In addition, the unemployment rate of employable trans* people in Germany is five times higher than the national average. It is understood that companies do not want to hire trans people for fear of receiving negative reactions from customers. At the same time, trans* people are more often affected by poverty than average. These facts come from the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, which published a large document on the “disadvantage of trans* people, especially in working life”, which, however, was created in 2010. A similar study of this magnitude has not been conducted since then.
3. Multiple discrimination puts an additional burden on trans* people
Multiple discrimination affects people who are discriminated against at the same time because of several characteristics – for example because of their gender identity, their skin color and their age. In Germany there are few explicit studies on multiple discrimination against trans* people of color. In its comprehensive document from 2010, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency examined the discrimination and discrimination against trans* people, particularly in working life, and also dedicated a small chapter to multiple discrimination.
The document shows that trans* people of color are particularly affected by unemployment, as well as by non-employment, termination or denied promotion. Discrimination in the workplace is particularly common for black trans* people and can lead to dismissal. In addition, trans* people of color suffer from the additional pressure of having to decide on an identity category for their colleagues – i.e. black or trans*.
4. Trans* women are being fetishized
When you talk to trans* women, they often say that one of their biggest personal problems is the fetishization of trans* women. A fetish is heightened sexual arousal at a specific object or practice. Fetishization of trans* people therefore means that they are seen primarily in a sexual context as an object and no longer as a human being.
As part of International Women’s Day 2023, GLAMOR with trans* activist Julia Monro spoken, which itself has already experienced fetishization. She explains: “Especially as a trans woman, it often happens to me that when men realize I’m trans, they think they have a free pass to sexual harassment. We’re still put in this fetish corner. I experience again and again that one is reduced only to body parts or to the sexual – even by other women.”
She reports that she has to reckon with sexual assaults more often than cis women (i.e. women who identify with their biological gender), especially in clubs.
Also trans* consultant Ilonka Petrushka In an interview for the 2023 Amazon series “Luden”, GLAMOR reported that she often encounters fetishization, especially when playing stereotyped roles: “If you say publicly that you are trans*, you can be sure that you will also be attacked and fetishized.”
The official term for this experience is transmisogyny, which is related to the general misogyny. The gender theorist Judith Butler suggests that one explanation for this is that men want to defend their position of power as the “stronger sex” through their (sexual) oppression of trans* women, since trans* women would challenge this position of power. In addition, for some men, trans* women would pose a homosexual danger and/or homosexual experimentation. In both cases, the person disappears behind the trans* woman and becomes an object.
There is another way: these cultures and countries have always been open to trans* people
Transphobia is not a constant in all cultures and at all times. In some societies, for centuries, there have been people who do not match their birth-assigned gender and yet—or precisely because of it—are respected and more central components of the community.
An example is the Hijras in Southeast Asia. Especially in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh the Hijras are recognized as a third gender. The same goes for the Takatapui the Maori of New Zealand. Both groups show a gender concept that from today’s Western perspective can be understood as trans* or queer. How exactly these communities act and how individuals identify themselves can hardly be understood from a Western perspective, since identity and culture are closely linked.