This viral Twitter thread shows how transphobia can lead to discrimination and harassment of cis women too.
In the thread, the Twitter user lays out numerous examples of cis women who have been questioned over their gender identity in the past. Some of them are singers and actresses from the 90s, while some of these rumours have been circulating around women as recently as this year – such as about the singer Dua Lipa.
One example is Xscape, a girl group from the 90s who were originally told to dress and act in a ‘masculine’ manner so that people focused on their music.
Another is Wendy Williams, the TV show host and actress.
Another woman who has had transphobic remarks levelled at her is Megan thee Stallion.
These tweets show that transphobia – particularly against trans women, who are disproportionately more likely to suffer from violence – isn’t just an abstract fear that trans people have to deal with. When people can set the terms for who looks like a ‘real woman’ and who doesn’t, all it does is make society a harsher place to live in for anyone who doesn’t conform to certain gender norms.
This thread also makes it obvious that these questions are often racialised – many of the examples of women who faced scrutiny and harassment as a result of transphobia are black women, particularly black singers and actresses who are in the public eye.
In the UK, Boris Johnson is reportedly trying to table legislation which will make it harder for people to self identify in the UK. A recent report found that violence against LGBTQ people across the UK and the EU has risen, with trans and intersex people saying that they have experienced a disproportionate rise in discrimination and violence in the last years.