Transgender men & women have forever had to deal with discrimination, predjudice, and violence lobbied towards them. Transgender activists point to many instances of Transphobia & discrimination, in many of its different forms and manifestations throughout society.

Transphobia (or less commonly cissexism, and trans-misogyny, referring to transphobia directed toward trans women, or trans-misandry, referring to transphobia directed toward trans men) is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards transsexualism and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity. Whether intentional or not, transphobia can have severe consequences for the target of the negative attitude. Many transgender people also experience homophobia from people who associate their gender identity with homosexuality. Attacking someone on the basis of a perception of their gender identity rather the perception of their sexual orientation is known as "trans bashing", as opposed to "gay bashing".

Transprejudice is a similar term to transphobia, and refers to the negative valuing, stereotyping, and discriminatory treatment of individuals whose appearance and/or identity does not conform to current social expectations or conventional conceptions of gender.

Below is a brief timeline outlining some important dates in transgender violence:

John Rykener, known also as Johannes Richer and Eleanor, was arrested and interrogated in 1395 for cross-dressing. 

Joseph Lobdell (born in 1829 as Lucy Ann Lobdell), lived as a man for sixty years. After being discovered, Lobdell was arrested and incarcerated in an insane asylum.  

During World War I from 1914 to 1918, Transvestites were being regularly charged as spies or cowards, and executed.

During World War II in 1935, the Nazis abused, murdered, and sterilized transgender men and women. Aversion Therapy, which was first used to eliminate homosexuality, was later used on transgender men and women as well.

The D.C. Office of Human Rights created the country’s first government-funded campaign to combat anti-transgender discrimination in 2012.

Housing Discrimination:

Homeless shelters, hospitals and prisons have engaged in practices that have a demeaning impact on transgender women, refusing, for example, admission to women's areas and forcing them to sleep and bathe in the presence of men. On February 8th, 2006, New York City's Department of Homeless Services announced an overhaul of its housing policy with the goal of specifically ending discrimination against transgender people in its shelters.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Secretary, Shaun Donovan, announced new regulations that would require all housing providers that receive HUD funding to prevent housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. These regulations went into effect on March 5th, 2012. 

In early February of 2013, the University of Michigan announces that they will soon open gender neutral housing and restrooms on their Ann Arbor campus.   

Health Care Discrimination: 

Transgender, transsexual, and crossdressing men & women are also often discriminated against in the medical field, and refused medical attention. Many health insurance companies specifically exclude transsexual treatment from their policies.

According to a 2010 Report on Hate Violence, transgender people of color are less likely to receive needed medical attention when attacked.

- National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

According to a 2011 survey, 19% of transgender men and women in the United States of America have been refused medical care due to their transgender or gender non-conforming status. 

- National Center For Transgender Equality

On August 7th, 1995, Tyra Hunter, an African-American pre-operative transsexual woman, was refused medical treatment by paramedics who responded to an automobile accent involving Hunter. As a result, Hunter died later at the hospital.

Emergency medical technicians at the scene of the accident uttered derogatory epithets and withdrew medical care after discovering that she had male genitalia, and ER staff at DC General Hospital subsequently provided dilatory and inadequate care.

On December 11, 1998, a jury awarded Hunter's mother, Margie, $2.9 million after finding the District of Columbia, through its employees in the D.C. Fire Department and doctors at D.C. General, liable under the D.C. Human Rights Act and for negligence and medical malpractice for causing Tyra's death. While $600,000 of the amount was awarded for damages attributable to violations of the D.C. Human Rights Act associated with the withdrawal of medical care at the accident scene and openly denigrating Tyra with epithets, a further $1.5 million was awarded to her mother for Tyra's conscious pain and suffering and for economic loss from the wrongful death medical malpractice claim. Doctors at D.C. General failed to diagnose and treat Tyra who died of internal bleeding in the hospital emergency room. Evidence at the trial demonstrated that had Tyra been provided with a blood transfusion and referred to a surgeon, she would have had a 90% chance of surviving. The case against the District of Columbia was tried by Richard F. Silber. Dana Priesing, an observer at the trial, wrote that the evidence supported "the inference that a stereotype (namely that Tyra was an anonymous, drug using, TG street person) affected the treatment Tyra received," and that the "ER staff, as evidenced by their actions, did not consider her life worth saving."

