Transphobia & Trans* Rights

*Transexual *Transgendered *Genderfluid *Genderfuck *Two spirited *Transvestite

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from Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers.

There are dozens of combinations of factors that create sexuality and gender identity not least of which is the fact that the Gender-binary (assumption that a person is either male or female) has and does constrain people and prevents true self exploration of anyone in a Heteronormative ( defined as the belief that adhering to the Gender Binary and Heterosexuality is 'right') society.

It is estimated that 1/150 people fit the loose definition of trans. Considering the vast number of people on the Earth an estimate can be reached that there are currently 46 666 666 trans people currently living in a socio-political nightmare where even their bodies turn against them. These social issues are difficult to deal with as the stereotypes of male:female relations have been ingrained in the social mindset of humans over thousands of years. One of the saddest things is that it would be sevenfold easier if the governments of the world

This cartoon is incredibly important since it does in a very real way underline the most unfair aspect of the entire fight against transphobia. It is ignored and left to stew in this well that society has dug for it, when even the rest of the LGBT community gains rights they are forgotten.
It refers specifically to the fact that a Transgender person can still be discharged from the US army should zie be outed.

Most people fit the gender binary from birth or grow out of it, but there are a substantial number of children who know, and feel significant distress at their sex not matching their mind. Transgender children are often not taken seriously or are actively hurt because the world sees it as a phase in small children or worse than that, when they are taken seriously they are seen as freaks of nature. Because of these harsh conditions many grow up hating themselves and falling victim to depression, drugs, violence and suicide. In response to this, and in order to save their children from pain many parents are starting to allow their children to express their identity in whatever way they want.


Photo from

Annually there is a beauty pageant, gathering dozens of representatives to judge who is the most beautiful trans person in the world. The festivities gather transgendered women and transvestites from around the world to participate and feel like there is a world that can see them as beautiful regardless of the situations in which they were born. Contestants feel that they are providing hope to the millions of Trans people who are facing a world that does not understand or care to understand them.

The targeted violence toward Trans persons is shown in incredible and disturbing light when domestic abuse becomes part of the issue. 47% of trans people report feeling uncomfortable about going to the police when they are abused and yet approximately 40% of LGBTQ+HIV positive murders were transgender women. The mainstream media is in the habit of dehumanizing transexuality and when given the chance has shown that they are not above trivializing transphobic violence or publically

In Europe one of the major reasons for hate crimes and various other forms of discrimination is gender identity and gender conformity. There was in excess of one thousand trans people killed worldwide from 2008 to 2012, all part of a rising trend. During that span sixty-four were from Europe and yet only three countries legally consider gender identity based violence to be part of the hate crime continuum. This lack of acknowledgement means that the hate motive in crimes is not investigated. The governments of many countries contribute to discrimination by denying legal gender change to married, undiagnosed, fertile, and pre-op people. Trans identities are still considered mental illnesses at the international level, preventing real acknowledgement of trans people as having rights and legitimate opinions.

DC, a large and important creator of printed comics, has recently been attempting to add more diversity into the often whitewashed, heteronormative world of western professional comics. In June, DC outed one of their flagship characters, the Green Lantern, as gay earning widespread praise, and continuing their intent in November outed Ystin/Ystina as transgender. "I'm not just a man or woman, I'm both" were the exact words zie used and the writer confirmed later that the outing was intentional, yet it seems that outside the LGBTQ community not much fuss is being made. DC sees the silence as a form of acceptance and a positive step towards ending Transphobia.
17 NOVEMBER 2012

Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honour victims of transphobic violence, came on November 20th and the trans community found itself in a moral battle with the rest of the LGBTQ community for the sake of a simple request, to fly their flag in front of the Harvey Milk memorial. An outcry came from many that there ought to always be the rainbow pride flag above the Harvey Milk memorial and no other flag, and only at full mast. Eventually the request was acknowledged and the Transgender flag flew, though it raises in the mind of the protesters the questions based in the latent inequality of treatment within the LGBTQ community.

Model Andrej Pejic has become a very visible face of gender diversity, successfully modelling in both men's and women's wear. Despite growing controversy he has revolutionized the fashion industry with androgyny and he says that the discussion around his sexuality, trying to decide 'what' he is, doesn't bother him. He does not talk about it to the dismay of the LGBTQ community. Though getting into the industry was difficult he says that now he "doesn't get out of bed for less than 50$ an hour, but just wants to be himself and not a political statement.

