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Transphobia. Talia Mae Bettcher , Ph.D. Some Preliminary Data. approximately 50% report history of unwanted or forced sex approximately 50% report history of physical violence NCAVP reports average of 215 anti-trans hate crimes per year

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Talia Mae Bettcher, Ph.D.

some preliminary data
Some Preliminary Data
  • approximately 50% report history of unwanted or forced sex
  • approximately 50% report history of physical violence
  • NCAVP reports average of 215 anti-trans hate crimes per year
  • Remembering our Dead has tracked 350 trans people who were murdered

QUESTION: Is a trans woman who presents and lives as a woman “gender-bending”, or is she following gender norms?

  • QUESTION: Who decides?

The idea that trans people transgress gender norms can constitute a transphobic invalidation of the identities of some trans people.

types of transphobia
Types of Transphobia
  • different forms of transphobia apply to different groups of trans people
  • different forms of transphobia occur in different forms of discourse and social context
i identity enforcement
I. Identity Enforcement

You say I’m a man… I say I’m a woman

You say I’m a woman… I say I’m a man

I say I’m neither – or both… you say I have to choose.

  • Enforcement of the meaning of words
  • Enforcement of the meaning of bodies

Basic Denial of Authenticity

ii appearance reality contrast
II. Appearance/Reality Contrast
  • Really a so-and-so disguised as a such-and-such
  • Living as a woman although biologically male
  • Discovered to be “anatomically” such-and-such
  • “I never would have known you’re transgender…”

Basic Denial of Authenticity

iii genital verification
III. Genital Verification
  • Extreme cases:
    • inappropriate touching
    • Forced exposure
  • Sneaky cases:
    • “have you had ‘the surgery’ yet?”
    • “are you a man or a woman?”
    • “discovered to be transgender”

Basic Denial of Authenticity

iv double bind
IV. Double Bind
  • Hallmark of oppression:


  • Evil deceivers vs. make-believers

Basic Denial of Authenticity

v sexual violence as punishment
V. Sexual violence as punishment
  • Rape
  • Other forms of sexual humiliation

Basic Denial of Authenticity

vi blaming the victim
VI. Blaming the victim
  • “He (or she) tricked me”
  • Moral invalidation; accusations of wrong-doing
  • Equation of “sexual deception” with rape

Basic Denial of Authenticity

a philosophical story
A Philosophical Story
  • Gender presentation is taken to communicate genital status.
  • Gender is a mandatory system of sexual violence.
  • Trans people resist this system.
larger oppressive context
Larger Oppressive Context
  • BDA occurs within a larger system of sexist oppression and sexual violence against women.
  • BDA occurs within a larger system racial oppression and racialized sexual violence.
  • trans people may uptake harmful behavior to “prove” their reality
  • external pressure to “pass”: quadruple-binds
  • transphobia within trans community: “real-er than thou”

Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher

Susan Forrest