Psychological Distress Among Transgender Individuals

Posted on July 17, 2020

Transgender and gender nonbinary individuals constitute “a minority population whose gender identity differs significantly from the sex they were assigned at birth” (Institute of Medicine). The overwhelming majority of research during the past decade with transmen, transwomen, nonbinary, genderqueer, and gender-nonconforming individuals documents their “disproportionate burden of negative mental health outcomes,” on nearly all measures of psychological and social distress, such as gender dysphoria, depression, and suicidality. How to alleviate or moderate these high levels of psychological distress has been a focus of considerable research.

Valente and colleagues explored the potential effects of family support, feeling connected to the transgender community, gender literacy (ability to identify how societal gender norms affect and oppress), and transgender activism (advocating on behalf of the transgender community). As expected, family support (but not connection with a trans community) was associated with less distress; however, counter to expectations, gender literacy and transgender activism were associated with more, rather than less, psychological distress. Their explanation was as follows: “Individuals with high gender literacy and involvement in activism may be more likely to be vigilant to or targeted by prejudice and discrimination” and thus suffer because of their involvement in collective action.

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Category(s):LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender) Issues

Source material from Psychology Today