Whilst trans people are gaining recognition and positive attention in some respects, many continue to experience discrimination and social exclusion in everyday life. This paper will illuminate violence outside the home – in the form of hate crime – and the interplay with transphobia (the irrational dislike of trans people) and cisgenderism (a prejudicial ideology based on notions of gender normativity). To-date, there is a rather limited body of work detailing trans people’s experiences of hate crime, with the tendency to subsume trans people’s narratives under the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) umbrella. This invisibility results in problems with detailing and examining the specificity of trans people’s hate crime experiences. Findings from a qualitative study that explored trans people’s experiences of domestic abuse, using narrative interviewing, will be presented. A total of twenty-four interviews were undertaken with trans people (n = 15) and domestic abuse practitioners (n = 9). Data was examined using a voice-centred relational technique. Whilst trans people were asked about domestic abuse, each participant provided narratives about their experience of abuse in public; with each constituting hate crime. Four narratives have been purposely selected to illuminate the workings of cisgenderism in relation to hate crime. This paper adds new insight and problematizes the entrenched nature of normative and dominant discourses about gender identity and practice.

Key Take Away Points

  • Trans people experience many forms of discrimination and social exclusion in everyday life; including hate crime.
  • Trans-related hate crime is hidden and significantly under-reported.
  • Hate crime intersects with transphobia (the irrational dislike of trans people) or cisgenderism (a prejudicial ideology based on notions of gender normativity).

Author Biography

Michaela has a professional and academic background in social care and is a registered social worker. Her practice experience ranges from statutory social work in children’s social care to voluntary sector management as well as frontline roles working with different groups of vulnerable people (young people, older people, women and children escaping domestic abuse). Currently, Michaela is the programme leader for the MA Social Work at the University of Salford and teaches across the School of Health & Society on a number of programmes. Michaela conducts qualitative research which centres on the needs of vulnerable and marginalised communities (including trans people, survivors of domestic abuse, homeless groups, and people with mental health difficulties).


Thanks are given to the people who participated in the original study and who freely offered their narratives of violence and abuse in private and public contexts.