Trans Women and Sexism

Trans women like Caitlyn Jenner face sexism. This sexism often intersects with other prejudices, such as racism and sexism against athletes like Dutee Chand or Caster Semenya who are forced to prove their womanhood by having their chromosomes and testosterone levels invasively examined.

Moreover, some transgender people opt to not undergo surgery or hormone therapy. But they may be expected to ‘pass’.

1. Sex is a social activity.

Many trans women find sexual relationships to be very important for their emotional and physical wellbeing. This may include sex with men and women, non-binary people and other gender diverse people. However sex with men can be challenging for some trans women due to issues of passing and cis beauty standards.

Despite the increased support for trans people, stigma still exists in our society. Many participants shared experiences of being misgendered – being called by the wrong gender, deadnamed or being referred to as a person’s former sex – in both their daily lives and in sex and dating.

In addition to misgendering, some participants felt used by men who centred their own desires and pleasure and did not respect their boundaries or needs in sex or dating. This led to feelings of being coerced or degraded. Developing your own vetting processes or having supportive friends who can check in on you when looking for someone to date could be helpful to keep you safe and in control of your own relationship.

2. You’re a woman.

Trans women are people whose sex assigned at birth (the sex indicated on their birth certificate) is male, but who identifies as female. This can cause gender dysphoria, a distress brought on by the discrepancy between one’s gender identity and biological sex at birth. Some trans women choose to undergo social transition, such as adopting a new name, hairstyle, clothing style and/or pronouns, along with medical transition like hormone therapy that promotes secondary female sex characteristics.

Other trans women choose to present as a woman, even if they are biological men. Some of these individuals may experience gender dysphoria, while others may not. It is important to note that transgender gender identity differs from sexual orientation, which is about a person’s enduring romantic and/or sexual attraction to people of different genders. This means that a trans woman may be attracted to other women, men or both and this has no bearing on her gender identity.

3. You’re a man.

People who are assigned male at birth but identify as female and have undergone medical intervention to live in accordance with their gender identity are known as transwomen. While they may still feel some level of discomfort, or dysphoria, in the body they inhabit, they also experience a feeling of gender euphoria.

Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation, which refers to whom you’re attracted to. And while some transgender women are primarily attracted to men, others are primarily attracted to women or are bisexual or queer.

But while relationships are important, so is a healthy sense of self. That’s why it’s important to have friends and support networks in place, as well as activities that bring joy to your life. These include things like sports, art and music, and a loving and supportive relationship with yourself. And when it comes to relationships, being aware of the ways that sex and gender interact can help you set healthy boundaries.

4. You’re a woman of color.

Women of color are at higher risk for violence than cisgender women. This is because they face both anti-Black racism and sexism at the same time — known as transmisogynoir.

Trans women of color can struggle to advance in their careers. Many are pushed out of the formal workforce and into informal, criminalized economies where they can earn less money.

Those who do make it into the workforce often find that they are relegated to subordinate, part-time positions. They may be paid less than their cisgender female counterparts and watched as men, white trans people and able-bodied trans people are promoted ahead of them.

As a result, they can be mistrustful of employers and managers who don’t understand their identities. Added to that, they can get deadnamed or misgendered at work, leading to more confusion and stress. They can also be overlooked for promotions and other opportunities, despite their hard work. Trans women of color have been a vital force for social change throughout history, and their contributions should be recognized and honored.