If you spend much time on sites like 4chan and Reddit, you've likely heard the phrase "traps are gay" thrown around casually. It's a form of homophobia and transphobia, and while many people don't realize it, it is often used to degrade the lives of transgender people. This article explores what does traps are gay mean, and why it's a problem.
The term "trap" refers to a male who dresses femininely or androgynously to trick cis men into thinking they are women. The origin of the term seems to stem from a reaction image posted to anime hub sites in the early 2000s referencing Admiral Ackbar's utterance of "IT'S A TRAP!" This phrase gained popularity amongst anime fans and eventually bled over into general internet culture, where the use of the word became commonplace.
Using the term to describe transgender people is problematic because it implies that those who dress femininely are liars or "traps" trying to trick their peers. It's a derogatory term that has real, lasting repercussions and can lead to violence against the transgender community.
The most harmful thing about the phrase is that it is often used as a joke, and people don't realize that their casual use of the term can have far-reaching effects on those who are targeted by it. Often, people who use the phrase will be unaware that it's hurtful to those who identify as transgender and will defend its use by saying "it's just a joke" or "no one takes it seriously." However, even if something is only meant as a joke, it can still cause harm to others.