Transphobia is defined as the development of negative feelings and attitudes aimed at transsexual individuals, or transgender people. The discrimination is based on hoe the victims express their identity of internal gender. This is when the discrimination is towards women, when the same is done towards males, it’s called trans-misandry. The discrimination on the transgender victims may be intentional or not, but ether way it has severe consequences on the targets. They are also likely to face discrimination from homophobic people who confuse them with homosexuals. The act of discriminating against people on the basis of gender identity as compared to their sexual orientation is known as Trans bashing. Some of the discrimination against transgender people is by use of violence or malice, actions that have led activists to provide people with information on the subject. Most of it is as a result of misunderstanding of the condition, or lack of experience in it. Religious and social practices also contribute to unconscious transphobia in individuals.
Transphobia not only appears as a result of gender identity, but can also be caused by discrimination on the bases of race and prejudice. I had this experience one year ago I had a neighbor who was also a good friend of mine, and we hang out a lot. We spend most of our time together after schools and on weekends. Since she was new in the neighborhood, I was willing to show her around, introducing her to my friends. We on several occasions went to the mall together and spent almost the whole day enjoying our time together. On weekends, sometimes her parents would allow her to come to our place for a sleepover. We would read books, watch movies, play video games, and then sleep. We would all enjoy breakfast in the morning, and she would go back home. This raised questions among people on our relationship as we spend most of the time together. Rumors started in our neighborhood that made people question our sexuality. People were spreading rumors that we were in a relationship, which eventually reached to my parents too. I talked t them about it, which they understood and advised me on the matter. However the other people in our neighborhood still insisted on their perception for some time. They mocked us as we walked to and from school, the mall, and as we hang out. This insisted for long which made me question her sexuality too. That is when I started avoiding her company, and as a result, we have not been close for some time now. I never thought I had transphobia, but this happening was an exception. After learning about it in class, I apologized to her, and we are now tight friends again.
Transphobia has been common in the recent past with cases increasing on daily basis. I once visited my relatives who live far from the city during the holidays. Since they live in the farms, they still maintain their cultures, especially the stiff penalties on homosexuality. However most o the people from the area either ignores or lack information on differences between homosexuals and transphobia. As we were travelling, we came to a spot where a crowd of people had gathered, and definitely something was happening. We parked the car and went closer to see what was going on. In between the crowds were two boys who looked worn-out and were bleeding especially from their noses. We enquired from one of the on lookers and we were surprised to discover that the two boys were accused of spending too much time together despite being warned against it. The culture practiced in the area has strict rules against same sex relationships, and cases have been reported where homosexuals have been violently attacked. On a closer look, I recognized the two boys who lived some few minutes from my relatives. They have been tight friends ever since I knew them, and had no signs of homosexuality. After much effort to calm the crowd, we were eventually fruitful, and they dispersed as we rushed the boys to hospital. That was not the first case in the area and many transphobia cases end up with casualties. My understandings from class on transphobia made me convince my parents to save the boys and take them to hospital.
In another case, I have a cousin who works in an insurance firm that is located by the country. Most of the employees in the organization are females, including their boss. I her case, she had a tight friend in the same organization, whom they hang out a lot. They were so tight that they at times held hands and chatted happily even at work. This was not taken lightly by the employer and fellow employees. Word started going around the office questioning their sexuality, and in a few days, it was on everybody’s lips. They tried to explain that they were only very tight friends, but people were not willing to listen. Their employer even warned them against being seen together, and since they were in the same office, it was not bound to happen and they still found time to spend together. After some weeks of receiving many comments from fellow employees, their boss let them go and relieved them of their duties. Their interpersonal relationship with other employees and the boss had cost them their job. Similar cases are common especially among employers and workers who are transphobic and are not afraid to show it.
Sometimes back at school, I experienced transphobia at another level. I had a fried that was from a different race who we also spent much time together. Since we were from different towns, after school, we went our separate ways until the next day. His race was the minority at school, an issue that caused conflicts with most of the students. In class, he was very bright and always topped the class, another issue that was not taken well by other students. They constantly made fun of him on notice boards, and in class. They drew pictures of him and kept them on his desk, which eventually affected his performance in class. Transphobia can also take a turn and start its toll on race basis, which is referred to as transprejudice. That was the case at our school, since most people were from the same race except my friend. This has been an issue to in many schools and institutions, which discriminate people on the basis of race. The discrimination, as my pal told me has extended to other institutions like hospitals, and churches too. He gets discrimination whenever he is in public places, and at a time, he had to go home without receiving treatment after waiting for 6 hours in a hospital. People from my race came and were treated as he was told to wait in a bench where no one attended to him.
Since the government is adamant on tackling the issue, I have decided to start a campaign against transphobia. The main problem with people, especially country people is lack of information on the topic. My plan is to do an awareness campaign from school to most places I know that people still practice acts of transphobia. Due to minimal funds, I will limit my campaign to my budget. I am planning to print posters with some meaningful information on transphobia, its effects, and what causes it. I am also willing to take a door to door campaign especially in my relative’s country town that is notorious for violence on transsexuals. Transphobia is mostly the mentality of the person practicing it, and is mostly as a result of lack of information. My main focus is on providing the required information by use of written material and also by word of mouth. I have witnessed many cases of transphobia that have given me a deeper insight on the issue. Before it takes shape, I am planning of doing a pilot project on the same at school, mainly by use of written material and speaking to my fellow students. In future, I am planning on finding sponsors to make my campaign countrywide, and if possible international.