Transphobia (or less commonly transprejudice) is a range of antagonistic attitudes and feelings against transsexuality and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity.
Researchers describe transphobia as emotional disgust, fear, anger or discomfort felt or expressed towards people who do not conform to society’s gender expectations,and say that although it is similar to homophobia, racism and sexism, those attitudes are becoming generally considered unacceptable in modern society, whereas some individuals still maintain transphobic views without fear of censure.
The related term cissexism (which is sometimes used synonymously with transphobia or cisgenderism) refers to the assumption that, due to human sexual differentiation, one’s gender is determined solely by a biological sex of male or female (based on the assumption that all people must have either an XX or XY sex-chromosome pair, or in the case of cisgenderism, a bivalent male or female expression), and that trans people are inferior to cis people, being in “defiance of nature”.Whether intentional or not, both transphobia and cissexism have severe consequences for the target of the negative attitude. Many trans people also experience homophobia and heterosexism from people who associate their gender identity with homosexuality, or because they also have a non-heterosexual sexual orientation. Attacking someone on the basis of a perception of their gender identity rather than a perception of their sexual orientation is known as “trans bashing”, as opposed to “gay bashing”. Homophobia and transphobia are correlated.
The transfeminist theorist and author Julia Serano argues in her book Whipping Girl that transphobia is rooted in sexism. She locates the origins of both transphobia and homophobia in what she calls “oppositional sexism”, the belief that male and female are “rigid, mutually exclusive categories, each possessing a unique and nonoverlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires”. Serano contrasts oppositional sexism with “traditional sexism”, the belief that males and masculinity are superior to females and femininity. Furthermore, she writes that transphobia is fueled by insecurities people have about gender and gender norms.
The transgender author and critic Jody Norton believes that transphobia is an extension of homophobia and misogyny. She argues that transgender people, like gays and lesbians, are hated and feared for challenging and undermining gender norms and the gender binary. Norton writes that the “male-to-female transgender person incites transphobia through her implicit challenge to the binary division of gender upon which male cultural and political hegemony depends”.