Follow TV Tropes


Trans Tribulations

Go To
Dysphoria is a devil of a problem.
"I feel... in-between. I don't feel like a girl or what everyone thinks is a girl, I don't like make-up and stuff like you do, I really, really hate my boobs... but I don't feel like a boy either."
Yael Baron, genderqueer character, Degrassi: Next Class

Transgender (or trans) folk face a lot of challenges in life. While a minority of the world is starting to understand and tolerate people with sexual/romantic leanings towards people of their own gender, many still scratch their heads at someone who doesn't identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. As a result, trans/non-binary characters in fiction tend to be miserable due to dealing with their own gender dysphoria and/or other people's misconceptions.

Common themes include being forcibly outed to disastrous consequences, being referred to as the wrong pronoun (sometimes deliberately), having parents who Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child, being Mistaken for Gay (though some trans individuals certainly are gay, most people tend to think heterosexual trans individuals are confused gay people) or a crossdresser, and more often than not, Self-Harm, dying of suicide or being murdered due to being trans. And on the opposite side of the spectrum, there are people who really like trans people, but sexualize them to the point of dehumanization.


Unfortunately, this is Truth in Television; however starting from the end of the Turn of the Millennium to The New '20s, there have been slightly better attempts to deliver more uplifting narratives and more fully actualized characters.

