Why Transphobia is just Reused Misogyny

Alexander Petrovnia
5 min readApr 19, 2021

The moral panic that is the primary argument for legislating against trans people is completely and deeply rooted in misogyny and rape culture: a brief thread

Tw for discussion of medicine, genitals, reproduction/pregnancy, assault, medical abuse, abortion, and transphobia

Moral panic arguments are typically presented in the format of encouraging people to “think of the children!” but this is a misrepresentation.

It is the same misrepresentation utilized in “pro-life” arguments, which focus almost exclusively on perpetuating pregnancy rather than alleviating any conditions (social, financial, physical, mental) that would prevent someone from carrying a pregnancy or raising a child.

This strategy takes systemic issues surrounding medicine, feminism, and childcare, and instead presents them as a fully individual issue. The focus is put on individuals, under excruciating circumstances, being forced to make challenging decisions about their bodies and lives.

The logical fallacy here is obvious when looked at in the big picture; evaluating individual choices without any systemic factors being considered is absurd. The pro-choice movement, fundamentally, is not about abortion, but about allowing individuals to retain bodily autonomy.

The moral panic around trans people and the moral panic against reproductive care access follow a near-identical playbook.

Bodily autonomy is systemically denied to individuals by harnessing societal misogyny.

This is particularly represented in how gendered the abuses directed at trans people are.

The primary argument against trans women is made on the basis that they don’t “count” as women due to anatomical differences, particularly those centered around reproduction.

Those familiar with… the entire goal of feminism will recognize the fact that reducing women to their reproductive organs is misogynistic. Praising and valuing women for nothing besides pregnancy is misogynistic. Only valuing women for reproductive ability is misogynistic.

The primary argument made against trans men is that we are somehow “betraying our womanhood”. This, almost invariably, comes down to the argument that because the majority of trans men do not wish to be pregnant, that we are no longer of value as “women”.

The same arguments are often leveled at cis women who don’t wish to be pregnant or who seek medical care perceived to be related to reproduction, such as abortions, breast surgery, hysterectomies, tube-ties, etc.

People with uteruses are constantly barraged with these arguments.

We are told that we will change our minds when we are older. We are told that we might meet someone who does want us to be pregnant (and whose opinion then would supersede ours). We are told we must get permission from our male partners for our own reproductive care.

We are told we are selfish for not prioritizing being pregnant above every other aspect of our lives. We are told we will be seen as less valuable.

The majority of people so strongly equate pregnancy and womanhood that they don’t realize the inherent misogyny behind that.

Womanhood isn’t determined by reproduction. To reduce women, or womanhood, to the ability to be pregnant, is deeply misogynistic.

Women deserve better.

Funnily enough, this seems to be a broadly understood concept among liberal thinking, but is rarely extrapolated to trans people.

The abuse of trans people is directly tied to the systemic devaluing of women, and the equating of women’s value to their ability to be pregnant. Trans women are considered to “not count” as women based on anatomy. Trans men are considered “failed women” based on our choices.

Both of these assertions depend on defining a “worthwhile woman” as someone who becomes pregnant and gives birth. This is misogyny.

The fact that TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) cannot discern this underlying belief shows that they themselves have internalized it.

Once you see transphobia as the extension of misogyny that it is, you will see it everywhere. You will see it in every transphobic argument and fearmongering comment.

No one who calls themselves a feminist should support state control of reproduction.

Because that’s exactly what anti-trans bills stem from. Criminalizing transgender medical care is state reproductive control. Anti-trans “activists” know this. The line that is parroted constantly is that these bills are to prevent the “sterilization of children”.

Firstly, puberty blockers are the only medical transition care offered to those too young to legally make medical decisions. They have a long history of usage and a record of being safe, including for reproductive organs. They simply delay puberty until the child is of age.

Secondly, it doesn’t matter. Because anti-trans rhetors know exactly what they are harnessing with these arguments. The terror that children will be “sterilized” stems directly from the assumption that reproduction is what creates a woman’s value.

This is especially transparent as a tactic when trans masculine people are the primary targets for fearmongering about children “being sterilized”. The common argument is that these “poor, naive girls” are being “tricked” into giving up “their true value as women” — their uterus.

This is, as observant members of the audience may see: based on the deeply misogynistic premise that women do not deserve bodily autonomy, especially where it relates to reproduction, and that women have no value outside of pregnancy and reproduction.

Perhaps one of the most apt examples of this is a piece of writing that is currently wildly popular and being used to justify a surge in anti-trans sentiment, legislation and abuse.

This book is titled, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters”. This language is specifically designed to stir up fear and rage rooted in societal misogynistic assumptions.

The idea that medical care — sought out and confirmed with informed consent — is “damage” is rooted in the idea that women who do not become pregnant are “damaged goods” and thus useless, unwomanly and morally depraved. This is misogynistic.

The language of “seduce” is used intentionally as well. The children discussed in this subject line are being intentionally sexualized by the author — because this argument is based on the assumption that children assigned female at birth have no value besides future pregnancy.

The phrasing “seducing our daughters” is also wholly implicative of the assumption that 1) women do not have their own sexual agency, 2) girls must be restricted in the name of “protection” because 3) their value lies in their sexual purity and reproduction.

This is misogyny.

I’ll add that calling trans rights progressing a “craze” is ableist.

Trans rights are inherently tied to feminism because they stem from the same root cause of limiting womanhood and women’s freedoms. Bodily autonomy is a feminist issue. Medical access is a feminist issue. Trans rights are a feminist issue. #TERFsArentFeminists #TransWomenareWomen

Anti-trans legislation is on a massive rise in the United States. Cis voices will be heard.

Please speak up for us to your legislators. The anti-trans rhetoric explained in this thread is being heard in the halls of government, and it has a body count.


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Alexander Petrovnia

I am a disabled trans man who primarily writes about feminism, queer history, trans issues, science communication, healthy masculinity and public health.