Tyra had transitioned at the age of 14 and lived entirely as a woman. Over 2,000 people attended her funeral.

T.Y.R.A. (Transgender Youth Resources and Advocacy), a program of the Illinois Gender Advocates and Howard Brown Health Center, is a Chicago area transgender youth initiative named in the memory of Tyra Hunter.  

Robert Eads, a transsexual man, sought emergency medical attention after a severe bout of abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding in 1996. Though he was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, more than two dozen doctors subsequently refused to treat Eads on the grounds that taking him on as a patient might harm their practice. It was not until 1997 that Eads was finally accepted for treatment by the Medical College of Georgia hospital, where he underwent surgical, medical, and radiation therapy over the next year. At the time “Southern Comfort,” a movie about Eads life, was filmed in 1998, his cancer had metastasized to the uterus, cervix, and other abdominal organs, and his prognosis was poor. Despite aggressive treatment, Eads died in a nursing home in 1999 at the age of 53. 

Transphobic Violence:

Of course the worst kind of Transphobia is the kind that results in physical attacks, rape, and murder. Unfortunately the history of transgenderism is loaded with examples of violence towards Transgender, transsexual, and crossdressing men & women.

Three quarters of transgender youth report being harassed.

- US National Surveys Report  

Over 50% of transgender people report being violently assaulted.

- US National Surveys Report 

14% of transgender people report being raped.

- US National Surveys Report  

64% of transgender people report suicidal feelings as a result of transphobic violence or trauma.

- US National Surveys Report  

In the first ten months of 2011, 225 transgender people were killed around the world.

- US National Surveys Report  

In 1993, Brandon Teena, a transgender man, was raped and murdered in Nebraska. In 1999 he became the subject of a biopic entitled “Boys Don't Cry,” starring Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena, for which Swank won an Academy Award. 

Transgendered African American woman, Rita Hester, was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts on November 28th, 1998. In response to her murder, an outpouring of community grief and anger led to a candlelight vigil held the following Friday, December 4th, in which about 250 people participated. This vigil inspired the "Remembering Our Dead" web project. Hester's death and subsequent vigil that followed also inspired Gwendolyn Ann Smith, an American transgender activist, to start the annual "Transgender Day of Remembrance" that same year. Smith initially started the “Transgender Day of Remembrance” in order to memorialize Hester's death, though the event became an annual occasion held every year on November 20th, and now memorializes all those murdered due to transphobic hate and prejudice.  

In 2002 Gwen Araujo, a transgender woman, was murdered in California by four men after they discovered she was transgender. The case made international news and became a rallying cause for the transgender and ultimately the larger LGBT community. The events of the case, including both criminal trials, were portrayed in a television movie, "A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story." 

In 2008 Angie Zapata, a transgender woman, was murdered in Greeley, Colorado. Allen Andrade was convicted of first-degree murder and committing a bias-motivated crime, because he killed her after he learned that she was transgender. Andrade was the first person in the US to be convicted of a hate crime involving a transgender victim. Angie Zapata's story and murder were featured on Univision's "Aqui y Ahora" television show on November 1, 2009. 

In 2009, due to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act being signed into law, the definition of a federal hate crime was expanded to include those violent crimes in which the victim is selected due to their actual or perceived gender or gender identity. Previously federal hate crimes were defined as only those violent crimes where the victim is selected due to their race, color, religion, or national origin.

Workplace Discrimination: 

Throughout history, transphobia and discrimination has also manifested itself in the workplace as well. Some transsexuals lose their jobs when they begin their transition. A study from Willamette University stated that a transsexual fired for following the recommended course of treatment rarely wins it back through federal or state statutes.

In the hiring process, discrimination may be either open or covert, with employers finding other ostensible reasons not to hire a candidate or just not informing prospective employees at all as to why they are not being hired. Additionally, when an employer fires or otherwise discriminates against a transgender employee, it may be a "mixed motive" case, with the employer openly citing obvious wrongdoing, job performance issues or the like (such as excessive tardiness, for example) while keeping silent in regards to transphobia.

Employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression is illegal in some U.S. cities, towns and states. Such discrimination is outlawed by specific legislation in the State of New Jersey and might be in other states (as it is in the states of California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico and Washington) or city ordinances; additionally, it is covered by case law in some other states. (For example, Massachusetts is covered by cases such as Lie vs. Sky Publishing Co. and Jette vs. Honey Farms.) Several other states and cities prohibit such discrimination in public employment. Sweden and the United Kingdom has also legislated against employment discrimination on the grounds of gender identity. Sometimes, however, employers discriminate against transgender employees in spite of such legal protections.

On February 18th, 1999, the San Francisco Department of Public Health issued the results of a 1997 survey of 392 male-to-female and 123 female-to-male transgender people. The survey found that 46% of male-to-female's and 57% of female-to-male's reported employment discrimination.

In 1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a transgender plaintiff, Paula Grossman, in a sex discrimination case involving termination from her teaching job after sex reassignment surgery

48% of black transgender men and women were not hired for a job due to anti-transgender discrimination of bias.

- 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey 

32% of black transgender men and women have lost a job due to anti-trangender discrimination.

- 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey

A sex discrimination case in 1984, Ulane v. Eastern Airlines Inc., concerned Karen Ulane, a transsexual pilot. The Seventh Circuit denied her Title VII sex discrimination protection by narrowly interpreting "sex" discrimination as discrimination “against women", and denying Ulane's womanhood.  

In 2000, the southern U.S. grocery chain, Winn-Dixie, fired a longtime employee, Peter Oiler, despite a history of repeatedly earning raises and promotions, after management learned that the married, heterosexual truck driver occasionally cross-dressed off the job. Management argued that this hurt Winn-Dixie's corporate image. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Winn-Dixie on behalf of Oiler but a judge dismissed it.

In the 2004 case Smith v. City of Salem, Smith, a female transsexual, filed Title VII claims of sex discrimination and retaliation, equal protection and due process claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and state law claims of invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy. On appeal, the Price Waterhouse precedent was applied: "it follows that employers who discriminate against men because they do wear dresses and makeup, or otherwise act femininely, are also engaging in sex discrimination, because the discrimination would not occur but for the victim’s sex". This was considered a significant victory for transgender people, as the case reiterated that discrimination based on both sex and gender expression is forbidden under Title VII, opening the door for more expansive jurisprudence on transgender issues in the future. This case did not, however, eliminate workplace dress codes, which frequently have separate rules based solely on gender. 

In 2008 the District Court of DC ruled in favor of Diane Schroer, who was denied a position as a terrorism research analyst at the Library of Congress after revealing that she would be transitioning from male to female. The Court agreed that Shroer's case fell under sex discrimination regulations. 

Also in 2008 the first ever U.S. Congressional hearing on discrimination against transgender people in the workplace was held by the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

In 2010 the Obama administration explicitly banned gender identity-based discrimination on the federal jobs web site, USAJobs. 

A 2011 national discrimination survey revealed that 32% of black transgender men and women have lost a job due to trangender discrimination 

Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman, won a lawsuit against then-Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby in 2011. Brumby fired Glenn in 2007 for deciding to transition genders on the job, and a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that Brumby had wrongly fired Glenn.  

In 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission expanded upon these individual court cases by ruling that Title VII does prohibit gender identity-based employment discrimination as sex discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission declared, "intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination 'based on ... sex' and such discrimination ... violates Title VII". This ruling was for a discrimination complaint filed by the Transgender Law Center on behalf of transgender woman Mia Macy, who had been denied a job due to her gender identity. The ruling opened the door for any transgender employee or potential employee who had been discriminated against by a business hiring 15 or more people in the US based on their gender identity to file a claim with the EEOC for sex discrimination. 

In 2012, Kylar Broadus, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition of Columbia, Missouri, spoke to the Senate in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. His speech was the first-ever Senate testimony from an openly transgender witness.  


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