Author Topic: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?  (Read 1067 times)

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Offline HappyMoni

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Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« on: April 19, 2018, 05:17:53 pm »
I always hear the term transphobia or homophobia, phobia meaning fear. Not trying to get into the semantics of this word versus that word, but it seems like the word doesn't always describe the vitriol aimed at us. For example, Harley's recent run in with a drunk jerk. It seemed more like trans-hostile or trans-hateful. I guess I am not convinced extreme reactions against us are fear based, but rather hate based.
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Online Sarah77

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2018, 05:26:31 pm »
I think you are right, but people hate what they fear and fear what they don’t understand.
Even though I’m trans I have real internalised transphobia.



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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2018, 05:31:05 pm »
Fear is definitely only a tiny, tiny part of the reason for the hate. It's always been a somewhat reductivist label or outright misnomer. I've never been fond of the phobia terms personally. But at the same time, I do think it has become enough of a standard phrasing that people understand what it means even if the etymology is questionable, which at the end of the day is really all that matters in language I guess. Still, I do bristle at it a bit, particularly as I believe it does a disservice to accurately describing the true nature of the attitudes we face. Calling it a phobia almost feels like it excuses it at times as something people can't help, when I don't believe that to be true.

(Internalized homophobia and transphobia is of course a far more accurate usage of the terms. I'd wager that using homophobia in a more blanket form originally was sort of a backhand against bigots by saying "well you hate us so much, you must be secretly gay" or something to that effect to get under their skin.)
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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2018, 05:33:01 pm »
Yes, it is just meanness.  But I think that meanness is often motivated by fear. 

They are not afraid of the trans people themselves, but of being seen as trans-friendly.  "I have to denounce or attack these trans people so that my friends won't think I am one of them."  It is peer pressure, and that is usually motivated by fear: fear of rejection by the in-group.

Etymologically, the word "transphobia" doesn't work, but it can certainly be some sort of phobia.
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Online Alaskan Danielle

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2018, 05:33:31 pm »
I always hear the term transphobia or homophobia, phobia meaning fear. Not trying to get into the semantics of this word versus that word, but it seems like the word doesn't always describe the vitriol aimed at us. For example, Harley's recent run in with a drunk jerk. It seemed more like trans-hostile or trans-hateful. I guess I am not convinced extreme reactions against us are fear based, but rather hate based.

Moni,

I think that you are correct.... in my opinion, fear has nothing to do with the jerks and creeps that demean us, insult us, and confront us as transitioners...it is definite in my opinion that they can hate us for what we are and who we are becoming. 
Many of those jerks and creeps (men and women) when faced with others that have differing viewpoints, also act mean and threatening to straight people as well...
Hatred and meanness are undesirable traits, and we have to be careful as transitioners that we don't exhibit hatred toward those that have different and opposite viewpoints.   We can express our displeasure, dislike or even debate the issues but hatred and meanness have no place anywhere.
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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2018, 05:44:35 pm »
Yes, it is just meanness.  But I think that meanness if often motivated by fear. 

They are not afraid of the trans people themselves, but of being seen as trans-friendly.  "I have to denounce or attack these trans people so that my friends won't think I am one of them."  It is peer pressure, and that is usually motivated by fear: fear of rejection by the in-group.

Etymologically, the word "transphobia" doesn't work, but it can certainly be some sort of phobia.

I think your correct here Kathy, but there are some that are raised to hate anything that is different than how they see things.

... it's like running a car on ethanol when it's supposed to take gasoline... it'll work, but it's eventually gonna break down until you put it on the proper fuel.

Offline Michelle_P

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2018, 05:52:51 pm »
Cultural normative behaviors and cultural taboos are largely driven by the ancient “fear of outsiders”, found in primate bands and tribes, and used to reject any member who deviates sufficiently from normative behaviors.

Our particular culture, the Western heteronormative patriarchy, has established a fairly narrow range of acceptable behaviors, particularly in gender roles and expression, the gender binary. This culture is slightly more tolerant of variations by what are considered weaker or less threatening classes of members, women and children, and less tolerant of variations in the dominant class of members.

The cultural fear is expressed in conditioned responses to unacceptable variations, expressed as outrage or anger. In many persons, an errant positive feedback path exists in the brain, rewarding outrage and “righteous indignation” at unacceptable variations with a flood of chemicals, such that the outraged person is neurochemically rewarded for their righteous indignation.

These persons act as enforcers of the cultural normative and acceptable variations.

Cultural change to bring transgender persons, particularly MtF, within the range of acceptable variations may take many generations, as we wait fro the righteous indignation junkies to eventually lose their addiction or die off.



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Offline Cindy

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2018, 06:37:30 pm »
One aspect of transphobia that is not often mentioned is jealousy.