Trans Relationship Troubles is a sub-trope revolving around transgender characters having difficulty dating. See Gayngst and Bi-Wildered for the equivalent of this trope as applied to sexuality rather than gender, Intersex Tribulations for an intersex equivalent, and Gender Bender Angst for Gender Bender-related dysphoria. Often related to Forced Out of the Closet. Super-Trope of Out of the Closet, Into the Fire. Contrast Easy Sex Change, which is short on tribulations.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sara from Ai no Shintairiku is a high schooler who gets outed on her first day at her new school. While generally light-hearted, the manga deals with her in-denial mother, Sara being bullied by girls for being trans, and her crush's confusion over his sexuality.
  • Marika from Bokura no Hentai shows deep displeasure wearing the male school uniform — saying it feels like she's going to a funeral — and stays home in bed crying when her voice begins to break. Luckily, she comes out to her mom soon afterward and begins living full-time as a girl. However, even then she feels dysphoria, worries about her womanhood, and suffers some bullying (mostly from behind her back)
  • BREAK THE BORDER is about a high schooler named Sei who's on an all-girls basketball team. The end of the first chapter reveals that Sei is a closeted trans boy. Though not the main crux of the manga, Sei's dysphoria and feelings towards gender play a role in the story.
  • Claudine...! is about a trans man living in early 20th century France. He faces many trials trying to be seen as male in his society. He is Driven to Suicide when his lover becomes engaged to his brother.
  • The one-shot Cotton Candy Love is about a woman who bonds with an elementary-aged trans girl who recently came out and is bullied at school.
  • Chaplin from the Deadman Wonderland manga is a trans woman who was put in jail when she still lived as a man. She was jailed for accidentally murdering her boyfriend when she found him cheating. Though Chaplin is mostly a light-hearted character who is Played for Laughs, she does deal with some bullying when she's put in another jail and forced to de-transition.
  • Family Compo: The overarching plot involves Masahiko coming to terms with his adoptive family being a transgender couple and their (most-likely) genderfluid teenager; he's initially very uncomfortable and dismissive over their preferred identities, to the point of hoping that requesting his parents dress as their biological sex during his university's entrance ceremony will make them suddenly stop being trans.
  • In Fire Punch, Togata is revealed to be a transgender man. He'd been harboring some severe dysphoria issues for some time due to the Healing Factor nature of the world's population rendering his body impossible to undergo sex-change surgery. While he's still troubled with his situation regardless, opening up about it to Agni makes him feel less alone now that there is at least someone who finally understands and sympathizes with his pain.
  • Hishida from Genkaku Picasso is almost Driven to Suicide after being caught in the girl's bathroom. The protagonist helps her and afterwards, she begins going to school as a girl.
  • Akari from How I Became a Pokémon Card has always told people that he's male. Not even his Childhood Friend knew he wasn't cis until he began middle school and his mother forced him to wear a skirt, and demanded he act more feminine and use "watashi" instead of "ore". Akari is given a Pikachu for his thirteenth birthday and is angry that he received a "cute" Pokémon instead of a "cool" one. After seeing his Pikachu fight, he learns that the two aren't exclusive.
  • Played with in Hunter × Hunter. Alluka is heavily implied to be a transgender girl. The only member of her family that refers to her as a girl is Killua, while the rest of the family ignore her and call her "it". However, this isn't due to her gender — it's due to her Split Personality.
  • Celebrity stylist Nao from Ice Revolution is already transitioned but it's mentioned that, as a teenager, she was a violent Japanese Delinquent as a way of dealing with her frustration over her sex.
  • Kanojo ni Naritai Kimi to Boku is about a 15-year-old girl and her trans Childhood Friend. Her friend has recently decided to be out about being trans, but she's Forced Out of the Closet on her first day.
  • Kyou Kara Yonshimai is about a trans woman who returns from college partway through her transition. She has to deal with her sister's discomfort over the transition and her own gender dysphoria.
  • Mikihisa from Level E is a trans guy, who also turns out to be intersex. This gives him no small amount of stress. Ultimately, an alien changes his sex.
  • The sidekick character in the manga Leviathan is a trans woman; the two main characters (who are her friends!) take every opportunity to point out that she's "not really a woman". It's Played for Laughs, although one may not find it terribly funny.
  • In Liar Game. Yuuji Fukunaga, an M-to-F transgender person, is introduced as a rather stereotypical villain but quickly becomes a sympathetic ally to Nao and Akiyama.
  • Seiko from Lovely Complex is usually a light-hearted character however in one manga chapter her voice broke. She was so distraught over her low, manly voice that she ended up outright de-transitioning. She's eventually able to get her old voice back after getting a needle for a cold.
  • Mogumo from Love Me For Who I Am is a non-binary teenager who struggles to live in a world where everyone sees them as either a boy or a girl. Even Mei, a closet trans girl, doesn't initially understand Mogumo. Mogumo is hired for a Cosplay Café but hits an issue because it's a crossdressing cafe. Mogumo dislikes being seen as a boy, but eventually their co-workers find a compromise.
  • Kiyoharu from Magical Girl Site is a trans girl. She is bullied for this, which results in her being contacted by the Mahou Shoujo Site.
  • Minor character Alice from Maria Watches Over Us is a trans girl who goes to an all-boys school. She wishes she could have gone to the local all-girls school instead.
  • The third story in the anthology manga Mascara Blues is about a trans girl who wants to come out to her crush. She's worried he'll freak out when he tells her. She is also shown being bullied by her female peers for using the girl's restroom.
