Is the word ‘Trap’ Transphobic?


A. Yes! It is transphobic and has in recent years replaced the term ‘Tranny‘ as a hate-crime Label as it is easy to shout and misuse.

There is a lot of debate around this word and the answer is quite simple. When it is used to describe a transgender person or someone designated male at birth, GQ or Gender Fluid (in this instance) who is presenting as female it is transphobic to use this term to describe them.

The problem seems to arise with the gaming community and especially those who stream on services such as Twitch and YouTube, or those who stream RP (Role-Play). Often young men in chat channels will address any transgender person, discussion about a person or character usually presenting as female as ‘A Trap‘. It is more closely linked to the negative label ‘Trap Queen’, as in a trans* woman who ‘tricks’ men into relationships. This is the context in use here and any other meaning from Asian languages, or slang for drug dens for example are irrelevant. As the context for those are very different.

If it is clear that this term is being directed at transgender people or even non-trans people presenting as female (fancy dress, acting, gaming or drag) then the term negatively objectifies trans*people as a deceit, a lie, or someone who is fraudulent in society. Someone who’s sole purpose is to trick men (in this instance) into sex. This quickly becomes linked with sex workers and the negative stereotypes that follow. That transgender women only present as female for sex with men. Which is untrue.


Amazon who acquired the gaming network Twitch have been quick to address transphobia, but with so many channels it requires individuals to clip and report any transphobia to Twitch Administrators when witnessed rather than get into an altercation in the chat itself, which would probably result in being removed from the stream and cause further distress.

See Twitch Community Guidelines.

Hateful conduct –

Hateful conduct is any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics, and is strictly prohibited:

Race, ethnicity, or national origin
Sex, Gender, or Gender Identity
Sexual Orientation
Disability or Medical Condition
Physical Characteristics
Veteran Status

Twitch should not be used to incite, encourage, promote, facilitate, or organize hateful conduct or harassment, whether on or off Twitch. We will suspend communities, organizations, and individuals that do so.

In the instance above it would be transphobic objectification to use the term ‘TRAP’ to describe anyone transgender or presenting as a female (in this instance) outside (IRL or a particular streamer playing a game) or within the game itself (as a character). However, as the audience for gaming is young it quickly finds its way into youth culture, schools and colleges. It should be reported as Hateful conduct whenever or wherever it is seen.