Transgender people have by their own determination and sheer need changed their lives and tackled major issues so that we can face life as we want and need to live. While it is always a struggle and great problems and angst are involved it does reflect a conscious decision to change and face our problem.

I feel in some cases the backlash we get from some people is straight-out jealousy. They have not faced their issues, whatever they are, and not necessarily be gender related, however the awareness that some one else has taken the steps to change and to face the world as themselves can be overwhelming.

You also see this of course within the community.

Offline ReplacementSarah

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2018, 08:37:19 pm »
I don't know. I don't believe that the hate is divorced from fear. I think there are a lot of different fears out there that play into people's transphobia. Everything from, "Does liking a trans woman make me gay," to "OMG those Snowflakes are ruining this country!"

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2018, 09:04:45 pm »
In a sense hate is fear.


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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 10:05:37 pm »
A lot of it is just the “ick” factor.

Since cis people seem obsessed with genitalia, the first thing they think of when they think of trans people is SRS. To someone who is cis the idea of that is so abhorrent they don’t want to be reminded of it at all, and resent us making them think of it.

I think part of it is that we upset the model of how the world works that they live by and draw comfort from. If you imagine a world inhabited by solely cis-het people, who are very binary in their expression, then simply looking at someone would give you a lot of information. If you see someone in a dress with long hair, you know she’s a woman, you have a rough idea of what her reproductive organs look like. You know that she is either looking for or has found a man, and you know what social graces you should show her if that is needed.

If trans people, or gay people, or non binary people are in the mix, all of a sudden you can’t be sure of that information. That can be very unsettling to people.
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Offline Doreen

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 10:23:44 pm »
I always hear the term transphobia or homophobia, phobia meaning fear. Not trying to get into the semantics of this word versus that word, but it seems like the word doesn't always describe the vitriol aimed at us. For example, Harley's recent run in with a drunk jerk. It seemed more like trans-hostile or trans-hateful. I guess I am not convinced extreme reactions against us are fear based, but rather hate based.

I think there exists a large element in humanity that honestly feel the need to have seething hate or disregard for other elements of society... so you'll find people that hate others based on religion, politics (yes!), culture, upbrining, sexuality, gender, etc...  Even simply having different hair color (the step child redhead cliche).

I don't think it has anything to do with 'fear'.. usually.  Humans in general are just capable of horrible and cruel emotions. Hate is just one of many.  Humans are also capable of amazing acts of loyalty and love.. its just sad to see we haven't gotten beyond the darker aspects. 

To think that they somehow are jealous, fearful, envious, etc... is to probably give them too much credit.  Certainly some might, but definitely not all  I'd even argue even a majority probably simply hate because it makes them feel better (for whatever misguided reasons).  Welcome to human psychology.

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 10:42:29 pm »
I don’t think all of the aggression directed at trans people is rooted in fear.

Harley’s antagonist could easily have been a garden variety bully. I don’t even want to get into what makes them tick, I have enough of my own crap swimming around in my head.

There are the religious people whose animosity seems fairly straight forward.

Isn’t there more involved really with anyone who is overtly hostile about anything to anyone? Fear might be a path but I don’t believe it is the only path. “Transphobia” is a convenient way to look at it for some perhaps, and maybe even used to garner a certain response. In some cases it is absolutely the perfect word to use, and in others probably not even close to being accurate.

Some people are not nice. Some people just want an excuse. Some people hate ANYONE who is different. Some people prey on anyone they can. Is it phobic though?

Look for boogeyman under the bed and he may actually be there but there is more likely a pair of shoes that should have been thrown away years ago, a dust bunny the size of your cat, that stupid sock that has been missing forever and maybe even a slightly used tissue under there.

I know how some people can treat us, the anger and hatred they have, but I am very sure it is not all based in fear.


Offline Holis

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2018, 01:07:25 am »
It is not fear or hate. Most people like what they are used to and have certain views to see the world. If somebody is teached that there is a binary gender/sex system, everyone who is outside this box is challenging the persons view to see the world. It makes some folks really uncomfortable, because they have to change what they always thought  "the truth" was. Also minority groups, in this case transgender, are always a target to impose some sort of "otherness".

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2018, 05:45:36 am »
After thinking about this for a while I tend to believe that hate/loathing does originate from fear.

In the American missionary school I attended the foundation on which everything else seemed to be built on was that unless you believe and do the right things you go to hell. The independent use of logic could obviously lead to doubt—so the school made sure that that all exercises in critical thinking were guided to arrive at predawn conclusions. Moreover, materials that were deemed dangerous or upsetting were largely kept locked away and/or censored. (Even the classical nudes in the art books received nice black magic marker swimsuits courtesy of the kind school librarian.)

Now, the very thought burning in a lake of fire forever with no relief is pretty scary. To avoid it we were taught to remain pure and turn away from all sin. Homosexuality and crossdressing were not just some random examples of sin that could send us there. Rather, they were in a way worse than extramarital sex, robbery or murder because those sins could be repented and put behind. Living as a homosexual or a crossdresser on the other hand meant choosing to continuously violate God's laws by engaging in perversion of nature.

While not necessarily stated in so many words, what we were implicitly taught was that we should try to convert anyone living in sin in order to save them. If conversion didn't succeed, we were to avoid their influence and to continually pray that they would eventually drop their evil ways and become like us.

Now, to save someone from drowning you have to be in a physically better position. You have to also ensure that you yourself don't fall or get pulled under water. Parents tend to also warn and admonish their children to never get into a situation where they could drown.

Similarly, to save someone from hell I guess you have to be in a morally superior position, and to ensure you yourself don't fall into sin. In the mission school I attended this in practice this meant telling the ones who needed to be saved how terrible the things they were doing were, while at the same time trying to not catch any untoward influence by talking with them. The parents also very generously and frequently admonished their children against approaching anything that might imperil their souls.

Many of the children I knew grew up faithfully hating all sin. Many of those who became apostates also retained the aversions that were installed in them.

What I find interesting is that some friends who were brought up by parents with a fear of sharp objects also suffer from the same fear. While they've told me they know the fear is illogical I now see them also screaming when their children touch sharp objects. Thus, the same fear will probably be passed on to yet another generation.

Similarly, many of the children of these apostates will most probably also absorb the fear and loathing that their parents and grandparents feel—despite the fact that there may no longer be any Christianity involved in the process.

I think this is how fear and loathing is preserved across generations.

Offline Kylo

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2018, 06:08:35 am »
Unless a person has been traumatized specifically by trans people there doesn't seem a reasonable cause to hate or fear them so strongly.

Hence why I think it's actually closer to disgust, which is a specific psychological response in humans and animals. Very often it's a response to things that are not "normal" or "usual" to that person. The degree of disgust can be small, almost unnoticeable (hence you can get people who claim they aren't bothered by trans people - until they suddenly find one in their life, or even find that they themselves are trans) or it can be major and immediate - maybe because someone is ideologically or religiously primed to feel disgust for anything unusual in the routine of life they have adopted.
(Traditionalists and conservatives often have a stronger sense of disgust for things out of the norm than more liberal-minded people, although this isn't fixed and is more like a psychological habit. The root of this is that 'stability' for these people is reinforced by a sense of there being clearly defined boundaries between one thing and another, e.g. sex, gender roles, dress codes etc. When those things bleed into one another, they elicit a measure of uncertainty, confusion and therefore instability... leading to disgust as a controlling response).

That said I've found so-called liberals who are disgusted by trans people and so-called conservatives who aren't. I'm not completely sure yet but it seems to me that those who are tend to be blanket-judgers. So you can get a conservative-minded person who by their own code ought to be disgusted by trans people, actually knows a trans person personally and judges them on the sort of person they are rather than the label (many of my friends are conservative-minded people and have been the least bigoted), and you can get a liberal-minded person who is so used to judging people on labels or collectives that they actually turn out to be far more judgemental toward the trans label as a whole (my mother claims to be liberal but actually isn't on the trans issue, and she does enjoy blanket judging the trans community as "attention-whores").
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Offline KarlMars

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2018, 07:24:08 am »
All negative emotions stem from some sort of fear.

Offline pamelatransuk

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2018, 07:51:29 am »
Many fascinating responses already and I concur with most.

Phobias often stems from fear but also may be due to one's own internal biases; we all have internal preferences and biases for or against something and preconceptions.

Transphobia may stem from fear or from meanness or from being opposed to anything outside ones comfort zone.

However another reason for transphobia in my view is ignorance. They do not understand us and many do not want to understand us and therefore are against us. Certainly I agree with  Zirconia's view on biases/fears/loathing being passed from generation to generation.

A very sad state of affairs but to finish with a point of optimism: I feel Transphobia is less pronounced in the those now reaching adulthood.

Pamela



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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2018, 07:54:40 am »
Ignorance causes fear.

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Re: Transphobia? Is it really fear or just plain meanness?
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2018, 09:40:11 am »
Don't take my word for it, but I also think a lot of this whole "transphobia" has to do with how transgender people are portrayed in the media. None of the websites or magazines ever (or very rarely) focus on transgender men, and instead focus on transwomen because apparently transwomen are easier to sensationalize.

Because of a local "Coming Out" event, I was interviewed for our local newspaper since I'm trans. When talking about the included photo, the journalist asked me if I could wear a very girly dress, preferably pink. I declined, since I'm not some loli, and as an adult woman I wouldn't wear one even if I had one! But this just goes to show how badly transwomen are sensationalized; it's always about trying to make us appear as "shocking" to the general public as possible, and I hate that.

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