  • Used lightly in one of the stories in the yuri anthology manga Mermaid Line. A couple breaks up because the "boyfriend" has decided to transition. After some confusion, the two eventually hook back up. The trans woman has some insecurities and thinks that her girlfriend is cheating on her with a man, however, it turns out to be a misunderstanding.
  • Despite his Easy Sex Change in Moriarty the Patriot, James Bond spends most of The Adventure of the Four Servants questioning his gender identity and remaining unsure of exactly how he identifies.
  • The short one-shot manga Niku wo Hagu is about Chiaki, a young trans man who has been undergoing testosterone injections for about a year but is still not out to his dad, who doesn't allow him to go hunting with him as he sees it as an inappropriate activity "for girls." He also has heavy dysphoria related to his chest, which isn't helped by the comments he receives on his Youtube videos.
  • Sazanami Cherry:
    • It's implied that Ren is transgender, not a Wholesome Crossdresser. They're at the cusp of puberty and are distressed over the upcoming changes.
    • Ren's older sister went through a lot of trouble as a teenager when she decided to start living as a girl. Their age difference is so large that Ren didn't even know that their sister was trans.
  • Sket Dance: The new board director's troubled son Yuuki. Yuuki has been bullied at school for being trans and won't speak due to his feminine-sounding voice.
  • This is mostly Played for Laughs in the 1980s manga Stop Hibari Kun. Hibari is heavily implied to be a transgender teenager. Her yakuza father is awestruck that his "only son" lives as a girl.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: It is ambiguous as to whether Mutsuki Tooru fits this or not, due to Ambiguous Gender Identity. He has body dysphoria partly from being made to dress as a girl. He also gets a stalker named Torso who objectifies him, misgenders him as a woman, and assaults him. He has a lot of angst over his gender identity.
  • Wandering Son:
    • Shūichi Nitori is a trans girl. She's always been feminine and could pass as a short-haired girl sometimes, however she didn't really start experimenting with her gender until she met Takatsuki in fifth grade. Early on, Nitori's family found it amusing when she dressed as a girl but eventually they noticed it wasn't a phase. Her sister Maho especially turned into a Big Sister Bully while her mother is confused and in denial. Nitori has to deal with the onset of puberty, puberty itself, and her wanting to be seen as a girl. At one point in middle school, she went to school in a Sailor Fuku and was promptly sent back home. She ended up bullied the rest of her time at the school. Her girlfriend Anna broke up with her due to the incident, but eventually, they got back together and by the end of high school Anna mentions she's fine with being seen as a lesbian. In high school, Nitori has difficulty getting a job because she doesn't like working as a boy. She temporarily worked as a cafe both as a boy and a girl, but later quit and (illegally) got a job working as a waitress at a gay bar. With Yuki's (who owns a gay bar) guidance, Nitori ultimately decides to go to college and become a writer.
    • Yoshino Takatsuki is introduced as a trans boy. They have to deal with everyone wanting them to be more feminine, their own confusion over their gender, and the onset of puberty. By high school, Takatsuki's confusion hits its peak. They ultimately decide to live as female however Word of God is that they can be viewed as either cis or trans.
    • Cool Big Sis Yuki Yoshida is a trans woman. In middle school, bullies forced her to wear the female uniform at school. This incident caused her to quit going to school and become a hikikomori. As a kid, her mother knew she had an interest in women's clothing however she refused to talk about it. Once Yuki came out as an adult, both of her parents became cold towards her.
    • Makoto Ariga is a trans girl who always felt inadequate compared to Nitori. She considers herself a bland, freckle-faced dork with Nerd Glasses. Mako suffers from less physical dysphoria than Nitori, however, unlike Nitori she is attracted to men. Unluckily, every crush is straight and doesn't see her as a girl In high school Mako almost drops out when her crush Oka sees her in girl mode. He didn't even know it was her, however. Mako later comes out to her mother, who is supportive.
    • Ebina is older than even Yuki and works as a Salary Man. She's recently been widowed and has a toddler-aged daughter. She wants to live as a woman but her situation and inability to pass causes her a lot of trouble.
  • Aoi from You're Under Arrest! has one episode where she falls for a man however doesn't know how to tell him that she's a trans woman. It ultimately doesn't work out between them. In another episode, her former boss tries to coax her to act manly, however it bombs in his face as every attempt accentuates how feminine she is.
  • Tetsuo from Yuureitou is a trans man living in 1950s Japan. Growing up, he felt ostracized from others due to not being like the girls at his orphanage. Once he was adopted, his mother would always get into fights over him about his boyish behavior and explicit desire to be a man. It got to the point where she arranged a marriage for him, despite him not liking boys at the time. Tetsuo ended up killing his mom, faking his suicide, and running off as a man. Tetsuo notes that he can't get a girlfriend because they all get upset when he comes out to them. He eventually ends up the Official Couple with Taichi, who sees him as a man.
  • Zombie Land Saga: Lily Hoshikawa is a young transgender girl which caused her to experience gender dysphoria when she started growing body hair. Her father tried to calm her down by telling her it was natural and she had to accept she was growing up. Unfortunately, this only made her more frustrated because she was afraid she would grow up to look like her rather Gonkish father. This is, in fact, the cause of her early death; Lily was so horrified when she grew her first facial hair that, due to already being overworked and having to deal with a father/manager who seemed to care more for her as an actress than as a daughter, she experienced a fatal heart attack. As a zombie, she's happy that she doesn't have to worry about such things anymore.

