What is violence against trans women?

Trans women, or transgender women, are women whose gender differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. [1]

While gender-based violence affects all women (across the world, 1 in 3 (35%) of women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime) [2], the criminalisation of trans women in many places in the world, institutionalised bias and social stigma means they experience further threats of violence, denial of basic human rights, and arbitrary arrest by authorities and prosecution for sex work, cross dressing and consensual same-sex relations.


Types of violence against trans women

Violence against trans women comes in many forms. Trans women experience the same types of violence as cis women, and additional forms of discrimination and violence including, but not limited to:


The causes of violence against trans women

The factors or reasons that cause violence against trans women are complex, and include:


Some hard facts about violence against trans women

Here are some examples of violence against trans women in several countries. Please note that the lack of investment in data collection on violence against and killings of LGBTQ+ women, discrimination, fear of further violence, family “honour”, threats of blackmail, misgendering of victims and other factors contribute to  gross underreporting of violence against trans women around the world: [1]


The consequences of violence against trans women


Discrimination, stigma and bias when accessing healthcare means that trans women:


The prevention of trans women’s participation in economic, political and social spheres through the:

  • The disruption of young trans women’s education
  • The jeopardisation of trans women’s economic independence because of the employment and housing discrimination putting pressure on public social systems (including healthcare systems). [13]



  1. Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTQ+) Women”, United Nations Free & Equal
  2. “Violence against women”, World Health Organization
  3. “2015 US Transgender Survey”, U.S Trans Survey
  4. “Know Your Rights: Laws, Court Decisions, and Advocacy Tips to Protect Transgender Prisoners”, American Civil Liberties Union, National Center for Lesbian Rights
  5. “Four Years to Live: On Violence Against Trans Women of Color”, Huffpost
  6. “Exploring the Nexus of Religion and Gender and Sexual Minorities”, United States Institute of Peace
  7. “Still Hidden in the Closet: Trans Women and Domestic Violence”, VAWnet
  8. “Responding to Transgender Victims of Assault”, Office for Victims of Crime
  9. “Don’t Punish Me for Who I Am: Systemic Discrimination Against Transgender Women in Lebanon”, Human Rights Watch
  10. “Pakistan’s transgender women protest against rising tide of violence”, The Guardian
  11. “Fighting transphobia and violence one social media post at a time”, UNAIDS
  12. “Being Trans in the EU”, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
  13. Transgender People, The Gap Report 2014”, UNAIDS

Further Reading

  1. “Gender-based violence: lesbian and transgender women face the highest risk but get the least attention”, World Bank Blogs
  2. “Ending Abuse of Transgender Prisoners”, National Center for Transgender Equality
  3. “2020 Global AIDS Update”, UNAIDS
  4. “Trans-specific Power and Control Tactics”, FORGE
  5. “Trans women pose no threat to cis women, but we pose a threat to them if we make them outcasts”, The Guardian
  6. “Stop Killing Us: Black Transgender Women’s Lived Experiences”, Complex News

Resources for Trans Women

Video Credits and Further Viewing

  1. “Why are the rights of trans women under assault?”, UN Women

Picture Credits

  1. Photo by Brian Jiz via Pexels