Transmisogyny (sometimes trans-misogyny) is the intersection of transphobia and misogyny. Transmisogyny includes negative attitudes, hate, and discrimination toward transgender individuals who fall on the feminine side of the gender spectrum, particularly trans women. The term was coined by Julia Serano in her 2007 book Whipping Girl. According to Serano, transmisogyny is based on "the assumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to, and exist primarily for the benefit of, maleness and masculinity".[1][2] Transmisogyny is a central concept in transfeminism and is commonly referenced in intersectional feminist theory. That trans women's femaleness (rather than only their femininity) is a source of transmisogyny is denied by certain radical feminists, who state that trans women are not female.[3]


Transmisogyny is generally understood to be caused by the social belief that men are superior to women. In Whipping Girl, Julia Serano writes that the existence of trans women is seen as a threat to a "male-centered gender hierarchy, where it is assumed that men are better than women and that masculinity is superior to femininity".[4] Gender theorist Judith Butler echoes this assumption, stating that the murder of transgender women is "an act of power, a way of re-asserting domination ... killing establishes the killer as sovereign in the moment that he kills".[5]

Trans women are also viewed as threatening the heterosexuality of cisgender men. In media, "deceivers" such as Dil, a transgender woman from the 1992 film The Crying Game, have been observed to evoke outrage and male homophobia in an audience when their "true" maleness is unveiled.[6]


United States

Transgender women face harsher levels of discrimination than other transgender people. A study on workplace experiences after people receive sex changes found that "average earnings for female-to-male transgender workers increase slightly following their gender transitions, while average earnings for male-to-female transgender workers fall by nearly one third. On top of this, the transition to female was found to accompany a loss of authority and an increase in harassment, whereas the opposite often brings authority and respect."[7]

According to Laura Kacere (2014), "hate crimes against trans people are disproportionately and tragically high, and the majority of this violence victimizes trans women." The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (2012) found that "transgender people across the U.S. experience three times more police violence than cisgender people. In fact, over half of all anti-LGBTQIA+ homicides were perpetrated against transgender women.[8] According to Kacere (2014), “Transmisogyny is seen in violence as well- studies show that 1 in 5 transgender women (21%) has been incarcerated at some point in her life. This is far above the general population, and is even higher (47%) for Black transgender people.”[8]


A study on discrimination of lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender and intersex women in Ecuador found that transgender women "lack protection against discrimination in both law and practice." As a result, trans women have faced violence, sexual abuse, and discrimination in educational, health and workforce institutions.[9]


Julia Serano in Whipping Girl pointed out that transvestic fetishism, a disorder listed in the DSM-IV, only mentions cross dressing by men.[4] Similarly, autogynephilia was a recognised disorder in the DSM-IV, but autoandrophilia was not. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was revised in 2013 and transvestic fetishism and gender identity disorder were removed; transvestic disorder and gender dysphoria were the product of the revisions. The other addition to DSM-V regarding gender is transvestic disorder; in which a heterosexual male feels dissociation from his assigned gender because he derives pleasure from dressing in women's apparel.

Sexualisation and harassment

Serano has stated that many trans women experience an additional layer of misogyny in the form of fetishization.[10] She notes that, despite transitioning, trans women are still commonly perceived as male; however, they are rarely sexualized as such. In the porn industry, whose target audience is primarily heterosexual men, trans women are largely presented as sexual objects rather than "predatory".[4] Serano observes that when she is in a social environment where she is known to be transsexual, for example places where she performs spoken word poetry, she receives many more blatantly sexual comments than when in a similar setting where she is assumed to be cissexual.

According to Serano, the sexualisation of trans women is not solely because transgender women, by nature of their relative rarity, are viewed as "exotic": "there are plenty of types of women who are relatively rare, but they are not all sexualized in the same manner that trans women are".[4] In Whipping Girl, Serano writes on what she calls a "predator–prey dichotomy", where "men are invariably viewed as predators and women as prey". Because of this view, trans women are perceived to be luring men by transitioning and "turning [themselves] into sexual objects that no red-blooded man can resist".[4]

Relation to transphobia

Transmisogyny is different from transphobia in that transmisogyny focuses on trans women in particular, whereas transphobia is a more general term, covering a broader spectrum of hate and discrimination towards transsexual and transgender individuals. Julia Serano states in Whipping Girl that "When the majority of jokes made at the expense of trans people center on 'men wearing dresses' or 'men who want their penises cut off' that is not transphobia – it is transmisogyny. When the majority of violence and sexual assaults committed against trans people is directed at trans women, that is not transphobia – it is transmisogyny."[4]

See also


  1. Serano, Julia. "Transmisogyny primer" (PDF). Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  2. Harrison, Kelby (2013). Sexual deceit: the ethics of passing. Lexington Books. p. 12. ISBN 9780739177068.
  3. Jeffreys, Sheila (2014) Gender Hurts, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-53939-5, page 8.
  4. Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping girl ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1580051545.
  5. "Why Do Men Kill Trans Women? Gender Theorist Judith Butler Explains". Broadly. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  6. Serano, Julia (2007). Whipping girl ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Berkeley: Seal Press. ISBN 978-1580051545.
  7. Schilt, Kristen; Wiswall, Matthew (2008). "Before and After: Gender Transitions, Human Capital, and Workplace Experiences" (PDF). The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. 8 (1): 1–28.
  8. Kacere, Laura (27 January 2014). "Transmisogyny 101: What It Is and What Can We Do About It". Everyday Feminism. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  9. Almeida, Aline Britto de; Vásquez, Elizabeth; Rodríguez, Mónica; Klein, Guayaquil Dayane; Cordero, Tatiana Mendieta; Varea, Soledad (2008). "Ecuador: Discrimination of Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender and Intersex Women" (PDF).
  10. Bianco, Marcie (September–October 2016). "A manifesto for all: Bisexual trans activist and author Julia Serano wants to make feminism inclusive" (PDF). Curve. Vol. 26 no. 5. pp. 28–29.
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