Julia (2016). Outspoken: A Decade of Transgendered Activism and Trans Feminism. Switch Hitter Press. pp. 66–79.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Serano, Julia (2016). Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity. Basic Books. ISBN 978-1-58005-623-6. OCLC 944012152.
  9. ^ "Why Do Men Kill Trans Women? Gender Theorist Judith Butler Explains". Broadly. 16 December 2015. Archived from the original on 26 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  10. ^ Cavar, Sarah Lynn (7 May 2020). Enacting Transbutch: Queer Narratives Beyond Essentialism (Thesis). hdl:10166/5968.
  11. ^ Liashenko, Joshua (2022). Queering Care: Community Advocacy Among Trans Healthcare Professionals (Thesis). OCLC 1367493125.[page needed]
  12. ^ "Trans-Inclusive Language Guide".
  13. ^ Schilt, Kristen; Wiswall, Matthew (11 September 2008). "Before and After: Gender Transitions, Human Capital, and Workplace Experiences". The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. 8 (1). doi:10.2202/1935-1682.1862. S2CID 51580726.
  14. ^ a b c Kacere, Laura (27 January 2014). "Transmisogyny 101: What It Is and What Can We Do About It". Everyday Feminism. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  15. ^ National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (2013). "A Report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP): Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2012" (PDF). National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  16. ^ "A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America". HRC. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  17. ^ Almeida, Aline Britto de; Vásquez, Elizabeth; Rodríguez, Mónica; Klein, Guayaquil Dayane; Cordero, Tatiana Mendieta; Varea, Soledad (2008). "Ecuador: Discrimination of Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex Women" (PDF). CiteSeerX S2CID 154832726.
  18. ^ a b c d "Moord op transvrouw leidt tot Kamervragen: 'Dit geweld moet stoppen'". RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). 13 January 2022. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  19. ^ Lotens, Lisa (20 November 2018). "Transgender personen worden zeven keer vaker mishandeld dan gemiddeld". Vice (in Dutch). Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Kamervraag - De moorden op, geweld tegen en zelfdodingen door trans personen in Nederland". (in Dutch). Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  21. ^ Bianco, Marcie (September–October 2016). "A manifesto for all: Bisexual trans activist and author Julia Serano wants to make feminism inclusive" (PDF). Curve. Vol. 26, no. 5. pp. 28–29. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  22. ^ a b 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.
  23. ^ Slater, Jen; Liddiard, Kirsty (5 July 2018). "Why Disability Studies Scholars Must Challenge Transmisogyny and Transphobia". Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. 7 (2): 83–93. doi:10.15353/cjds.v7i2.424. ISSN 1929-9192.
  24. ^ Baril, Alexandre (November 2015). "Transness as Debility: Rethinking Intersections between Trans and Disabled Embodiments". Feminist Review. 111 (1): 59–74. doi:10.1057/fr.2015.21. ISSN 0141-7789.
  25. ^ How Fake "Experts" Are Driving the Campaign Against Trans People (Website), GenderGP, 13 September 2021, archived from the original on 6 December 2021, retrieved 6 December 2021
  26. ^ Carstensen, Caitlyn (22 June 2017). "Julia Serano, Transfeminist Thinker Talks Trans-Misogyny". The New York Times.

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