Sexual violence and safety: the narratives of transwomen in online forums Academic Article uri icon


  • An online forum analysis was conducted to explore experiences of sexual violence and safety among transwomen, with a particular focus on transwomen of colour. Four online forums were chosen for the analysis. Three key themes were identified: dating and violence in intimate relationships; fear of violence and safety strategies; and coping after sexual assault. Forum posters faced heightened gender policing and scrutiny, due to not conforming to normative ideals of femininity. Femininity was also predicated on white, middle-class status, and associated with domesticity and romance. As a result, expressions of femininity from non-white backgrounds could be read as deviant or excessive. The intersection of deviation from gender norms and femininity based on whiteness meant that transwomen of colour faced disproportionate levels of violence, both in public and private spaces. Transwomen of colour also faced disadvantage due to participation in higher-risk forms of sex work, low socioeconomic status and employment, and institutional discrimination. Coping mechanisms to deal with cumulative disadvantage included seeking support from health professionals and transgender community networks. However, it also included more harmful forms of self-medicating such as heavy alcohol and drug use, self-harm and suicide attempts.


  • Noack-Lundberg, Kyja
  • Liamputtong, Pranee
  • Marjadi, Brahm
  • Ussher, Jane
  • Perz, Janette
  • Schmied, Virginia
  • Dune, Tinashe
  • Brook, Eloise

publication date

  • January 1, 2020