The abuser can exploit the fact that a trans woman coming out or
contemplating transition is in a very vulnerable position. Or an abuser can turn her internalized transphobia against a trans woman who has transitioned. The abuser can insult her, claiming that she is not a “real woman,” that this is the best that she deserves, or that she will not have a better relationship. One trans woman recounts, “This woman, whom I’ll call Mary, was careful to tell me how beautiful I was to her. She was occasionally subtle and often not so subtle about using my trans status to tell me how no one could really love or accept me like her[…]”

Trans survivors in the U.K reported that their abusers convinced them that this was just how a normal relationship was for a trans
person or for a lesbian if this was her first relationship with another woman since transitioning. Many trans people have discomfort with their bodies, possibly centered on certain features. In an attempt to denigrate a trans woman, the abuser, building on that discomfort, may force her to engage in sexual activity focused on that portion of her anatomy. Overall, the abuser can attempt to reinforce a trans woman’s negative self-image to make her vulnerable to the abuser’s control.

An abuser may control a trans woman’s ability to live her life in her chosen gender. A Scottish survey found that a third of the trans domestic violence survivors had partners who had either restricted or stopped them from expressing their gender identity through their clothing choices or through what name or pronouns they selected. An additional way that abusers dominate trans women is by controlling their access to medical care in one of two ways. Some abusers may try to deny their trans partners access to gender-affirming medical care, such as hormones. Conversely, others might try to coerce their trans partners into undergoing medical intervention that they may not desire.

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