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  • Writer's pictureDiverting Hate

A Look into Transphobia and Transmisogyny in the United States

Transmisogyny: A Brief Overview

Data shows that while the suicide attempt rate among Transgender persons is nearly 40%, 82% of Transgender persons have considered suicide at one time or another. Amongst this group, Transgender youth have the highest rates of suicidality [1]. At the same time, harrowing statistics show that anti-LGBTQ+ grooming narratives have surged over 400% in the last year [2]. Additionally, we see that trans women, particularly Black trans women, are at an increased likelihood of being victims of physical and sexual violence [3]. Transmisogyny and transphobia is an issue which has only proliferated in recent years. Transgender individuals are significantly more likely to be victims of harassment, physical assault, and sexual assault compared to the general public [4].

Transmisogyny is the confluence of transphobia, or the discrimination of Transgender people based on their gender expression, and misogyny the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. However, misogyny is not only directed towards cis-gendered women, it is directed towards everyone that does not uphold the laws of patriarchy. All misogyny is based on the hatred of and superiority over marginalized genders.

Transmisogny is a combination of our basic understanding of sexism, the belief that male and female are two rigid and mutually exclusive categories and men are superior, with transphobic ideas, which are the negative attitudes, feelings, or actions towards transgender people and transness. In every sector of society, Trans people are marginalized and oppressed, in the law, in politics, in housing, and online.

Discrimination Under the Law

  • Only 21 states within the U.S. expressly prohibit gender identity discrimination under state law in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, leaving Transgender people in many parts of the country particularly vulnerable to mistreatment.

  • Political transphobia at the local, state, and federal level has seen the use of sports as a shield in denying rights, access, and privileges to transgender individuals. States already have and continue to pass bills that seek to deny medical assistance and gender-affirming care for trans individuals [5].

Politicizing Transpeople

  • Extremists and politicians alike have put Trans people in the crosshairs of what they deem to be a growing morality issue within the United States. The LGBTQ+ community has become a target and the scapegoat of many of the United States' issues such as the recent banning of drag shows on military bases, despite the prevalence of drag in the U.S. military dating back to World War II [6].

  • The American public’s view of the morality and acceptance of same-sex marriage has also decreased in recent years. The majority of Americans see LGBTQ+ rights as an issue of great morality facing the nation [8].

Housing Inequity

  • Data suggests that Transgender people face higher rates of poverty and housing insecurity, limiting their ability to leave situations where they are exposed to violence.

  • In a recent study by Human Rights Watch, they found that the barriers that Transgender people face in obtaining gender-affirming health care and identification documents heightens their risk of violence by increasing the likelihood that others perceive them as transgender, thus rendering them as targets for harassment in public spaces [9].

Targets of Online Hate

  • The annual GLAAD Social Media Safety Index (SMSI) & Platform Scorecard evaluates major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok with a focus on LGBTQ+ safety and privacy.

  • After reviewing the platforms according to 12 LGBTQ+ specific indicators from SMSI, the 2023 Platform Scorecard gave the following scores: Instagram: 63%, Facebook: 61%, TikTok: 57%, YouTube: 54%, and Twitter: 33%.

  • Instagram leads in inclusivity by offering gender pronoun options, having specific policies to protect the LGBTQ+ community, as well as prohibiting advertisers who could be harmful to the community.

  • However this does not mean hate is not found on these platforms. Online harassment is experienced by 66% of LGBTQ+ individuals; of the 2,330 LGBTQ+ and non- LGBTQ+ adults surveyed who experienced harassment on social media, 68% percent said they've experienced harassment on Facebook, among other platforms, 26% named Instagram, 23% named Twitter and 20% named YouTube [10].

Transphobia as a Radicalization Tool by Far-Right Extremists

  • In mainstream online spaces, far-right influencers such as the Daily Wirel’s Matt Walsh and “Libs of TikTok” founder Chaya Raicheck have gained followers in the millions across major social media platforms.

  • Claims made in extremist corners of the internet, by such influences, often find their way into the mainstream news cycle, often with little to no basis in reality, by sharing false stories of grooming, public sex acts, forced medical transition stories, and other outrageous and often misleading stories, with the purpose of antagonizing already vulnerable communities.

  • These influencers and those who engage with the transphobic rhetoric and general LGBTQ+ bigotry use their audience to dox and harass Transgender individuals as well as cis gendered advocates.

  • A popular and recent case is that of Dylan Mulvaney, a social media influencer and trans woman whose Bud Light partnership led to an international backlash, death threats, and the harassment and assault of Bud Light employees and affiliates, as well as Dylan Mulvaney and Transpeople.

  • Transphobia as a radicalization tool by far-right extremists is often used under the guise of protecting kids. When framed as such, institutions and people that are versed in and accepting of different sexual identities, may still be critical of gender-based identities and preferences.

  • As such, bigotry and transmisogyny can be found across the political and ideological spectrum. Divisive movements such as the “divorce” movement, where members of the LGB community no longer wish to be associated with the TQ+ community, as well as the Trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) where women which often hold many progressive values seek to deny rights and exclude trans women from women’s spaces [11].

In Conclusion

Amidst the rise of online (and offline) hatred and bigotry, social media companies are not doing nearly enough to combat anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech. Transphobic and transmisogynistic comments and harassment are meant to deny agency and make individuals doubt themselves and their reality. The goal of transphobes is to repress individuals from exploring and living their life freely and openly.

Transphobia is not a monolith; it is a complex intersectional issue which involves our understanding of gender, race, and class. Just as misogyny, transmisogyny online has manifested to the offline, and continues to perpetuate real harm. Transmisogny, while of course associated with misogyny and transphobia, is a uniquely complex issue. To counter this hateful epidemic, definitive and targeted policies must be implemented to address transmisogyny online. CVE research and advocacy should expand in order to account for this specific form of xenophobia and hate.

Despite all of this, Trans people continue to fight for their liberation and the right to live a long healthy life. On a more optimistic note, here are beautiful examples of celebrating trans joy.

Diverting Hate is dedicated to the eradication of all forms of misogyny online; we seek to create safe spaces on and offline for people from all walks of life. Social media companies must continue to strengthen and reinforce pro-LGBTQ+ policies already in effect.


[1] Austin A, Craig SL, D'Souza S, McInroy LB. Suicidality Among Transgender Youth: Elucidating the Role of Interpersonal Risk Factors. J Interpers Violence. 2022 Mar;37(5-6):NP2696-NP2718. doi: 10.1177/0886260520915554. Epub 2020 Apr 29. Erratum in: J Interpers Violence. 2020 Jul 29;:886260520946128. PMID: 32345113.

[2] At Diverting Hate, we use the definition as provided by the Human Rights Campaign which defines LGBTQ+ as: an acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer” with a "+" sign to recognize the limitless sexual orientations and gender identities used by members of our community.










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