Sexism, Heterosexism, and Trans Oppression


'Ask Me': What LGBTQ Students Want Their Professors to Know

bell hooks and Laverne Cox Discuss "What is Feminism?" at The New School

The Bad Samaritan, “60 Minutes,” part 1 of 2, 7min. 36 sec.

The Bad Samaritan, “60 Minutes,” part 2 of 2, 5 min. 44 sec.

“Politically Reactive” Podcast (Janet Mock on Surpassing Certainty (scroll down)

Discussion Questions


  1. How do the authors of selections in this Section define sex, gender identity, sexuality, and gender expression?  How do their definitions confirm and/or contradict the ways you have understood these terms?  How do they confirm and/or contradict each other?
  2. What language and concepts used in this section were new to you (e.g., queer, cisgender, misogyny, patriarchy)?  How do you understand that language from the pieces you read?  What additional information would like you to explore? 
  3. What roles have institutions—such as the medical system, the police, the courts, religion, and the media—played in the construction of gender and sexuality?
  4. What are examples of exclusion and marginalization of women, LGBQ, and transgender people in the United States?  How have other forms of oppression (e.g., racism, classism, religious oppression, youth oppression) intersected with sexism, heterosexism, and trans* oppression?
  5. Pick one or two of the articles in this chapter that are written by someone who describes different life experience than yours.  Consider the perspective(s) of the author.  How does their point of view and experiences shape your perspectives and help you develop empathy? 
  6. What topics, perspectives, or concepts were left out?  What questions remain unanswered for you?


  1. For each of the personal narratives included in this Section: What could you relate to?  What did you learn that was new for you?  What questions does it bring up for you?
  2. How do the narratives speak to how you have learned about the “realness” of gender and sexuality?
  3. How do the narratives complicate and clarify sexuality as an identity?  What are examples of how the narratives speak to various experiences of gender?
  4. What impression did the various readings in this section have on you? What did they teach you about the ways systems of oppression impact individuals and society as a whole?


  1. “Cisgender” is a relatively new word used to describe people whose assigned sex and gender identity line up in the ways generally expected in their culture and the dominant culture—in other words, people who are not trans*.  What difference does it make to describe cisgender people as “cisgender” rather than as “not trans?”  Why do you think trans* people would want to have a word for that?
  2. What action can you take or what will you do differently after reading this section on Sexism, Heterosexism, and Trans* Oppression?
  3. What do you need to learn more to develop your own thinking about sexism?  Heterosexism?  Trans* oppression?  And the intersections between these forms of oppression?
  4. Are you aware of resources, supports, programs, or groups for women, LGBQ people, and/or trans* people on your campus/community/state?  Consider the social environment, overall level of awareness, restroom options, sexual harassment policies, shelters in town, housing policies, identity documents, sports teams, support and ally groups.  How could the environment where you live and work improve to be more inclusive of women, LGBQ people, and trans* people?
  5. If feminism is really just about creating a society where women are fundamentally equal and gender is not a location of oppression, why is there such resistance to it in the United States?  Where do trans* people fit in the notion of feminism?  How will a feminist approach to gender issues in this country free not only women and trans* folks, but also those who identify as men and boys?
  6. What does allyship mean to you?  How can you engage in allyship as a part of your personal and professional life?  Are there any risks of allyship, and if so, if you have any anxieties or fears, how can you overcome your fears of advocating for others with marginalized identities that you do not hold?


Next Steps

  • Kate Bornstein 

    Writer, activist, and guest lectures.

  • Leslie Feinberg

    Writer, activist, and guest speaker.

  • National Center for Transgender Equality 

    The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) is a 501(c)3 social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment.

  • PISSAR—People In Search of Safe and Accessible Restrooms

    PISSAR's checklist to assess the accessibility of university and other public restrooms for transgender people, people with disabilities, and parents with young children.

  • Safe2Pee 

    The goal of the project is to create a resource where people who do not feel comfortable with traditional public restrooms can find safe alternatives, and to support advocacy and research to further the cause of gender free, inclusive bathrooms.

  • Sylvia Rivera Law Project

    The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social, and economic justice. Therefore, SRLP seeks to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. SRLP believes that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.

  • Trans Academics is the flagship project of the Association for Gender Research, Education, Academia and Action (AGREAA), and is designed to provide educational and community resources for those with an academic or personal interest in the spectrum of gender identities. The website includes: a reference library, community networking tools, e-mail list-serve options, research tools and educational materials to assist you with your work, and a community announcements area. This website is an excellent resource for those looking to do research on trans-related and gender topics, as well as those who are looking for curriculum resources.

  • Transgender Etiquette/Respect/Support 101 

    Micah Bazant's article provides some basic guidelines on how to act as an ally to individual trans people.

  • Transgender Day of Remembrance 

    The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester's murder—like most anti-transgender murder cases—has yet to be solved.

