The term transsexual alludes to an individual with a sexual orientation character or articulation that contrasts from the social or regular assumptions dependent on the sex a doctor assigns them at birth. It is an umbrella term that can depict individuals who recognize as non-paired, genderfluid, and genderqueer. It can likewise incorporate those with no sex, various sexual orientations, or other sex personalities.
Transgender people often encounter stigmatization, oppression, and discrimination, which can all contribute towards adverse mental health outcomes.
People who identify as transgender have higher ratesTrusted Source of mental health complications than those in the general population due to stigma and discrimination. In addition to a higher prevalence of mental health issues, transgender people typically experience barriers to healthcare, such as refusal of care, violence, and a lack of provider knowledge.
This suggests that these experiences, and not being transgender itself, may predict and contribute towards mental health difficulties.
This article will discuss mental health conditions prevalent in the trans community and provide a list of resources where people may find support.
Mental health statistics among transgender people
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that transgender people, and other gender minorities, comprise roughly 0.3–0.5% (25 million) of the global population. The WHO adds that transgender people often experience disproportionately high levels of mental health conditions.
They note that cissexism, discrimination, violence, and barriers to healthcare can all contribute to the increased chance of mental health concerns.
Research suggests that transgender individuals are almost four times as likely as cisgender people to experience a mental health condition.
The U.S. Transgender Survey reveals that many of the respondents frequently experience mistreatment and discrimination. Of the respondents, 39% report serious psychological distress, compared to just 5% of the general United States population.
Furthermore, 40% of respondents noted that they had attempted suicide in their lifetime, which is nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. This is consistent with findings from the 2019 Trevor Project National Survey, which notes that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide.
Depression and transgender identity
Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy. A 2018 paper suggests that transgender people can have a nearly 4-fold increased risk of depression. This is consistent with a 2015 studyTrusted Source noting that transgender youth have a two- to three-fold increased risk of mental health outcomes, such as depression.
Transgender youth face further health disparities, as they are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and questioning youth.
The 2019 Trevor Project National Survey adds that more than 2 in 3 transgender and nonbinary youth report symptoms of major depressive disorder.
It also highlights that more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have seriously considered suicide. Of the respondents, 29% had attempted suicide. A 2021 article notes that factors such as barriers to care, victimization, and cissexism.
Anxiety and transgender identity
Anxiety disorders refer to a group of mental health conditions that cause persistent or recurring feelings of nervousness and worry. A 2016 comparative study suggests that transgender people experience more significant anxiety symptoms and have a nearly threefold increased risk of probable anxiety disorder.
Stressors can contribute to the development of anxiety. ResearchTrusted Source highlights the role of gender dysphoria, gender incongruence, and internalized cissexism in contributing toward anxiety.
Stress and transgender identity
Transgender people are likely to experience minority stress. This refers to chronically high levels of stress that people within stigmatized minority groups face.
Transgender people may experienceTrusted Source this in the form of environmental stressors, such as exposure to discrimination, interpersonal stressors, such as expecting discrimination, and personal stressors, which may reflect internalized cissexism.
Research notes that expecting rejection is a frequent and noticeable stressor for trans individuals. Findings indicateTrusted Source that exposure to several social stressors contributes to mental health problems.
Risk factors for substance use disorders are considerably higher for trans individuals. A 2020 systematic review suggests that cissexism, discrimination, violence, unemployment, sex work, and gender dysphoria likely play a role in the higher prevalence. Trans people may turn to certain substances as a coping method to attempt to deal with the intense stresses of daily life.
Low self-esteem and transgender identity
Self-esteem typically refers to how positively a person views themselves. This can reflect their self-image, accomplishments, and success. A 2018 study notes that in addition to anxiety and depression, transgender youth are at an increased risk of developing low self-esteem.
A 2014 study notes that trans people may experience low self-esteem due to experiencing gender dysphoria and incongruence. A 2020 study adds that trans individuals who are comfortable with their appearance and gender identity have more self-esteem.
This emphasizes the importance of supporting others to feel comfortable with their appearance and accept their gender identity to improve mental health.
In addition to the stigma and discrimination that trans people experience, body dissatisfaction may also contribute toward disordered eating. A 2019 study notes that many trans individuals may engage in disordered eating behaviors for gender-affirming purposes.
The barriers and difficulty that trans people experience when trying to access gender-affirming healthcare may further add to this.
Therapy: People may want to seek help from a therapist who supports trans and gender nonconforming individuals.
Healthcare: Similarly, people may only want to work with doctors who support and affirm trans identities.
Advocacy groups: Joining local transgender advocacy groups may enable people to feel welcome and part of a community.
Community: Establishing connections with other trans or gender nonconforming people can help dispel stereotypes and stigma.
Activism: Involvement and taking pride in trans identities can spur activism and may help with confidence and a sense of identity.
Identity: People can choose when and to whom they disclose their trans identity. No person is under any obligation to tell someone else about their identity.
Additionally, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation provides a comprehensive list of resources for transgender people. Some organization that can provide help include:
Transgender people are more like to develop mental health conditions than other people. They are also more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide. Many factors, such as stigma, discrimination, and oppression, contribute to these adverse mental health outcomes. These factors can also present barriers to healthcare options.
However, support options are available. People may be able to find support and advocacy from several organizations. Additionally, trans people should attempt to find therapists and doctors who support and affirm trans identities.