Jump to content

Violence against transgender people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A 2021 Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial in Radcliffe Square, Oxford.

Violence against transgender people includes emotional, physical, sexual, or verbal violence targeted towards transgender people.[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 victimisation, which has been shown to increase their risk of substance abuse.[4]

Institutional discrimination against trans people due to transphobia or homophobia is a common occurrence for trans people.[5][6][7] Hate crimes against trans people are common, and "in some instances, inaction by police or other government officials leads to the untimely deaths of transgender victims."[8] Protections against violence for transgender people vary by jurisdiction.

Differentiation from gay bashing[edit]

Unlike gay bashing, anti-trans violence is committed because of the target's actual or perceived gender identity or gender expression, not sexual orientation.

Protest at London for transgender rights with flag reading, "No More Trans Death" on the transgender flag

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.[9] 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][10] Anti-trans bias crimes have been conceptually and characteristically distinguished from homophobic crimes in the scholarly research.[11] 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.[12]

In the murder case of Gwen Araujo, the perpetrators accused of hate crimes against her tried to use a trans panic defense, an extension of the gay panic defense.[13][14] 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).[15]

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.[16] 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."[17]


Transgender rights are legally protected by the law of Pakistan via the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2018 which prohibits discrimination and violence against trans people in the country.[18]

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, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Utah, Washington, and Washington, D.C.).[19]

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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[21]

By country[edit]


United States[edit]

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

'Bathroom bills' to enforce gendered bathroom use[edit]
Students protest over anti-transgender bill in Iowa, 11 March 2022

Bathroom bills are bills proposed with relation to bathroom access and gender identity.[23] 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 instances of this.[24][25][26]

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 & 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.[27] Using bathrooms that are incongruent with the gender one presents as breaks social norms while following laws, and one study found that cisgender people report discomfort at the incongruous appearance between someone's gender presentation and the bathroom they're in even when the bathroom matches their assigned sex. [28]

Harassment of transgender people in bathrooms[edit]

Transgender people are more likely to be harassed in bathrooms by cisgender people than vice versa. 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."[29] 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.[29][31]

On 23 February 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.[32]



In 2018, a transgender woman was killed by a mob in Hyderabad, India, following false WhatsApp rumors that transgender women were sex trafficking children. Three other transgender women were injured in the attack.[33]


Despite having legal protections, trans people in Pakistan continue to be targets of violence.[34] Between 2015 and September 2020, 68 transgender people were killed in Pakistan, and 1,500 were sexually assaulted in multiple incidents. In 2018, transgender people reportedly experienced 479 violence incidents in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[35]

In 2019, Amnesty International published a report indicated Shama, a transgender journalist, was raped by nine men in one of Pakistan's cities, Peshawar.[36]

In September 2020, a prominent transgender activist Gul Panra, was shot six times.[37][38] Nayyab Ali was allegedly sexually assaulted and attacked by acid as a result of her being transgender.[39]


United Kingdom[edit]

Hate crimes against transgender people in England, Scotland and Wales, as recorded by police, increased 81% from the 2016–17 fiscal year (1,073 crimes) to the 2018–19 fiscal year (1,944 crimes).[40]

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, as predators or as thieves.[41] 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.[42] 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 deadname, mocking The New York Times for "helping him" by using Manning's preferred gender pronoun.[43] The Army refused to let her grow her hair as long as female prisoners, and continued referring to her using her deadname so as "to avoid confusion" until a court mandated her correct gender pronouns.[44]

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.[45]

Mental health[edit]

Transgender people experience greater mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders,[46] and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as physical health disparities (e.g., cardiovascular disease[47]). From The 2015 National Transgender Survey Report out of 27,715 respondents "forty-eight percent (48%) have seriously thought about killing themselves in the past year, compared to 4% of the U.S. population, and 82% have had serious thoughts about killing themselves at some point in their life."[48] Trans people also have a higher rate of suicide attempts than the population as a whole.[49] In 2013, 2.2% of U.S. adults had attempted suicide[50] while 41% of trans people had attempted suicide at some point in their life in 2011.[45] 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.[45] Low self-esteem in transgender people has been linked to being at high-risk for HIV transmission.[51][52] In 2008, the rate of HIV in transgender women in North America was 27.7%.[53]

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.[45][54] 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.[55]

Racial disparities[edit]

Race has been shown to compound manifestations of existing discrimination on the basis of gender identity.[45][54] 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.[56] Trans students of color face higher rates of harassment and violence in schools.[45] 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.[45] 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.[53]

