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The social challenges of transgenders and queers today

What challenges and prejudices do transgender people face?

Knowledge Center

Transgender is an umbrella term that signals movement between or across genders. A transgender person is someone who identifies as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth based on the appearance of their sex organs. Many transgender people experience anxiety and distress that their gender — their personal sense of being male, female, or non-binary — is not reflected by the way they interpret their body or the way others interpret their body.

Some transgender people find significant mental, emotional, and physical relief when they begin using a name and pronouns which align more with their gender identity, rather than with their assigned sex. This means that transgender bodies can be very different than cis expectations.

  • Virtually all of the effects mentioned here are much more likely to affect AMAB trans people and trans people of color, and affect them more severely;
  • Ninety-eight percent of physical violence against transgender people is perpetrated against AMAB trans people, and the bulk of that is against non-white AMAB trans people;
  • The distribution of anti-trans discrimination and violence is not even, however;
  • The line between cissexism and transphobia is not always clear or meaningful or important;
  • This means that transgender bodies can be very different than cis expectations;
  • Rather than challenging cisgender experiences of gender, transgender expressions and experiences can enhance the way all humans can experience gender and gender identity.

Some trans women, for example, do not have breasts. Some trans men, for example, have vaginas and menstruate each month. What is cissexism, transphobia, and transmisogyny? The reality of living as a transgender person means experiencing prejudice, discrimination, material harm, and even violence. These negative outcomes result from a set of multiple overlapping social forces, which we will refer to as cissexism, transphobia, and transmisogyny.

What challenges and prejudices do transgender people face?

Cissexism is the explicit or implicit assumption that cisgender narratives, experiences, and bodies are more natural, normal, or valid than trans ones. Examples of cissexism include: Rather than challenging cisgender experiences of gender, transgender expressions and experiences can enhance the way all humans can experience gender and gender identity.

Gender experiences are not restricted only to those who are cisgender. Chromosomal configuration, genital configuration, secondary sex characteristics, or reproductive ability have been often treated in direct relationship to maleness or femaleness, and doing so inherently privileges cisgender narratives.

  • What are the effects of anti-trans sentiment?
  • However, a high proportion of queer and trans youth experiencing homelessness feel safer on the streets than in shelters due to homophobic and transphobic violence that occurs in the shelter system and because shelter providers are not fully prepared to deal with homophobia and transphobia;
  • Another common example of transmisogyny is the insistence that trans women are misogynists, or in some way threaten cis women;
  • While there have been no reported instances of trans women assaulting cis women in public restrooms, there have been many instances of cis women assaulting trans women.

This expression acknowledges the existence of trans men and and trans women, which is useful, but the expression then groups them with cis women and cis men, respectively. Except in a medical context, implying that cis women and trans men form a socially cohesive category essentially, because they share sexual organs is incorrect and very harmful, as is implying that trans women and cis men form a socially cohesive category.

Transphobia is explicit anti-trans sentiment. The line between cissexism and transphobia is not always clear or meaningful or important. Is being transgender a mental disorder? Passing is the ability of a trans person to appear to be a cis person of their gender. Passing is not absolute; many trans people only pass sometimes.

Trans people who frequently pass are, for obvious reasons, less likely to experience direct anti-trans violence or discrimination. Additionally, even when others know they are trans, trans people who pass are often taken more seriously. However, all trans people, whether or not they pass, experience living in a world that is structurally not built to include them, and must cope with the practical consequences of that, as well as the internalized feelings that result.

It is important to note that passing is not necessarily a primary goal for trans people. Passing can result in protection from discrimination and violence, and can boost self-esteem due to internalized cissexism, but may not be important or worthwhile to every trans person.

Depending on the person and their experiences, passing may take considerable effort.

  1. Fear of using public bathrooms is particularly prominent among trans people. What challenges and prejudices do transgender people face?
  2. Rates of mental illness among transgender people are very high.
  3. Additionally, even when others know they are trans, trans people who pass are often taken more seriously. Ninety-eight percent of physical violence against transgender people is perpetrated against AMAB trans people, and the bulk of that is against non-white AMAB trans people.
  4. Passing is not absolute; many trans people only pass sometimes.

Transmisogyny is prejudice aimed specifically at trans women and AMAB assigned male at birth trans people. Some think of transmisogyny as a specific expression of misogyny, others as a kind of transphobia, and others as the intersection of misogyny and transphobia.

Another common example of transmisogyny is the insistence that trans women are misogynists, or in some way threaten cis women.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S)

As a result, trans women are many times more likely to be abused, but are more likely to be seen as potential abusers. For example, consider the case of bathroom bills.

  1. Transmisogyny is prejudice aimed specifically at trans women and AMAB assigned male at birth trans people. Some think of transmisogyny as a specific expression of misogyny, others as a kind of transphobia, and others as the intersection of misogyny and transphobia.
  2. However, there is a lack of knowledge into the problem of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, and 2-spirited LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada. The line between cissexism and transphobia is not always clear or meaningful or important.
  3. Additionally, even when others know they are trans, trans people who pass are often taken more seriously. Some transgender people find significant mental, emotional, and physical relief when they begin using a name and pronouns which align more with their gender identity, rather than with their assigned sex.

These laws make it illegal for many or all trans people to use public bathrooms consistent with their identified gender. If these bills become law, trans people are required to use bathrooms consistent with the gender they are assigned at birth — rather than the gender they identify with and, in some cases, physically appear to be.

In reality, trans women and girls are even more vulnerable to violence, not only from men, but from other women. While there have been no reported instances of trans women assaulting cis women in public restrooms, there have been many instances of cis women assaulting trans women.

What are the effects of anti-trans sentiment?

  • However, there is a lack of knowledge into the problem of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, and 2-spirited LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada;
  • However, given that youth homelessness often leads to adult homelessness there is also a need to address similar issues in single adult, couples and family shelters;
  • Passing is the ability of a trans person to appear to be a cis person of their gender;
  • Passing can result in protection from discrimination and violence, and can boost self-esteem due to internalized cissexism, but may not be important or worthwhile to every trans person;
  • The reality of living as a transgender person means experiencing prejudice, discrimination, material harm, and even violence.

While many examples of cissexism, transphobia, and transmisogyny listed above may seem relatively minor to those who do not experience them, they can have profound consequences. One in five trans people has been homeless, either due to housing discrimination or family rejection.

Transgender people are far more likely to live in poverty than cis people due to family rejection, housing discrimination, and employment discrimination. Trans people face discrimination in health care as well — even when insured which trans people, who frequently live in poverty and are uninsured, are less likely to betrans people face discriminatory policies about health care coverage and discrimination from health care professionals.

Fear of using public bathrooms is particularly prominent among trans people. Rates of mental illness among transgender people are very high. Forty percent of American trans people report that they have attempted suicide, as opposed to 1.

The distribution of anti-trans discrimination and violence is not even, however. Ninety-eight percent of physical violence against transgender people is perpetrated against AMAB trans people, and the bulk of that is against non-white AMAB trans people.

Virtually all of the effects mentioned here are much more likely to affect AMAB trans people and trans people of color, and affect them more severely. Transgender people living in our society face many significant obstacles of prejudice, borne both of ignorance and malice. If any remedy is to be made for all of this, the voices of transgender people need to be given priority, and those not affected by these social structures must be willing to admit their own role in them, and be willing to change.