Transgender people refer to those who identify with a different gender than the one they are assigned to at birth. This is an umbrella term that includes those individuals beyond the gender binary (gender fluid, non-binary, genderqueer, etc.).
Transgender people do have higher rates of mental health concerns, not because of their gender identity, but because of the unequal resources provided to them. This includes the refusal to care, violence, unfair governmental policies, and ignorance on the part of healthcare providers. These experiences are detrimental to the mental health conditions of the Trans population.
Some mental health concerns elevated in the Trans population is depressive symptoms, suicidal tendencies, trauma exposure, anxiety, substance use disorders, and distress. This is a result of consistent exposure to social stressors such as stigma, discrimination, and bias events (Valentine & Shipherd, 2018).
Transphobia is faced by trans people both from outside and inside the queer community. If you are cisgender (identifying with the gender you were assigned to at birth), it is encouraged for you to be an ally to the Trans community as that can significantly improve their mental health.
What can YOU do as an ally?
1. Respect name and pronouns
Don’t ask for their « real » names. It is not their real name, but rather their dead name, something they no longer use. Pronouns are for everyone — not just trans people. Ask their pronouns and try your best to respect them. Pobody’s nerfect, so if you make a mistake, thank them for correcting you and try your best!
2. Do not assume identities
No two trans people look the same. Do not assume a person’s gender identity based on your assumptions.
3. Gender-neutral language
This includes using the gender-neutral ‘their’ rather than the binary ‘his/her’. A lot many phrases are gendered without reason.
4. Do not out someone
Do not disclose a person’s gender identity to anyone without their permission.
5. Challenge transphobia
Calling someone out on their transphobic jokes and educating them will only help spread awareness. Your privilege can be used in making the world less distressful for trans people.
6. Don’t be afraid to educate yourself
Do not make trans people do the emotional labor of the work; Google is free and accessible and there are a lot of resources for cis people wanting to be allies.
Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.
MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.
About the Author.
Durva Bhatt is a psychologist at MindTribe.in. You can learn more about her by clicking here
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MindTribe.in, the Founders, or management team.
Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.