Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Words That Are Transphobic and Why

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Words that are transphobic and why

Transphobia is defined above as the “fear or hatred of transgender people or people who are perceived as not meeting society’s expectations around gender roles, identities and presentations.  Transphobia is closely linked with homophobia and biphobia”.

I believe that human beings have the right to not be discriminated against on the grounds of age, race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference, creed, ethnicity, political affiliation or any other basis.

I first experienced an additional awareness of the challenges facing transgender people towards the end of last year.  I discovered that transwomen were not allowed to take part in the Reclaim the Night women’s march in London.  On account of them being born men, the feminists claimed that they were by nature privileged who were by nature in a position of power over women. 

It was then that I learned the definition of the term cissexism which is "the belief that transsexuals' identified genders are inferior to, or less authentic than, those of cissexuals" [source: Julia Serrano quoted in Wikipedia].

I don’t claim to understand all of the issues facing transgendered people today but I do believe that cissexism is harmful, unnecessary and above all dangerous. 

The poster above was designed by Clinton Andor, a graphic design intern at the UC Davis Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center.  You can see his original post here [source].  I discovered it at the blog of Jussie Hay.



  1. Feminists! Never liked them anyway and less so now. I don't believe in labels and never burned my bra. Their actions are disgraceful and ostensibly against the very precepts they stand for. Some of them have been called less than lovely names. I wonder how they like it?

  2. Thank you for re-posting this. It all helps to better educate people on Transphobia and better understand transsexualism.

  3. Thanks for your comment at Daily Dodo. I found your post really interesting- the power of words, for good or bad is incredible, and exists even when the words are used thoughtlessly.
    Very thought provoking stuff

  4. @ Cher: Heh. I see you are passionate about this! Yeah, you know how I feel about bigoted people, especially when they belong to a previously-disadvantaged or persecuted minority.

    @ Jussie: No problem. I've drawn up some questions for you but haven't got too far yet.

    @ Laura: Definitely. I certainly believe words can be lethal.

  5. Why do they all get called a phobia? People can agree or disagree without being afraid of the issue or the people involved. I have lack of respect for anyone tossing out labels like transphobia, homophobia and any others invented. You're assuming a lot about people you don't know. The very thing you ask others not to do; you do yourself to others.

  6. @ Anonymous: "People can agree or disagree without being afraid of the issue or the people involved."

    Yes, and they can also address their disagreement without resorting to using hateful speech or actions; without insulting individuals directly; and without further vilifying and marginalising people with their words and actions. But they don't.

    When people "toss" about those terms, they are not seeking to persecute thoughts, they are referring to actions and words. If you act in a way that expresses antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, and irrational fear, then you will be called homophobic or transphobic.


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