Gender Identity and Sexual Assault
People may assume that being visibly transgender or having a transgender history is a direct cause of sexual assault. There is some truth to this: A number of murders of transgender people (particularly transgender women of color) have taken place when new sexual partners "discover" their sexual partners were assigned male at birth and/or have a penis.18 This should not be used to blame transgender victims of assault. It is more accurate to observe that anti-transgender bias motivated the assaultnot the gender or genitals of the victim.
Some hate crimes and murders have included genital mutilation and sexual assault. One person reported a workplace rape related to the victim's transgender identity: "My close friend was sexually assaulted at work because he was trans. His job discouraged him to [sic] report it and fired him a week later."19 In other cases, perpetrators may be motivated by reasons that have nothing to do with the victim's perceived or actual gender.
When asked, "Was gender a contributing factor in the abuse/assault?" 29 percent of respondents to FORGE's 2005 survey said no, 42 percent said yes, 21 percent were unsure or didn't remember, and 8 percent gave other responses.20 It is contextually important to note that some respondents appear to believe that sexual assault only happens to women or people perceived to be female: