Talking About (Trans)Gender Identity


According to statistics published by the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal (TVTP) in 2014, 10 % of acts of violence against homo- or transsexual people have been committed against transgender youth, with an assumingly high number of unreported cases. Acts of violence reported to the TVTP include

  • An 8-year-old boy beaten to death by his father

  • A 14-year-old strangled to death and stuffed under a bed

  • Two 16-year-olds shot to death

  • Three 18-year-olds stabbed to death, dismembered or shot

  • Two 18-year-olds murdered with no details being reported

  • An 18-year-old suffered two violent attacks by a mob and survived

The latest case of transphobic violence who also gained some attention of the media was that of 22 year old Bri Golec – a trans woman from Ohio who was reportedly stabbed to death by her father on Friday 13, 2015.


Although it is not even March, Golec’s death already marks the sixth death caused by transphobic violence – and that is only in Ohio.

A 2014 study conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the UCLA School of Law reveals that the prevalence of suicide attempts among respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey is 41%, which vastly exceeds the 4,6 % of the overall U.S. population who report a lifetime suicide attempt, and is also higher than the 10 to 12 % of gay, lesbian and bisexual adults who report ever attempting suicide. The study points out that transsexuals are confronted with discrimination on a daily basis, both the micro-level – in everyday interactions – as well as institutionalised on the macro-level:

How can those outstandingly high numbers of discrimination, victimization, and violence towards transsexuals on all societal levels be explained? The answer to this question is complex and would be beyond the scope of this article. One among many possible reasons could be the flawed and stereotypical depiction, sensationalization and the devaluation of transsexuality in the media, which clearly reveals a general lack of understanding of what transsexuality really is.

A short intro to transsexuality

A person who is biologically female, but identifies as male and chooses to transition to male is called a trans man.

A person who is assigned the label “male” by society based on its biological features and who identifies as a women and chooses to transition to female is a trans woman.


  • Transgenders are to be addressed with the pronoun of the gender they identify as (e.g. a trans man is to be addressed with the pronoun “he”)

  • The “trans” specification is not necessary

  • Sexual orientation and gender orientation are often confused when it comes to transsexuality:

Gender orientation is who you identify as

Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to



Learn more about transsexuality:

13 Myths and Misconceptions About Trans Women Part One:

Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults:

Transgender Law Center:

About Author


I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Sociology at Bielefeld University, in Bielefeld, Germany. My research focuses on Gender Studies and all that is connected to it such as gender inequality, sexual identity and orientation, performance of gender, sexual violence, and intersectionality.

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