Cornel West once stated that “justice is what love looks like in public,” and when there is no justice, there is no love. Often in the LGBTQ community, people of all races, genders, and backgrounds are discriminated against and shown no justice. More specifically, there are certain combinations that are more acceptable than others. For example, black men and women who are gay are more likely to be subjected to discrimination than white men and women in the same position. Additionally, interracial couples in the LGBTQ community are also discriminated against more often that heterosexual interracial couples. Moreover, black trans women are the most targeted victims of violence within the LGBTQ community. This systemic discrimination is in part due to the gender binary that is taught to children, through different means of gender socialization.
Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox, spoke about the intersection of trans phobia, racism and misogyny (Cox 2014). In doing so, Cox recounts one of the countless times she has experienced harassment on the street by men who, upon realizing that she is a trans women, became very aggressive. She goes on to state that many trans women are in danger simply because of whom they are, and the gender that they choose to express (Cox 2014). Additionally, Cox argues that most of the street harassment she has experienced has come from black men. Although a generalization, Cox explains this phenomenon as a response to the collective trauma experienced by blacks in the past, as well as a result of the emasculation of black men. Finally, Laverne Cox states that when men or women harass others, it is an inner problem or issue they have with themselves, rather than the person whom they are targeting (Cox 2014).
Apart from this example, there are many examples of the intersection of misogyny, racism and trans phobia, and this is due to gender socialization and the appearance of strict gender binaries. Misogyny is the explicit hatred or dislike of women or girls, and can be expressed in numerous ways, some of which include: sexual discrimination, violence, denigration and the sexual objectification of women. Misogyny intersects with both racism and trans phobia in the sense that black or coloured (trans) women have less privilege than white women and white trans women. Apart from being discriminated against for being a woman, many are additionally discriminated against for being black and trans as well. This is specifically due to gender socialization, which refers to the socially constructed roles and expectations of both men and women. Gender socialization is most often based on a strict gender binary where there is only two sides of the spectrum, boys and girls, and each have opposing characteristics.
In today’s society, racism, misogyny, and trans phobia have become institutionalized through socially constructed rules and regulations. Although not enforced by law, it a common understanding that in order to be “normal” you must be either male or female, or the sex to which you were assigned at birth. The problem with this is that many or most people do not fit into the strict gender binary set by society. Even if you are cisgendered, meaning that you identify with the sex assigned at birth, you are likely to not stick strictly to the characteristics of said gender. For example, some girls like sports and are powerful and outspoken: these are usually qualities typically associated with men. Furthermore, due to this, it is more inclusive to think of gender as a spectrum, rather than a binary.
There are many examples of this systemic discrimination against transgendered people in all societies. Recently, the Canadian parliament voted to make amendments to bill C-279; a federal Bill that seeks to bring rights and securities specifically to transgender Canadians (Wingrove 2014). The amendments senate wishes to make render the Bill completely useless, and the Bill has been highly contested by Parliament as well as the general public. More specifically, the senate wants the term ‘gender identity’ to be removed, and this would subsequently take away the right of trans people to identify as the gender they are, rather than the gender they were assigned at birth (Wingrove 2014). This Bill is a form of systemic discrimination against trans people as it provides legal regulations that take away the rights and services of trans women and men. Therefore, the amendments to the Bill are a form of misogyny and transmisogyny, as well as a form of state sanctioned violence against trans women and more so trans women of colour, who are already susceptible to violence and discrimination (Wingrove 2014).
Although many people in today’s society believe that men and women are equal, it is becoming abundantly clear that this is not the case. Discrimination against those associated with the LGBTQ community is still happening and is becoming more systemically implemented than ever before. This discrimination is due to the gender socialized norms and binaries we are taught as children, and that we see reinforced over and over again. Laverne Cox is one example of a trans woman who is popular in the media and often speaks out against certain indecencies she experiences first hand. It is important that trans women and men specifically get the justice they deserve, and in turn it is important to love and accept everyone for who they are.
Cox, Laverne. “Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to Do About It).” Everyday Feminism. Everyday Feminism, 07 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.
Wingrove, Josh. “Transgender Rights Bill Stirs Heated Debate in Senate.” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail Inc., 02 Oct. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.