    Comic Books 
  • Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms involves Beatrice, a chearleader and trans girl. The book is more about her relationship with former friend Annie, but does include the way she faces microaggressions (even from her own friends and teammates) and outright hostility from transphobes.
  • Gender Queer: A Memoir is an autobiographical Coming-Out Story about a genderqueer person's life. Maia sorts out their gender as he grows up and eventually comes out. He deals with a lot of dysphoria and backlash throughout their youth.
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker is about a genderfluid prince who has a double life where he wears dresses. He keeps it a secret due to fear of ostracism.

    Fan Works 
  • Rachel from Beyond the Borders ended up with her parents disowning her, once she came out to them. Understandably, she's quite bitter about this.
  • In Bloom Max Caulfield is a trans girl. She experienced a lot of bullying at her school in Seattle. This eases off once she moves back to Arcadia Bay, mostly because almost no one there knows that she's trans, but she still experiences a lot of Internalized Categorism. She's particularly insecure about sex, first being convinced that she would never have a relationship because no one would find her attractive, and even after starting a relationship, she's worried that her lesbian girlfriend will leave her as soon as she has a chance to be with a "real girl".
  • Euphoria, Robbed is a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fic where Trixie is a trans mare. It's about her lifelong dysphoria. Trixie felt upset about Twilight's lie, in "Magic Duel", that she could do sex-changing magic.
  • In Little Fires, Emberpaw has the trouble of being transgender in a society where the concept is unknown. Her mother had no idea what to do with her kit and just hoped it was a childish phase, but Emberpaw never outgrew wanting to be seen as a molly.
  • Recommencer (Miraculous Ladybug) has Adrien realizing that they're more comfortable identifying as a girl. Unfortunately, her Control Freak father is aware of this and does not approve, and is heavily implied to have used the power of his Miraculous to erase her memories of when she first realized this. Followed by forcibly separating her from Childhood Friend Félix and claiming that they moved to the UK.
  • The Pokémon fanfic Wish Fulfillment has Goh dealing with period cramps and discussing how it's the one time his body forces him to remember he was born female. Goh in general commonly faces Trans Tribulations in fanfics that write him as a transboy, as it's a popular headcanon ever since he was introduced.
  • No Cheat Codes Available focus a lot on the dysphoria that Kaz/Kazue undergoes, whether related to her body, her presentation, or her worries about how people will perceive her.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 3 Generations: Ray has to deal not only with his grandmother Dolly initially rejecting his gender as a trans boy, but also getting attacked for it by bigots (he more than held his own though).
  • Bit: While not explicit, it's indicated Laurel suffered depression due to gender dysphoria, bullying over being transgender, or both, resulting in her attempting suicide more than once.
  • Boys Don't Cry is about a real-life trans man Brandon Teena, who is outed after living in Falls City, Nebraska for a while. His former friends rape and murder him when they discover it. There's also a scene where Brandon has to get a medical examination from a doctor that misgenders him.
  • Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club is a trans woman who is addicted to drugs, HIV-positive, and prostitutes herself to make money. While she shows remarkably little angst over her situation, she is marginalized, belittled, and bullied by just about everyone.
  • The Netflix documentary Disclosure is about the issues transgender people face working in Hollywood, especially if people of color. This includes typecasting trans people in roles like the Disposable Sex Worker or Depraved Bisexual villain, or simply a character whose only role is to be the butt of transphobic put-downs. It also includes being passed over for roles playing trans characters in favor of casting a cis person in their place, or of simply being shut out of major roles altogether.
  • In Girl (2018), the protagonist is a transgender girl. Her most important problem is her gender dysphoria: she is obsessed by the fact that her breasts do not develop and she self-harms because she does not accept her body.
  • In Ma Vie En Rose, a 7-year-old trans girl with a crush on a boy is misunderstood at every turn, tries to butch it up, fails, feels miserable, and attempts suicide. She gets better though.
  • In Normal (2003), Ruth transitions after 25 years of marriage. Few in her small-town understand or accept the transition. Her family has an especially troubling time with it, but Ruth's wife Irma decides that she loves her too much to divorce.
  • Romeos: Lukas is struggling with continued gender dysphoria as he hasn't completed his medical transition, and being called by his former names or female just drives it home even more.
  • In Super Deluxe, it's played very straight [1]. Practically everyone whom Shilpa runs into turns out to be a transphobe: the constable who thinks she is a kidnapper, the subinspector Berlin who coerces oral sex from her, the people at the school who refer to her as "it", the kids at the school who taunt her with transphobic slurs, the school principal who is embarrassed by her very presence. Even the old woman who sympathizes with her plight only makes excuses for reality being different from Shilpa's expectations without offering her any encouragement. The only people who accept Shilpa are her son and wife.
  • They/Them: Ash is going through a lot as a nonbinary teen, having to live through being deadnamed and treated like a girl, even at home. Their school life is even worse; they are humiliated in front of their whole class when their teacher turns down their request to be called "Ash". After that, they're physically and verbally bullied for being open about their dysphoria, and a video of them reciting a poem about their gender is leaked to YouTube.
  • Transamerica: Bree, a pre-op trans woman, is forced by her psychiatrist to reconnect with the son she fathered before she came out as trans if she wants to get him to sign-off on her sex-reassignment surgery. This leads her to a road trip across the country to find him.

