Check your U.S. voter registration status or register to vote here.

Do trans women ‘retain male pattern violence’?

Obviously not. But lets look at the claim, the evidence for it and see if we have any evidence to disprove the claim anyway. You know, for shits and giggles.

This claim is thrown around online an awful lot, especially by a lot of the TERFs I talk to. It’s their ultimate GOTCHA! as to why trans women should be considered men and kept out of muh female safe spaces, such as bathrooms. If there is a significantly increased risk of violence against women because of trans women, then they’ve got a good basis on which to continue arguing for sex segregated spaces.

So where did they get this idea from? It comes from a Swedish study which looked at a cohort of trans people across years to measure their outcomes. It’s the infamously misquoted and misrepresented Karolinska Institute study.

Image for post
Image for post

This study is so over misquoted and misrepresented that the author herself had to come forwards and give an interview to try and dispell the myths surrounding it. More on that later, first lets look at what the study actually says about violence regarding trans women.

Image for post
Image for post

regarding any crime, male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls (aHR 6.6; 95% CI 4.1–10.8) but not compared to males (aHR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5–1.2). This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality. The same was true regarding violent crime. By contrast, female-to-males had higher crime rates than female controls (aHR 4.1; 95% CI 2.5–6.9) but did not differ from male controls. This indicates a shift to a male pattern regarding criminality and that sex reassignment is coupled to increased crime rate in female-to-males. The same was true regarding violent crime.

In short what this paragraph says is that the crime rate amongst trans women doesn’t change compared to male controls, however the crime rate amongst trans men does in fact increase to be a lot closer to male controls. Both are significantly higher than female controls. The study also posits that this is linked to sex reassignment, however it doesn’t discuss what the link is.

The study doesn’t actually give any information on the kind of crimes trans people were committing, however the author of the study, Cecilia Djehne, gave an interview for TransAdvocate where she clears this misinformation right on up.

As to the criminality metric itself, we were measuring and comparing the total number of convictions, not conviction type. We were not saying that cisgender males are convicted of crimes associated with marginalization and poverty. We didn’t control for that and we were certainly not saying that we found that trans women were a rape risk. What we were saying was that for the 1973 to 1988 cohort group and the cisgender male group, both experienced similar rates of convictions.

Same rate of conviction, but no idea what the crimes were. Yes the study does remark on violent crime, but a crime such as a robbery where you push someone is considered a violent crime. This is the kind of crime which happens when you have people in conditions of poverty and is totally in line with both what the study’s data shows and what Djehne herself is saying about the study.

That still leaves us with trans people having a high crime rate vs female controls though doesn’t it? That’s still bad no? Well thankfully Djehne comes to the rescue again, showing how her study doesn’t actually support that trans people have male patterns of criminality.

The individual in the image who is making claims about trans criminality, specifically rape likelihood, is misrepresenting the study findings. The study as a whole covers the period between 1973 and 2003. If one divides the cohort into two groups, 1973 to 1988 and 1989 to 2003, one observes that for the latter group (1989–2003), differences in mortality, suicide attempts and crime disappear. This means that for the 1989 to 2003 group, we did not find a male pattern of criminality.

Well how about that. What is the reason Djehne gives for this though?

The difference we observed between the 1989 to 2003 cohort and the control group is that the trans cohort group accessed more mental health care, which is appropriate given the level of ongoing discrimination the group faces. What the data tells us is that things are getting measurably better and the issues we found affecting the 1973 to 1988 cohort group likely reflects a time when trans health and psychological care was less effective and social stigma was far worse.

So basically, trans people around post 2003 don’t have that male pattern criminality stuff, it was not measured amongst the cohort at all. The reason is because the crimes were poverty related crimes. As trans people gained more social and psychological support, the less of us were in poverty, the less of us were turning to being prostitutes or stealing things to feed ourselves.

And incase that wasn’t convincing enough for you, here’s a few extra little bits which prove this heck to be the lie that it actually is:

Image for post
Image for post

This is a report about transgender prisoners in the UK. The stats above are based on self reporting of gender, and as trans people I assume most of them are self reporting as their gender identity. This would imply that trans men massively out number trans women in our prison systems. It also shows that for every 1000 prisoners only 0.8 of them are transgender. That’s 1 in 1250 prisoners being trans.

That should probably have taken this piece of anti-trans propaganda to pieces. Lets put this horrendous smear to bed now, and if you see a TERF or anyone else lying to people about this. Send them this article. :) Have a good day! ❤

angry woman, writer, commissions welcome; bylines: @indyvoices. [Warning: I make fun of transphobes, a lot.] (she/her)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store