Transmisogyny – a noun which refers to a combination of misogyny and transphobia that specifically affects trans women. The term was coined by Julia Serano in her book, Whipping Girl.

*trigger warning: examples of transmisogyny to follow*

There are a number of ways in which transmisogyny manifests. Trans women (especially black, poor trans women) are more likely to be murdered or assaulted. Trans women are often represented as actually being men in drag, which is not the case. Sometimes trans women are considered to be men who are sexual predators, looking to gain access to female-only spaces by ‘pretending’ to be women. The activism of trans women in queer movements – like the Stonewall Riots – have been erased from history.

Consider the ways in which Caitlin Jenner was misgendered this past week, and how people insisted on calling her Bruce and using male pronouns – that’s transmisogyny.

Julia Serano writes: “The media not only regularly depict trans women’s bodies and experiences in a titillating and lurid fashion, but they also sexualize trans women’s motives for transitioning—e.g., by portraying them as either sex workers, sexual deceivers who prey on unsuspecting heterosexual men, or as male “perverts” who transition to female in order to fulfill some kind of bizarre sexual fantasy. […] Thus, the presumption that trans women (but not trans men) are sexually motivated in their transitions appears to reflect the cultural assumption that a woman’s power and worth stems primarily from her ability to be sexualized by others.”

Image by Michelle Avenant


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