Gabby Ludwig was mocked and it was suggested, from a position of relative authority, that she should not be able to play sports because she is transexual. In response Christina Kahrl of ESPN wrote, saying that the community needs to respect and value those people who wish to play regardless of gender.

Secretariat of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, has spoken out against all homophobic/transphobic laws. Stating that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,’ All human beings – not some, not most, but all. No one gets to decide who is entitled to human rights and who is not.” he condemned the 'anti propaganda' laws of Russia and Ukraine and Applauding the recent "gender identity law" of Argentina that he says will vastly improve the lives of Trans people in Argentina and hopefully spark new laws that will continue. The message was clear “It is not about demanding special rights, but basic human rights that our governments are supposed to honor.”
December 17 2012

The Transgender community of Jakarta has had to cut the amount of visibility they can risk in the face of a rising threat of mass violence from radical group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the unwillingness of the police to defend them. The Police forced the closing of a Trans-cultural show saying, at the time, that the FPI had threatened violence but later stating that they "Deemed the purpose of the activity to be negative" even though the community states that they had no suspicious motivations.

Transphobia and heteronormativity are world issues that are rarely discussed from a global viewpoint. The violence, depression, confusion, pain and stigma that these persons face in all parts of the world is appalling, with a large amount of violence being aimed directly at them. The governmental power it would take to allow these people to exercise their rights is minimal and yet many of the world's governments see 'sex' as being static and determined by a person's genitalia.

acknowledged that trans people have rights that ought not to be taken from them. Quickly the "Kill the Gays"
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bill of Uganda springs to mind, or the "anti Propaganda" laws of Russia and Ukraine but even the decisions of many first world schools to not cover Gay and Lesbian STI control in health class, or to not let people who are genetic males from wearing dresses.

Recently in Ontario this campaign came out, trying to further alienate Trans* people by not allowing commentary on gender identity to be discussed with children in schools. Allowing this piece of discrimination and closed mindedness to influence the legal decisions and the eventual withdrawal of the new sex ed program is only a moderate example of the measures that governments could be taking to remove transphobia, if only they wanted to help the fight.

The picture of Transphobia has over the last few years become much more hopeful in places and less so in others. With acceptance spreading and still having transphobic messages, backed by discriminatory laws

Lesser developed countries are more likely to have transphobic laws, While more developped are little better except that with the lessening of discrimination in recent years towards various other groups the LGBTQ community could be feeling more isolated than ever. the developed world appears however to be have a momentum of improvement which is heartening.

This is mainly a social issue but with political roots and economic ramifications. It is a fact that Transgender people face a stigma that makes good jobs harder to get, and feeds the stereotype of "Transexual hookers" which further increases the stigma and the violence. The lack of attention by police and lawmakers only makes the situation worse.

Works Cited:
Europe has still a long way to go to combat violence against transgender people.” Amnesty International 20 November 2012: np. Amnesty International. Web. 2 January 2013 <>
Transgender community lies low as intimidation intensifies.” Jakarta Post,December 07 2012: page 4. Web. January 9 2013 <>

"Beauty in the Eyes of the Third Gender" Jakarta Post, November 04 2012: page 4. Web. January 9 2013 <>

Cox, Laverne. “Trans Womanhood on Trial: Transmisogyny in the Assault Trial of Former FDNY Firefighter Taylor Murphey.” Huffpost Gay Voices, 12 November 2012: np. Huffington Post Gay Voices Canada. Huffington Post. Web. 11 January 2013 <>

Goldberg, Alan. “'I'm a Girl' -- Understanding Transgender Children.”, June 27, 2008: np. ABC 2020. ABCNews. Web.11 January 2013 <>

Morgan, Joe. “DC Comics' new Knight's Gender Shines Forth.” GayStarNews, 17 November 2012: np. Gay Star News. Web. 11 January 2013 <>

Kahrl, Christina. “Gabby Ludwig deserves to play.” ESPN, 12 December, 2012: np. espn conversations. ESPN. Web. 11 January 2013 <>

Sankin, Aaron. “Transgender Flag flies in San Francisco's Castro District after Outrage from Activists.” Huffpost, 11, November 2012: np. Huffpost San Francisco . Huffington Post. Web. 11 January 2013 <>

“UN: Ban Ki-Moon Condemns Homophobic Laws.” Human Rights Watch, 17 December, 2012: np. Human Rights watch Web. 11 January 2013 <>

Abraham, Tamara. “'My gender is open to artistic interpretation' Male supermodel Andrej Pejic responds to controversy over his feminine looks.”, 15 August 2011: np. mail online. Dailymail. Web. 11 January 2013 <>