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.[45] 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.[45]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Keefe, Mariza (17 November 2006). "Guilty plea over transsexual bashing". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Demagogues of Defamation". Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  3. ^ McNamara, Mary (8 February 2001). "Transgender Artists, Work Gaining Acceptance". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ a b Reisner, Sari L.; Greytak, Emily A.; Parsons, Jeffrey T.; Ybarra, Michele L. (24 March 2015). "Gender Minority Social Stress in Adolescence: Disparities in Adolescent Bullying and Substance Use by Gender Identity". The Journal of Sex Research. 52 (3): 243–256. doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.886321. PMC 4201643. PMID 24742006.
  5. ^ "Trans Health Project: A position paper and resolution adopted by the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2004.
  6. ^ Hill, D.B. (2001). "Genderism, transphobia, and gender bashing: A framework for interpreting anti-transgender violence". In Wallace, B.; Carter, R. (eds.). A multicultural approach for understanding and dealing with violence: A handbook for psychologists and educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing.[page needed]
  7. ^ Namaste, V.K. (2000a). Invisible lives: The erasure of transsexual and transgendered people. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  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. ^ Kay Dayus, Transgenders Protest HRC Exec's Visit to Houston, Hous. Voice, 29 September 2000
  10. ^ Discrimination and Hate Crimes Against Gender Variant People, It's Time Illinois . . . Political Action for the Gender Variant Community (May 2000)
  11. ^ Gorton, Donald (2011). "Anti-Transgender Hate Crimes: The Challenge for Law Enforcement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 August 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Workers World Oct. 8, 1998: Zero tolerance for gay-trans bashing". www.workers.org. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  13. ^ Shelley, Christopher A (January 2008). Transpeople: Repudiation, Trauma, Healing. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802095398. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015.
  14. ^ Szymanski, Zak (15 September 2005). "Two murder convictions in Araujo case". Bay Area Reporter. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights". United Nations. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  17. ^ "About LGBT Human Rights". amnestyusa.org. Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 10 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  18. ^ "The Transgender Persons" (PDF). na.gov.pk.
  19. ^ "Hate Crime Laws". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  20. ^ a b "18 U.S. Code § 249 (a)(2) (a) – "Hate Crime Acts"" (PDF). Government Publishing Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  21. ^ 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.
  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. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  24. ^ Bixby, Scott (10 February 2015). "This Lawmaker Wants to Make It Illegal for Transgender People to Use Bathrooms". Mic. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  25. ^ Maza, Carlos. "Debunking The Big Myth About Transgender-Inclusive Bathrooms". Media Matters for America. Archived from the original on 31 March 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  26. ^ Brinker, Luke. "One Month Later: How California's Transgender Student Law Is Affecting Public Schools". Equality Matters. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  27. ^ Greytak, Emily A.; Kosciw, Joseph G.; Diaz, Elizabeth M. (2009). Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation's. Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network. ISBN 978-1-934092-06-4. ERIC ED505687.[page needed]
  28. ^ Platt, Lisa F.; Milam, Sarah R. B. (1 September 2018). "Public Discomfort with Gender Appearance-Inconsistent Bathroom Use: The Oppressive Bind of Bathroom Laws for Transgender Individuals". Gender Issues. 35 (3): 181–201. doi:10.1007/s12147-017-9197-6. ISSN 1936-4717. S2CID 148714390. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  29. ^ a b c Herman, Jody L (Spring 2013). "Gendered Restrooms and Minority Stress: The Public Regulation of Gender and its Impact on Transgender People's Lives". Journal of Public Management & Social Policy. 19 (1): 65–80. ProQuest 1439085659.
  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. ^ Penner, Barbara. Bathroom. Reaktion Books, 2013.[page needed]
  32. ^ 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 1 March 2020.
  33. ^ Suri, Manveena (28 May 2018). "Indian mob kills transgender woman over fake rumors spread on WhatsApp". CNN. Archived from the original on 30 October 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  34. ^ "Transgender people targeted in fatal Karachi attack". www.aljazeera.com.
  35. ^ "Transgender woman Gul Panra shot dead, friend wounded in Peshawar". www.thenews.com.pk.
  36. ^ "With Transgender Rights, Pakistan has an Opportunity to be a Pathbreaker". www.amnesty.org. 22 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Transgender activist shot dead in Peshawar". 9 September 2020.
  38. ^ "Pakistan: Transgender activist shot dead in Peshawar, netizens demand #JusticeforGulPanra". Pakistan – Gulf News. 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  39. ^ Ali, Zulfiqar; Bisset, Victoria (20 July 2018). "The transgender acid attack survivor running for parliament". BBC News.
  40. ^ "Transgender hate crime rises by 81%". 2019-06-27. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  41. ^ Wodda, Aimee; Panfil, Vanessa R. (22 March 2015). "'Don't talk to me about deception': the necessary erosion of the trans-panic defense" (PDF). Albany Law Review. 78 (3): 927–972. Gale A425237960. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 June 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  42. ^ Tate, Julie (21 August 2013). "Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in WikiLeaks case". Washington Post. Washington Post. Archived from the original on 13 December 2016. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  43. ^ "'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.
  44. ^ Grim, Ryan; Sledge, Matt (5 March 2015). "Court Orders Army To Stop Referring To Chelsea Manning As A Man". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  45. ^ 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 May 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  46. ^ Avila, Jonathan T.; Golden, Neville H.; Aye, Tandy (December 2019). "Eating Disorder Screening in Transgender Youth". Journal of Adolescent Health. 65 (6): 815–817. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.06.011. PMID 31500946. S2CID 202406516.
  47. ^ Knight, Elizabeth P. (July 2021). "Gender and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Beyond the Binary". The Journal for Nurse Practitioners. 17 (7): 823–827. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2021.02.013. S2CID 233711037.
  48. ^ James, Sandy; Herman, Jody; Rankin, Susan; Keisling, Mara; Mottet, Lisa; Anafi, Ma'ayan. "2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Report". ustranssurvey.org. National Center for Transgender Equality. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  49. ^ "Statistics about Youth Suicide". Youth Suicide Prevention Program. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015.
  50. ^ "Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempts". Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Archived from the original on 26 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ Bockting, W (2001). "Transgender HIV prevention: Community involvement and empowerment". Transgender and HIV: Risks, Prevention, and Care: 119–144.
  53. ^ a b Herbst, Jeffrey H.; Jacobs, Elizabeth D.; Finlayson, Teresa J.; McKleroy, Vel S.; Neumann, Mary Spink; Crepaz, Nicole; HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis Team (January 2008). "Estimating HIV Prevalence and Risk Behaviors of 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.
  54. ^ a b Grant, Jaime. "National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report on Health and Health Care" (PDF). National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  55. ^ "Know Your Rights Health Care". Trans Equality. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  56. ^ "Facts and Figures". American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.

External links[edit]