  • Think Again Training

    Co-editors of the Transgender Oppression chapter Chase Catalano and Davey Shlasko offer customized trainings and presentations on transgender issues for college and university campuses. Their website also includes a downloadable trans terminology handout and other training resources.

  • Translate 

    Translate advocates self-determination through thoughtful self-education. The resources page is divided into two sections: trans/gender and queer and social change and activism. Both sections provide the framework for you to educate yourself not only about concerns specific to trans and/or gender non-conforming individuals, but broader concerns of oppression based on race, economic status, class, age, size, ability, citizenship, education, employment status, national origin, and religion.

National and International Organizations


  • AIDS Action

    AIDS Action's mission is to advocate on a national level for people living with or affected byHIV/AIDS and the organizations that serve them.

  • AIDSinfo

    AIDSinfo is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) project that offers the latest federally approved information on HIV/AIDS clinical research, treatment and prevention, and medical practice guidelines for people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and friends, health care providers, scientists, and researchers.

Advocacy, Community, Legal, Political, Support

  • American Veterans for Equal Rights

    A non-profit, chapter-based association of active, reserve and veteran service members dedicated to full and equal rights and equitable treatment for all present and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.


    BiNet USA facilitates the development of a cohesive network of independent bisexual and bi-friendly communities; promotes bisexual, pansexual and bi-inclusive visibility; and collects and distributes educational information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with an emphasis on the bisexual and pansexual and allied communities.

  • Bisexual Resource Center

    The Bisexual Resource Center envisions a world where love is celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. Because bisexuals today are still misunderstood, marginalized and discriminated against, the BRC is committed to providing support to the bisexual community and raising public awareness about bisexuality and bisexual people.

  • Deaf Queer Resource Center

    The Deaf Queer Resource Center (DQRC) is a national non-profit resource and information center for, by and about the Deaf Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex and Questioning communities (hereafter referred to as the “Deaf Queer community”).

  • Freedom to Marry Coalition

    Freedom to Marry is the LGBT and heterosexual partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. They promote the national conversation about why marriage equality matters while bringing together partner organizations into a larger whole, a shared civil rights campaign.

  • Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

    The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society

    We are the Gay and Lesbian Arabic Society (GLAS), an international organization established in 1988 in the USA with worldwide chapters. We serve as a networking organization for Gays and Lesbians of Arab descent or those living in Arab countries. We aim to promote positive images of Gays and Lesbians in Arab communities worldwide, in addition to combating negative portrayals of Arabs within the Gay and Lesbian community. We also provide a support network for our members while fighting for our human rights wherever they are oppressed. We are part of the global Gay and Lesbian movement seeking an end to injustice and discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  • Gay and Lesbian Association of Retiring Persons

    The Gay and Lesbian Association of Retiring Persons, Inc. ® is a non-profit corporation formed in 1996 by co-founders Mary Thorndal and Veronica St. Claire to call attention to the aging issues in the GLBT community.

  • Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund

    The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund identifies, trains, and elects LGBT leaders to all levels of office, in every corner of America.

  • GenderPAC

    GenderPAC is a human rights organization based in Washington, DC working toward their stated aim of ensuring classrooms, communities, and workplaces are safe places for every person to learn, grow, and succeed, whether or not they conform to expectations of masculinity or femininity. GenderPAC also aims to promote understanding of the connection between discrimination based on gender stereotypes and gender, sexual orientation, age, race, and socioeconomic class.

  • Human Rights Campaign

    HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs. HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals and families at the federal and state levels by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBT organizations.

  • Immigration Equality

    Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV status. Through education, outreach, advocacy, and the maintenance of a nationwide network of resources, we provide information and support to advocates, attorneys, politicians and those who are threatened by persecution or the discriminatory impact of the law.

  • International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association

    The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association is a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people everywhere.

  • Intersex Society of North America

    The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) is devoted to systemic change to end shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for people born with an anatomy that someone decided is not standard for male or female.

  • Lambda Legal

    Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

  • Matthew Shepard Foundation

    The Matthew Shepard Foundation understands that like the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the murder of Matthew stands as a watershed moment in civil rights. The Foundation works in collaboration with the LGBTQ movement and is committed to fighting for inclusive hate crimes legislation.

  • National Center for Lesbian Rights

    The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

  • National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

    The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) addresses the pervasive problem of violence committed against and within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a coalition of programs that document and advocate for victims of anti-LGBT and anti-HIV/AIDS violence/harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, police misconduct and other forms of victimization.

  • National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce

    The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement's premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all.

  • Out and Equal

    Our mission is to educate and empower organizations, human resource professionals, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and individual employees through programs and services that result in equal policies, opportunities, practices, and benefits in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or characteristics.

  • Pride at Work

    National Pride at Work is affiliated as the newest constituency group of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.) Pride at Work's mission is to mobilize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community while organizing for social and economic justice.