  • The children's picture book 1000 Dresses is about a young trans girl obsessed with dresses. Her parents don't support this, but she meets a neighbor who makes her dresses.
  • The YA novel Freakboy is a variation, depicting a genderfluid teenager's struggle to understand and live with his non-binary identity. A supporting character, a young trans woman named Angel, also dealt with this trope in her backstory, having been kicked out by her father and driven to homelessness and prostitution before she finally found the help she needed to build a better life.
  • I Am J is about a teenage trans boy named "J" trying to transition in an unsupportive environment.
  • Luna is told from the POV of a teenage trans girl's sister, Reagan. She is Luna's Secret-Keeper. Luna has an ultra-macho father who is very adherent to traditional gender roles (he forces Reagan to cook dinner for the family even though she doesn't have the time or skill to do it), and expects his "son" to be masculine.
  • The Nemesis Series (Dreadnought and Sovereign) is about a 15-year-old trans girl, Danny, who winds up gaining the powers of Dreadnought, the world's greatest superhero. A side effect of the powers is that they turn her physically female, outing herself to her abusive father and the local superhero team, who turn out to be less-than-supportive of trans rights. Dealing with being both outed and forced into the spotlight is a large part of the plot.
  • The Other Boy is about a transgender middle schooler who is outed at his school.
  • In The Pants Project, a trans boy tries to change his school's strict uniform policy that requires male students to wear pants and female students to wear skirts.
  • Zed in Pale is a trans man and also a technomancer, which is a source of frequent annoyance because he Awoke prior to realizing he was trans, and introductions count for a lot with spirits-he has to steadily build a new presentation to the spirits while dealing with the often regressive attitudes of other practitioners simultaneously, but fortunately his mentor Rad Ray Sunshine has his back.
  • Parrotfish is about a trans boy named Grady who decides to come out at his high school. He faces disapproval from his peers and family and his best friend since toddlerhood starts drifting away after he comes out.
  • Riley from Symptoms Of Being Human is a nonbinary blogger who has to deal with a classmate at their school threatening to out them.
  • Lucita from Agent G is a transwoman who took advantage of the advanced cybernetic technology in the setting to become a famous actress as well as assassin. Her father, leader of the Carnivale, reacted poorly to it despite the fact he provides the technology to do so and they plot against each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 4400:
    • Noah distrusts doctors, with it implied to be a result of his parents trying to stop him transitioning. He approaches Doc nonetheless as he's now cut off from his hormone treatments for medical transition while they're being held in isolation.
    • Downplayed and somewhat defied with Doc Andre who's a trans man too, even in the 1920s. He found it difficult to advance in the medical field due to his race, but he was able to pass as cisgender and surrounded himself with queer black intellectuals during the Harlem Renaissance, and his partner was a trans woman.
  • Season 6 of 3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi-sensei had a New Transfer Student named Nao who was a closeted trans boy. He was an aloof, distant boy who wore a longer skirt than needed because he could handle them better than short skirts. His parents have mixed views on him being trans. Nao eventually sees a therapist but is disappointed that he can't begin hormones for several more years.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club: In "Mary Anne Saves The Day" halfway through her time babysitting Bailey, Mary Anne realizes she's a trans girl. When they later have to go to the hospital, it turns out Mrs. Dellvecchio hadn't updated Bailey's medical records yet, causing a nurse and a doctor to refer to Bailey as "he", something that obviously distresses her.
  • Big Sky: Jerrie tells Danielle how she realized early on she's really a girl and came out to her parents at age fourteen. However, while at first they said they'd love her no matter what, their next move was that she see a therapist to "cure" her. Naturally, it didn't work and they threw Jerrie out. After that, she lived in a trailer park and had to do sex work for survival.
  • Clarice: Julia Lawson, a trans woman who helps Clarice, notes she has had to keep her gender secret because it could get her fired. She's also partners with another woman (that would not help, of course), and her partner's suffering from cancer, so this might endanger her too as they get health insurance from Julia's work. At the end of the episode, when her boss (who is behind the plot she had helped Clarice look into) lets slip with her deadname, thus revealing he knows of her past) she's horrified, realizing he has a hold over her. She gently chastises Clarice for never speaking out to rebut the perception Buffalo Bill was trans as well (or worse, a killer because of it), since this harms them by false association with him (and they already suffer a lot of prejudice).
  • CSI
    • Paul Millander was born intersex and assigned female at birth. His mother couldn't accept that he was anything but her little girl when he was a child.
    • The original series also had "Ch-Ch-Changes," which was sort of a relay race of trans woman angst issues, from the victim of the week trans woman who insisted on sleeping in separate beds with her cis fiance who wasn't aware that she was trans, to the revelation of an underground, extremely risky system for bottom surgery that took place in storage lockers and left at least one dead body.
  • In one episode of CSI: NY the victim was a transgender woman who'd confronted a senator who raped her sister. The murderer was actually the random guy she flirted with to get into the party the senator was in, who more or less went from being mildly surprised that "she was a he" and noting how attractive she was rather than being upset to a full-on "I made the world a better place" pantomime villain after The Reveal. The senator also uses the "he's clearly sexually disturbed" argument when the CSIs are investigating him they manage to compel a DNA sample and prove he was indeed a rapist.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: One of Sabrina's best friends is Susie, who later comes out as transgender and renames himself Theo. In the first half of the season, Theo faces lots of homophobic harassment from the local Jerk Jocks - though one becomes nicer and is shown as accepting of him after his transition.
  • Control Z: After she's outed, Isabela's boyfriend dumps her and many of her friends disown her. She also gets insulted, bullied, asked very inappropriate questions about her anatomy, and called by male pronouns, a guy, or her deadname. Isabela also mentions her family moved to a different city after she transitioned, and she'd lost all her old friends for doing this. No wonder she didn't come out before.
  • Degrassi:
    • Adam is introduced in Season 10 as a trans boy. During his first season, he gets misgendered several times, assaulted, and briefly returned back his assigned gender and burns himself in order to keep the pain inside. He gets much better but then in his final season he's killed while texting and driving.
    • Yael is introduced in Degrassi: Next Class, as a nerdy Go-Getter Girl whose Berserk Button was being dismissed due to their perceived gender. During season 4, they start to dress differently and lament about their body which confused them as they were attracted to their cisgender male boyfriend which led to people thinking they were gay. Eventually, with a friend's help, they realized they were genderqueer and while they embraced their new identity, it leads to a break-up with Hunter.
  • Dispatches From Elsewhere gives us Simone (played by transgender actor Eve Lindley.) While she is shown to be confident in presenting herself as female, we see brief flashbacks of her unhappy childhood as a male, and it's implied her parents were upset when she came out. As an adult she still has trouble accepting happiness, even running from a pride parade after feeling she shouldn't be there, and also has to fight off two harassers in the first episode.
  • Emerald City: Tip, due to being kept a boy by magic so long, doesn't identify as female when he's changed back into his original form and feels intense dysphoria. He reluctantly stays in female form to assume the role of Princess Ozma though. Thankfully, East's magic lets him shift back and forth between forms at will.
  • Euphoria: Jules is a trans girl who suffered from severe dysphoria that landed her in psychiatric care, and led to her mom abandoning her. She's also So Beautiful, It's a Curse, attracting the drug-addicted Rue and she hooks up with men old enough to be her dad, some of which manipulate her into kinky sex, gets catfished, bullied, and stalked by a fellow student because she hooked up with his dad who threatens to hand in her nudes, making her guilty of child pornography, unless she lies to the police and exonerates him of beating his girlfriend. She does, but she also leaves town.
  • First Day: Hannah has to face being bullied, called her old name, a boy and otherwise poorly treated over being transgender. Later a trans boy who was inspired by Hannah comes out to her, saying his mom flatly refuses to listen while he's trying to tell her about this.
  • Law & Order: SVU:
    • One episode featured a trans girl whose unsupportive father was attacked, with the suspects all being trans people associated with the girl as a means of defending her. The assailant turns out to be the girl's school counselor, who is outed as a trans woman at her trial and reveals that she was trying to protect the girl from the same prejudice she faced in her youth, which culminated in a group of men attacking her and cutting off her penis to "make her a real woman."
    • Another episode had a killer who was a trans woman. She killed a man who was trying to extort her into sex as blackmail to not reveal her status to her boyfriend. Her lawyer wants to turn the trial into a political movement for trans rights and doesn't tell her that there's a plea deal on the table because he's desperate to get his client found not guilty. The client takes the deal, but tries to back out once she realizes she'll be housed in a men's prison (as she's legally male, despite living and presenting as female). She's unable to get a transfer or nullify the deal, and the last scene of the episode has Benson and Stabler called to the hospital after she's become the victim of a brutal Prison Rape.
  • Orange Is the New Black: Sophia Burset is a Black trans woman who's denied healthcare, objectified by a sleazy guard who tries to blackmail her into sleeping with him by threatening to withhold her hormones; she is also separated from her family, beaten by her fellow inmates who also threaten to out her and call her transphobic slurs, and then gets transferred to solitary confinement where she attempts suicide.
  • Party of Five (2020): Matthew's parents reject his identity and want him to de-transition. As a result, he's left home and won't apply for DACA because it would require using his birth certificate that lists him as female.
  • Pose. The trans characters face challenges relating to being trans in inverse relation with their ability to "pass" as female. Somewhat subverted by Elektra who loses her "sugar daddy" after completing her gender confirmation surgery. Also averted by the fact that none of the trans characters were subjected to sexual or other violence.
  • Proven Innocent: "The Struggle for Stonewall" showcases the many travails trans people face, from discrimination to assaults or being rejected even by fellow members of the LGBT community.
  • Royal Pains: In "The Prince of Nucleotides", it's mentioned transgender teenager Anna had depression and self-harmed in the past due to gender dysphoria before she transitioned. She also has struggles with her parents, who are mostly accepting but want her to hold off on medically transitioning. Then, after coming out to her roommate, she tells kids and Anna's beaten up.
  • Trans lesbian Nomi from Sense8 is in a very happy relationship and surrounds herself with the accepting San Francisco LGBT community, and she doesn't have any internalized trans- or homophobia (anymore — she explains to Lito that she did try very hard to be "normal" as a child / young teenager, until an incident of brutally violent bullying from the boys at her swim club made her give up trying to be like them). But her estranged mother completely refuses to accept her as a woman, she has a very scary run-in with the medical establishment not treating her like a sane adult able to make her own decisions, and the trans-excluding radical feminist 'friends' of her girlfriend got pretty nasty towards her during a flashback scene.
  • Supergirl: While Nia Nal grew up in an environment that more or less accepts her gender, she nevertheless still experiences tribulations. At least one episode deals with a transphobe who accosts Nia and her fellow transgender friend, and her sister, while shown at first to be accepting, eventually reveals herself to be transphobic upon finding out that it is Nia who inherited their family's precognitive powers (which only manifests in a girl once per generation) and not her. Nia is very pro-alien rights because she considers their struggles to gain acceptance on Earth to be similar to her own.
  • Transparent has the main character Maura, as well as a few other trans characters that have dealt with this trope, particularly Maura who doesn't come out well into her 60s.
  • When They See Us: Marci, Korey's older sister, suffers being thrown out by their mother (who denounces her, along with a lot of other people apparently). Korey is the only one we see who accepts her identity. She's later murdered while Korey's imprisoned and though we don't see the circumstances that's possibly because of her identity too. Only after this does their mother refer to her as "Marci".

