Mainstream Society More Willing to Accept Trans Men over Trans Women
But, neither has it easy.
In fact, Transgender identifying people are currently the most heavily targeted members of American society, plagued by a government intent on persecuting them, or erasing them altogether. Military Bans, the banning of the word “Transgender” in the CDC, the shocking effort to remove Trans individuals from the Civil Rights Protection Act are all very real obstacles facing the Transgender community. Since the Trump administration took control of the White House appointing religious radicals to power positions, Trans people have had their struggle for acceptance amplified tenfold.
However, evidence suggests that Transgender women often suffer the most caustic blows socially- especially the ones coming from lawmakers and the general population.
The notorious bathroom bill which was first introduced in North Carolina, Texas, Alabama and more recently Alaska, addresses Transgender people in general, but their vocabulary is very specific when building their argument and spreading their propaganda. “Men in Dresses” certainly doesn’t apply to Trans Men. When these Statesmen propose these bills, they do so by bemoaning the safety of their wives and young daughters, not their Husbands and young sons.
To elucidate, The proposition introduced in Houston exclusively seems to target Transgender women. From the first frame of the commercial, which aired on local television throughout the state of Texas, it prominently features a Women’s bathroom as words appear boldly on-screen saying “Any Man At Any Time Could Enter a Woman’s Bathroom Simply By Claiming to be a Woman that Day.”
In fact, most arguments that elitist bigots make for the exclusion of Transgender individuals is built solely on the foundation of demonizing Trans women specifically. The go-to excuse used exhaustively imply that Trans women are rapists, pedophiles and pose a threat to vulnerable women and children.
In another video opposing the bill, it portrays a Trans Man entering a bathroom alongside a Cisgender man. In a rather saccharine exchange, the cis man asks the Trans man if he was born a male, to which the trans man replies “I identify as male.” And then the cis man moans comedically and his head explodes.
Flip the script on this for just a moment. If that were a Trans woman entering a bathroom with a cisgender woman, the result would have been dramatically different. The woman would have screamed, run from the restroom, and a gang of burly wanna-be heroes would charge in to save her by violently attacking the defenseless Trans woman. They certainly wouldn’t just moan with shock or forehead slapping confusion. This is our greatest fear every time we have to debate with ourselves whether or not to pee in public. While Trans men also experience this distress, the media focuses heavily on solely vilifying Trans women as dangerous.
In the past three years, we’ve witnessed the terrifying influx of murders targeting Trans women of color. With each passing year, the number of hate motivated killings have increased exponentially. In 2016, there were 23 murders of Trans people. All but two were Trans women of color. The number increased in 2017 to 28. Just 3 months into 2018, already 7 Trans women have been murdered, the majority black or latino trans women.
While 2016 and 2017 showed an small increase in the murder of Trans men, the number of deaths of trans women is still alarmingly disproportionate by comparison. People often wonder why the murder rate of Transgender individuals is such a big deal, citing that thousands of murders happen every day. The difference is, our community is much smaller. 0.3 percent of the American population identify as transgender according the the US National Library of Medicine and Health. That is 390 Transgender people, per every 100,000 cisgender people. If we were an animal, we’d be considered critically endangered. That is why the murder of Transgender Americans is a big deal, especially in the Black community.
Long before gay men were accepted into a more mainstream vein less than two decades ago, it was more acceptable for two women to be seen kissing than two men. Heterosexual men objectified lesbianism as a performance for their personal sexual gratification while heterosexual women who generally found themselves more comfortable with their sexuality and more likely to experiment, were decidedly less offended by the concept of lesbianism than displays of male homosexual behavior. For these women, men in gay relationships fell out of the masculine mold society had built for them to inhabit, while lesbianism was suggested to be more refined, sensual and even beautiful.
Cisgender Heterosexual society still builds these molds and enforces these definitions, despite our ongoing resistance to gender norms and conformity. Disturbingingly, most of cishetero society still view Trans women as threatening men in dresses, and Trans men as cute, harmless girls who look like Justin Bieber. That’s not to imply that prejudice is not experienced on both sides, towards both Trans men and Trans women, yet statistically, Transgender women are more likely to be murdered in a hate related crime than a Trans man.
In a Yougov survey, Cisgender, heterosexual respondents were asked probing questions about the Transgender community. As expected, transgender women fared the worst on a question asking about “engaging in a sexual act of any kind.”
15% of respondents said they would be open to engaging in sexual activity with a transgender man or a non-binary person; 13% said they would be open to it with a Transgender woman.
Unfortunately, the Hollywood industry has tethered Trans women to prostitution or portrayed them as sexual degenerates. In reality, some Transgender women who have been violently murdered are killed by male cisgender sexual partners who would plead “Trans panic” in a court of law as justification for their deadly crime. Today, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island and Washington D.C. have banned “Trans Panic” as a plausible defense for murdering Transgender women after sex. To date, there is no incident on record where a Trans man has been murdered post sex.
That’s likely because the greater society views violence against Trans women by cisgender men as exclusive acts of male-on-male violence. A cisgender male is more likely to physically assault a Trans woman than he would a Trans man. Trans women are also more likely to go to jail in the event police are called to protect them during a dispute. Judges are less likely to treat a Transgender women as he would a cisgender woman, or even be fair with his verdict due to bias. There are more far more Transgender women in prison than trans men, most for nonviolent crimes, and they experience horrific abuse.
In a massive joint report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, released in 2011, studies show the following:
Transgender women were more likely to experience abuse at the hands of family (22%) than trans men(15%).
Transgender women were more often sexually assaulted (15%), compared to transgender men (10%).
34% of Transgender women who sought help at homeless shelters were turned away, while 20% of Trans men reported the same refusal of services.
Transgender women experienced a higher rate of physical assault (29%) in homeless shelters that transgender men (15%).
Transgender women experienced more instances of sexual assault (26%) at shelters and agencies by other residents or staff, whereas Trans men experienced fewer instances (15%).
This demonstrates cisgender society’s persistence in pushing us into black/white gender roles and dismissing our gender identities altogether. Cishetero male behavior towards trans women parallels their behavior toward other cisgender men, exerting dominance and toxic masculinity. If they feel their masculinity or sexuality has been challenged, they react with violence. When it comes to trans men, they also refuse to allow them their gender identity by treating them as women instead, flirting and coyly slipping into submission to appear harmless or more attractive. Men are more receptive to the company of trans men than they are trans women. Cishetero women are also more receptive to trans men, perceiving them as, not men, but butch girls, as where Trans women make many cishetero women uncomfortable, likely due to the propaganda of fear that has been fed to them by the media and politicians in government agencies.
A cisgender, heterosexual woman posed this question:
As I researched this specific topic, I found that, much to my disappointment, not many writers had explored the disparities in treatment of Trans women and Trans men by society-at-large. Interestingly, instead, I found many more instances of the cishetero community using various forums or social media websites claiming to find it easier to accept Trans men compared to Trans women. There seems be a budding fascination with Trans men however, but in the context of them getting pregnant, having genetic families and ultimately leading traditional lives, whereas trans women are often attacked by radical feminists known as TERFS for not having the ability to menstruate or carry children, thus are uniformly disqualified as women, or from participating in feminism. This skewed mindset pushes trans women further onto the fringes of society. While there are a plethora of articles lauding trans men for delivering babies while transitioning, trans women are suffering the myth of being a menace to children.
It’s important to note that this is not a reach to determine which of the Transgender identities experiences more resistance, but an examination of why things have developed as they have, where once again Trans women are the lesser of their counterparts rather than equally accepted even from our own peer group. The social, human designed constructs that not only support, but impose gender stereotypes burden both trans men and trans women, yet, the manifestation of this design appears to, in almost every fashion, lend itself to the destruction of trans women who are not, by any means, permitted to inhabit their gender identity comfortably. The strict limitations placed on trans women by indoctrinated prejudices have contributed to countless murders, suicides and when they speak out in their own defense, are damned to silence and accused of attention seeking or self-victimizing.
Many people in various communities of claim to be allies of the Transgender community must understand and appreciate the unique obstacles that both unite Trans men and women, but also differentiate them from one another vastly.