What is Transphobia?

What is Transphobia?

Stereotypes, prejudice, & discrimination

Transphobia consists of three main parts:

  • Stereotypes
  • Prejudice
  • Discrimination

Any one of these parts on their own can be transphobia.


Stereotypes are widely held ideas about a certain group of people, which are oversimplified generalisations.


Prejudices are unjustified preconceived opinions, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings about a person, which often come from believing in stereotypes about the group they belong to.

Prejudice function in 3 main ways:

– Maintaining an exploitation/domination relationship (keeping people down).
– Enforcing social norms (keeping people in).
– ‘Disease avoidance’ (keeping people away).


Discrimination is the actions (including failure to act) based on prejudice.

This can include interpersonal discrimination in one’s private life, e.g. social exclusion, bullying and harassment, physical and sexual violence.

It can also include discrimination in public areas of life, e.g. exclusion from human rights protections, exclusion from other legal rights, exclusion from or discrimination in housing, healthcare, the justice system, accessing goods and services, recreation and sport, education, employment, etc.

Examples include: requiring medical interventions in order to gain an accurate birth certificate, landlords refusing to rent to trans tenants, inadequate access to appropriate healthcare services, schools or employers not taking action to keep students or employees safe.

67% of trans people report experiencing high levels of discrimination in NZ, 44% experienced this in the past 12 months (vs 17% of the general population).

Stereotype.Cognitive; thoughts about people.Overgeneralised beliefs about people may lead to prejudice.”Being trans is a sexual fetish”, ”They are dangerous”.
Prejudice.Affective; feelings about people, both positive and negative.Feelings may influence treatment of others, leading to discrimination.”I am genuinely afraid of sexual violence from trans women”.
Discrimination.Behavior; positive or negative treatment of others.Holding stereotypes and harboring prejudice may lead to excluding, avoiding, and biased treatment of group members.”I want to stop trans women from using women’s bathrooms”
”Trans people should be sterilized to change their birth certificate”.


It is very common for trans people to be stereotyped in a variety of ways, and to experience stigma and discrimination across all areas of life. The impact of widespread transphobia is the key factor in the disparities faced by transgender people.

These disparities include: being bullied in school (21% vs 5% general population), being forced to have sex against their will (32%, vs 11% of women in the general population*), poverty (trans people’s median income is half the median income of the general population), going without fresh fruit and vegetables (51%) and putting up with feeling cold (64%) – 3 times the rate of the general population, being asked invasive questions during a medical visit (13% in the last year), reparative [conversion] therapy (17%), avoiding healthcare visits to avoid being disrespected (36%), high levels of psychological distress (71%, vs 8% general population), suicidal ideation (56% in the last year), suicide attempts (37%).

Table adapted from Lumen Introduction to Psychology.
NZ statistics from Counting Ourselves, 2019.
* This statistic for both groups is estimated to be severely under-reported.

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Visual of the information presented above.

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This resource was developed with support from International Trans Fund, and Wellington City Council.

Black Trans Lives Matter

Black Trans Lives Matter

Black Trans Lives Matter Solidarity March Wellington.
Saturday July 4th from 1pm.
Meet at Frank Kitts Park.
March to Parliament – mobility accessible route.

Speakers include Chanel Hati of New Zealand Prositiutes’ Collective, Wellington Pride Festival Chair Vivian Lyngdoh, aand Jayden Rurawhe.

You can register your name and email here for contact tracing Covid-19 purposes, but if that’s possible just come along. There is also a Facebook event here.

Organised by Black cis women in Aotearoa in solidarity – everyone is welcome to join.
You can contact the organisers Tammie and Chinwe 0210 835 2351 or email tammiewrites@gmail.com or chinwe.akomah@gmail.com

GMA won’t be formally speaking due to prior arrangements, but Ahi’s speech is below.

”Black Trans Lives Matter. Violence against Black trans women in the USA alone is astoundingly high, dozens of Black trans women are murdered every year. And that’s just the murders – how many Black trans people all around the world are subjected to invasive, unfair, inhumane, and violent treatment in day to day life? Even in Aotearoa where gun users need to be licenced, we have white supremacists massacring people of colour in their places of worship, and we have ”statistically disproportionate rates” of excessive force used against Maori by Police, and now we’re going to give them guns. We are terrified and justified in our fears. We reject that white supremacy is nothing but a handful of extremists – it’s in the structure of the court system and criminal justice process. [ref]. We cannot separate the violent extremists from the lack of equity in the system. White supremacist and transphobic extremists don’t come out of nowhere – they grew up in a society that says our lives are expendable at best. Ignore that pile of bodies under the rug, waiting for access to a house and healthcare and a simple. fucking. birth certificate.

”Trans people in Aotearoa are 9 x more likely than the general population to live with high psychological distress due to discrimination across every area of their public lives: 19% of trans people are homeless at some point in their lives – and this is closer to 25% for non-white trans people, trans people are at least twice as likely to be raped, yet there are almost no emergency housing or sexual violence support services for us.
1 in 3 trans people avoids going to a doctor when they need medical care because they are sick and tired of being disrespected. 83% of trans people in Aotearoa have the wrong gender marker on their birth certificate, and we are forced to have ”permanent medical changes” if we want to have accurate documentation. And for non-binary trans people it’s not possible under any circumstance. Trans people are so much more likely to be discriminated against in education and employment that the median income for trans people is half that of the general population. We are living in poverty. We’re hungry, we’re cold, we’re struggling. [ref]

”So it’s easy to compare Aotearoa to the USA and say it’s a small country here – we don’t have the same high murder rates, things are different, Black trans people are safe here. But white supremacy and anti-trans extremism are here, they affect the lives of Black trans people in Aotearoa every single day, and they won’t go anywhere until we get sharp, recognise them, and work together to stop them.

– Ahi Wi-Hongi