Tackling transphobia

Tackling Transphobia and Hate Crime.

What is transphobia?

Transphobia has been defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as “the fear of or a dislike directed towards trans people, or a fear of or dislike directed towards their perceived lifestyle, culture or characteristics, whether or not any specific trans person has that lifestyle or characteristic. The dislike does not have to be so severe as hatred. It is enough that people do something or abstain from doing something because they do not like trans people.”

Transphobia and prejudice against trans people are sadly all too common in our society and trans people often meet with discrimination and prejudice when they trying to get on with their lives and perform everyday activities.

As with all other prejudices, transphobia is based on misconceptions and negative stereotypes about a group of people (in this case the trans community or those who are perceived to be trans) that are used to “justify” discrimination, harassment and even hate crimes.

The following are a few examples of transphobic attitudes:

  • The belief/insistence that trans women are not “real women”
  • The belief/insistence that trans men are not “real” men
  • The belief/insistence that non-binary genders are invalid
  • The belief/insistence that transsexual people are gay people in denial and wish to have sex reassignment surgery to attempt to restore ‘heteronormativity’
  • The refusal to acknowledge a trans person’s true gender
  • Refusal to use the correct name for a trans person
  • Repeated and deliberate mis-gendering of trans people
  • Exclusion of trans people from activities, services or conversations.

In some cases, transphobic incidents can be very extreme, such as the murders of trans women Andrea Waddell and Destiny Lauren in 2009 (http://www.birdofparadox.net/blog/?cat=80http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2010/08/destiny_lauren)

If you are interested in reading about transphobia and the issues surrounding it, Lisa Harney’s blog Questioning Transphobia is excellent: http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?page_id=2630

If you are the victim of hate crime or abuse, the following resources could be useful to you: http://transequality.co.uk/HateCrime.aspx

GIRES has an online reporting facility: http://gires.org.uk/assets/tcrime/tcrime.php

Broken Rainbow UK http://www.broken-rainbow.org.uk/

Open Out Cambridgeshire http://www.openoutcambs.org/

The Crown Prosecution Service’s resources on prosecuting transphobia and homophobia: http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/prosecution/homophobia.html

The trans rep can be contacted at  lgbt-trans@cusu.cam.ac.uk