  • David Byrne's "Now I'm Your Mom" is narrated by a post-op trans woman who has to explain her identity and transition to her child, fearing the possibility of the latter not understanding the situation.
  • The Stolen City music video for "Faces" revolves around a transgender woman attempting to be a model. When her secret is discovered in a bar, three thugs assault her outside. She's also shown having conflict with her father, who eventually accepts her after the attack.
  • Teniwoha's "Villain" is about a closeted trans youth who's ostracized by society for their gender.

    Video Games 
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: In the Japanese version, Vivian gets bullied by her sisters for being transgender. The English version excludes references to her being trans and has her sisters mock her appearance instead.
  • Andy Kang in It Lives In The Woods is excluded on his basketball team and told he's there to look good in photos as a PR move, not to actually play. One of his childhood friends, Lucas, accidentally misgenders him early in the book, and despite Lucas' apologies, Andy's reaction implies that it happens often. An exclusive scene reveals that when he first cut his hair short, "that morning at school was hell. The kids called [him] names, and the grown-ups kept giving [him] dirty looks."
  • The Missing: J.J Macfield and the Island of Memories reveals halfway through the game that J.J is in the afterlife. Unlocking text messages on her phone reveal that a character being trans caused this. Specifically, J.J herself, who's there because she attempted suicide after being outed and bullied.
  • one night, hot springs is about a transgender woman named Haru who visits the hot springs with her friends but is reluctant to bathe there because of how other customers may react. Its first sequel last day of spring takes place from the perspective of one of Haru's friends who tries to plan a spa trip for Haru's birthday but learns that none of the spas in Tokyo will accommodate trans women and her backup plan of hosting a spa day at home almost falls through too due to Haru's persisting anxiety about revealing her pre-op body to others worsened by her stress from having to fill out her work forms with her birth gender and name.
  • Summertime Saga: If the player chooses for Eve to be a transgirl. Part of the reason why she's so withdrawn, besides holding herself accountable for the death of her parents because of Parting Words Regret, is because she doesn't think anyone would accept her as she identifies. After hitting it off with the MC, she realizes she was Beautiful All Along.
  • The Nintendo Switch port of Undertale introduces a new form for Mad Dummy, Mad Mew Mew, who's portrayed analogously to a trans woman (switching pronouns from "they/them" to "she/her" and gushing about how her new form is her ideal and fulfilling self). Near the end of a pacifist fight, she'll suddenly realize that she can't totally fuse with her new form and grows distressed, bleakly asking if something's wrong with her.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Heart of the Woods, Tara came out and transitioned from male to female in high school. Most of her friends abandoned her as a result, and Madison was the only one who stuck around.
  • Zoe in Monster Prom goes through a number of similar trials to this trope, due to her being a Does This Remind You of Anything? of being Transgender. Numerous people, whether they be students or her cult, occasionally refer to her as Z'Gord despite her insistence that she is now Zoe. Both of her secret endings in Second Term revolve around this, one being similar to helping a Trans person's parents follow their child's transition. It helps that she goes from seemingly genderless to female, making her transgender alongside the aforementioned changes.

