Transphobia is categorism targeting trans people. In other words, it is various expressions of prejudice, bigotry and discrimination against people who are transsexuals, transvestites, or otherwise non-cisgender. Or against people who are perceived as such, by those who are doing the categorism. (In Swedish: transfobi)
Note: A cis person is someone who's medical gender, chromosomal gender, genital gender, reproductive gender, legal gender, social gender, gender expression, gender identity and so on are all gender binary and all on the same side. That is, either they are all strictly male or all strictly female. Thus forming a cis man and cis woman respectively. People who have such traits gender binary but at opposite sides (for example a medically male body but a strictly female gender identity and gender expression) typically identify as trans, while those are gender nonbinary and don't identify with one gender or another may or may not identify as trans.
Facets of transphobia
Transphobia can be expressed through facets of categorism such as...
- Conspirationalism: Portraying the fact that a trans person sometimes need to use public restrooms, just like anyone else, as of it was some kind of sinister plot.
- Dehumanization: Talking about trans people as if they weren't real people. When combined with invisibilization, dehumanization can be a matter of talking as if everyone in the world is either a cis man or a cis woman.
- Demonization: Portraying trans people as if they were some kind of sinister menace to society, doing "sinister" things such as trying to use public restrooms.
- Invisibilization: Pretending that everyone is either a cis man or a cis woman. Or, in the case of nonbinary people, pretending that everyone is either cis or gender binary trans.
- Malpractice: Lets say that a guy named Mark visits a therapist namned Carl. Mark's boss is forcing him to work overtime almost every day, and his mother just died. Mark is getting more and more frustrated with his life. However, Mark also happens to be a trans man, thus making this version of the example about transphobia rather than about paraphobia or homophobia. Although those may also come into play. The therapist takes Mark's money, but refuses to address his actual problems in a serious manner. Instead, Carl keeps droning on about Mark's gender. Carl expects Mark (who payed a lot of money to Carl, not the other way around) to spend the therapy time educating Carl about the minority group Mark belongs to. Carl also keeps trying to make a connection between Mark's gender identity and the death of Mark's mother, ignoring Mark's testimony that these events are unrelated. This malpractice works on many levels...
- Individual Level: Carl is prejudiced against the minority Mark belongs to. Maybe he has no positive role models for that group, getting all his "knowledge" on the subject from bigoted theories. Including homophobic ones, as the therapist may try to construct Mark's gender identity as a matter of who Mark may be having sex with.
- Group Level: Carl's co-workers at the clinic are willing to back him up. If Mark complains to them, they will simply tell him that he should accept Carl as the authority and put the blame on himself.
- Systemic Level: Transphobia is so wide-spread that Mark may have a hard time finding a good therapist anywhere. He may give up trying to find one at all. Or simply get a new therapist and try to evade the subject of gender. This therapist is very likely to correctly see that Mark is having a problem with gender or sexuality, but far less likely to realize that this is because of how Mark has been mistreated by another therapist in the past.
- Structural Level: Transphobia is deeply entrenched in the mainstream of the culture in which Mark and Carl (as well as other therapists Mark may encounter) lives, thus creating a foundation for the malpractice.
- Discursive Level: Language which construct gender as strictly binary is widespread.
- Dogmatic Level: Cultural bias and outdated scientific hypotheses turned into pseudoscience dogma, there's a lot of psychology literature defining various versions of the alleged "true nature" of minorities. Carl and his colleagues are likely to have read some of this during their education to become therapists.
- Law Level: If this story takes place in Russia 2015 or any similar place & time, Carl may worry that he might be breaking the law against gay propaganda unless he cracks down on Mark.