Transgender people, and particularly transgender women of color, face with high rate of violence against them. The Office for Victims of Crime says that one in two transgender people are sexually abused or assaulted in their lifetime, citing studies from the International Journal of Transgenderism.
For example, in 2015, a transgender woman named Papi was shot and killed by a man after she told him that she was transgender. Her friend, Tiffany, another trans woman, told the police that Papi was a transgender woman who had been killed because she was transgender. But the police spokesperson told the press that was a man that was shot. They said that the victim’s gender identity never played a role in the homicide investigation. That’s just an example, but it’s impossible to know how many more of these there are. And even when the evidence is clear that it was a hate crime, many states don’t even count gender identity as one of the ways to be targeted for a hate crime. In 2016, a transgender woman was shot and beaten to death by her mother’s ex-boyfriend as he called her the devil and shouted transphobic comments. Her murder was never officially investigated as a hate crime.
being transgender is scary, especially if you are a transgender woman of color, if you are poor, if you are a sex worker, or if you are disabled. These communities know that they are hated and targeted, and they’ve seen their friends and loved ones get killed, beaten, and abused over the years. Transgender people are often terrified to come out, because they know the danger it would put them in. They can anticipate the violent reaction of their family members, friends, and romantic or sexual partners. Lots of transgender people are disowned by their parents and kicked out home for coming out. Research shows that one in five transgender people has experienced homelessness at same point in their life, and 20-40% of homeless youth identity somewhere on the LGBT spectrum, despite the fact that only about 4% of total population identity as LGBT. So, it’s rational for transgender people to be afraid of coming out, and obviously for some people, it will be easier than others.
In reality, transgender people often stress out over when and how they should tell a potential partner about their genitals. It’s kind of a weird thing to bring up the moment you meet someone, but it can also be unsafe to withhold that information for very long. There is a web series called Her Story that illustrate this really well. It’s a fictional story, but one of the writers of the series is transgender, and the show does a good job of showing people what dating can be like for transgender people. It gets the audience to feel the fear that trans women feel when considering if they should tell their partner or potential partner that they are transgender. So, in the whole genital preferences debate, it’s important to recognize that sometimes those preferences are transphobic and sometimes they are not. Buy by constantly and loudly saying that all genital preferences are okay to have.