  • In El Goonish Shive, with Tedd this is comparatively downplayed as he hasn't encountered outright hostility. That said, while he's comfortable in his genderfluidity around his friends, he's held off on telling his father because of his vague disapproval to Tedd's previous genderswapping.
    • When Diane comes to visit, Tedd (in female form) is worried about what she might think. She even thinks about swapping to male form before Diane arrives and the doorbell cuts off her train of thought.
    Tedd: Diane is just one girl I've never met who's going to be in my home and might judge me for being who I am!
    Grace: That's still scary, isn't it.
    Tedd: Like a dragon with a chainsaw.
  • Khaos Komix:
    • Tom is a trans man who afraid of letting Murfs know, much less sleeping with him, for fear of being seen as a woman.
    • Charlie is a trans woman. She and Tom met as high schoolers. They ended up moving away after being beaten up by bullies. Charlie is afraid to tell her boyfriend that she's trans because he's homophobic. The end of her chapter has her come out to him, and he reveals that he already knew.
  • Magical Boy: Max comes out as trans to his parents on his sixteenth birthday. His father takes the news well and is supportive of his son's gender. Max's mother, however, doesn't seem to grasp the situation, repeatedly misgendering and deadnaming Max afterward. And that's not even getting into Max being handed the family tradition of becoming a Magical Girl.
  • Moratorium On My Gender: Hajime has suffered from gender dysphoria since they were in elementary school. It didn't help that their parents wanted them to conform to feminine gender roles.
  • My Husband Was Actually a Woman: Wafuko is insecure about her deep voice and, when she was in high school, she tried to get rid of her genitalia by herself. She has also been sexually harassed by cis men who think it's okay to do so to a "man", something which Tsushima notes is common to trans women in general.
  • Pandora's Tale: Pandora is a trans girl - a problem, as she is also a Helper, a slave bred to serve the rich. The organization responsible for her training sees her gender identity as a flaw to be eradicated, and she flees her training facility to avoid the personality rewrite she learns is planned for her.
  • The Princess is a comedy webcomic about an elementary-aged trans girl who decides to start dressing up as a princess against her mother's wishes.
  • RAIN is a Slice of Life dramedy all about the eponymous protagonist's transition from male to female. Rain is a very neurotic trans girl, always afraid someone will discover her secret or that she'll accidentally out herself. As the story progresses she gets a circle of Secret-Keeper friends and she becomes more confident, but there still are difficulties. Her older brother Aiken was a huge dick when she came out to him, but he quickly made up for it by researching the subject, realizing she was happy that way, and apologizing. A much nastier event was Rain's older sister being even more transphobic than Aiken ever was when confronted with the news, and cutting Rain's hair in her sleep when she spent a weekend at her place, in an attempt to "fix" her. Rain didn't take it kindly and disowned her.
  • Venus Envy is about a transgender teenage girl in the 2000s going through high school. She has her ups and downs, such as when her female date freaked out when she learned she was trans. She later meets a trans boy at her school who is transitioning behind his family's back. Their daily hassles with their love lives, families, physical changes, and psychological strains are depicted rather realistically.

    Web Original 
  • Out With Dad: Morgan, a transgender member at the PFLAG meetings, recounts having been beaten and raped by some men in the past due to being trans.
  • In the Whateley Universe, the early main focus was on those characters who were gender-bent against their will — specifically, either via the Exemplar power-set, Gross Structural Dystrophy, or something even more esoteric, and who are (for the most part) learning to adapt. As the series has progressed, it's become clear that many mutants and, of course, normal folks, are still trans and don't have the benefit of an Avatar or Exemplar powerset to help things along. Some still take the mundane route, slow as the path may be. Others are desperate enough to go so far as a Deal with the Devil, either figuratively or literally, and those never turn out well. And more esoteric (and horrific) variants exist than even that. And that's to say nothing about how they're treated...

Alternative Title(s): Trangst


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: