What is Transphobia? in Identity
Transphobia is the phrase used to describe the intense dislike of or prejudice against transgender people. It also covers the dislike of transsexual, intersex or androgyne people.
A transgender person feels that the gender they were assigned at birth is not the gender they are. Find out more about gender identity.
If you are 18 years old, have gender dysphoria and have been living as your preferred gender for at least two years you can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, which will let you change your name and gender on your birth certificate.
How are people transphobic?
Transphobia can involve name-calling, discrimination and even violence. Find out more about bullying here.
Transphobia can include deliberate misgendering of people – for example, calling a trans woman (someone assigned male at birth but is female) ‘he’ or even ‘it’ even though the person knows that they are a woman.
It can take friends, family and teachers a while to get used to using new pronouns (he/she/they/ze/zir – find out more about gender identity terms here) and they might make mistakes, but if they do it deliberately knowing what your pronouns are and knowing that using the wrong ones will hurt you, then that’s transphobia.
It can also include discrimination, like not allowing a trans man (someone assigned female at birth but is male) to use the men’s changing rooms.
Transphobia often comes from the belief that gender is binary – that people are born male or female and should therefore live their lives as one of those two genders. As well as this, there is the expectation that men and women should like certain things, or dress a certain way, or behave differently. Anyone who doesn’t behave or present in the ‘correct’ way can be subject to name calling, bullying or even violence.
There are lots of different gender identities and no one way for any gender to behave or dress.
If someone reacts negatively towards you, it’s not your fault. You aren’t responsible for any transphobia directed at you.
Who’s trying to make a difference?
There are organisations that work on behalf of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people such as LGBT Youth Scotland. You can find out about some of the work they do by visiting the LGBT Youth Scotland website.
You can also learn about more about transgender identity on the ChildLine website.
Find out more about hate crime, what it is, and what to do if you’re the victim or witness to a hate crime here.