Q: A trans woman once said something angry and violent to me; does this prove that trans women perpetrate male violence?

A: Let’s break down the different things that are wrong with this argument.

You can’t blame the actions of one person on everybody in the group. Different trans women are different people. Treating them as interchangeable is transphobic and sexist.

Violence is not unique to men. Women also commit rape and sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, homicide, and workplace bullying. When a woman behaves violently, it’s not male violence. It’s just violence (which is still wrong, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator).

Your interpretation of the behavior as violent or threatening may be influenced by a double standard. People often classify a trans woman’s behavior as threatening or violent in cases where they would accept the same behavior from a cis woman. This double standard is not so different from the one that says that cis women are angry and violent when they behave in ways that would be considered acceptable coming from a cis man.

This Twitter thread documents examples of cis women deploying arguably violent tactics in pursuit of feminist goals: political uses of violent jokes; politicized images of weapons; violent tactics including assault and arson in the fight for women’s suffrage; violent rhetoric (or sometimes physical attacks) aimed by women at other women. Some of the tactics in the thread are morally acceptable, and some are not, but none of them show that cis women are disposed to commit male violence. (What would that even mean?) Similar behavior by trans women does not show that trans women are disposed to commit male violence. (Again, what would that even mean?)

So to sum up: Trans women are human beings, and therefore are capable of anger and violence (both justified and unjustified). But there’s no evidence that trans women are more prone to these behaviors than other people, nor is there any reason for labeling these behaviors “male” when a trans woman displays them.

Further reading