  • Service Members Legal Defense Network

    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” (DADT). We provide free, confidential legal services to all those impacted by DADT and related discrimination. Since 1993, our in-house legal team has responded to more than 9,000 requests for assistance. In Congress, we are leading the fight to repeal DADT and replace it with a law that ensures equal treatment for every service member, regardless of sexual orientation. In the courts, we work to challenge the constitutionality of DADT.

Youth and Schools

  • Campus Pride

    Campus Pride represents the only national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students. The organization is a volunteer-driven network “for” and “by” student leaders. The primary objective of Campus Pride is to develop necessary resources, programs and services to support LGBT and ally students on college and university campuses across the United States.

  • Children of Lesbian and Gays Everywhere

    COLAGE is a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parent/s. We build community and work toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.

  • Consortium of Higher Education Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Professionals

    The combined vision and mission of the Consortium is to achieve higher education environments in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni have equity in every respect. Our goals are to support colleagues and develop curriculum to professionally enhance this work; to seek climate improvement on campuses; and to advocate for policy change, program development, and establishment of LGBT Office/Centers.

  • Delta Lambda Phi

    Delta Lambda Phi is a national fraternity providing social, service, and recreational activities for gay, bisexual, and progressive men since 1986. We are one of the fastest growing fraternities with more than 25 chapters and 7 colonies across the nation. Feel free to browse around our website for more information.

  • Family Equality Coalition

    We envision a future where all families, regardless of creation or composition, will be able to live in communities that recognize, respect, protect, and celebrate them. We envision a country that celebrates a diversity of family constellations and respects individuals for supporting one another and sustaining loving families.

  • Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network

    GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.

  • Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

    PFLAG promotes the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays provides opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.

Religion and Spirituality

  • Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons

    Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons serves the needs of gay Mormon women and men, as well as bisexual and transgender LDS and their supportive family and friends, through social and educational activities. Affirmation's mission is to provide a forum for gay Mormons to associate with their peers. We seek to meet the needs of persons experiencing frustration or alienation from family, friends, and the Church because of their sexual orientation.

  • Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns

    As an independent voice of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, Affirmation radically reclaims the compassionate and transforming gospel of Jesus Christ by relentlessly pursuing full inclusion in the Church as we journey with the Spirit in creating God's beloved community.

  • Al-Fatiha

    Al-Fatiha is dedicated to Muslims of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, and questioning or exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity (LGBTIQQ), and their families, friends and allies.

  • Dignity USA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Catholics

    DignityUSA envisions and works for a time when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society.

  • Integrity: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Episcopalians

    Integrity is a non-profit organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Episcopalians and our straight friends. Integrity has been the leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the Episcopal Church and our equal access to its rites.

  • Interweave: Unitarian Universalists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns

    Interweave Continental is a membership organization actively working toward ending oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity, recognizing that we will not be free until all oppression is a thing of the past. We are a Unitarian Universalist organization and UU principles guide our work. We value and affirm the lives and experience of Queer people of faith, regardless of their age, race, ethnicity, income level, and ability. By providing and supporting leadership and working in collaboration with other organizations of similar vision, we strive to connect and nurture all Queer individuals, communities, and groups and their allies.

  • Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Humanist Council, The 

    A project of the American Humanist Association, is a forum for LGBT humanists from across the country to exchange ideas on local organizing, find support in coming out as LGBT (and a humanist), and to speak out with one voice on issues of concern to the LGBT-humanist community!

  • Lutherans Concerned

    Working at the intersection of oppressions, Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) embodies, inspires, advocates and organizes for the acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners.

  • World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga'avah

    The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga'avah consists of around 50 member organizations in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The World Congress holds conferences and workshops representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews around the world. The focus of these sessions varies from regional, national, continental, to global.

  • For a more complete list of LGBT organizations, see the following website:


Further Resources

An LGBTIQ History: Part 1

The first of a four-part of an extensive LGBTIQ history from before the common era to the present.

LGBT People under the Nazi Regime

This unique presentation investigates the life and times of LGBT people leading up to and under the Nazi regime. It is a story of Surveillance, Interrogation, Censorship, Incarceration, Brutalization, Mutilation, Murder, but it is also a story of Resistance and Resiliency of the human spirit.

Examining Heterosexual and Cisgender Privilege

Based on Peggy McIntosh’s (1988) pioneering investigations of white and male privilege, we can, by analogy, understand heterosexual and cisgender privilege as constituting a seemingly invisible, unearned, and largely unacknowledged array of benefits accorded to heterosexuals and cisgender people with which they often unconsciously walk through life as if effortlessly carrying knapsacks tossed over their shoulders. This presentation examines the contents of these knapsacks.

Social Contexts of Youth Bullying

This presentation addresses how bullying and harassment are not simply youth problems and behaviors, but rather, it looks at the ways that young people often acquire bullying and harassing attitudes and behaviors from the larger society through process of “social learning.”