LivingIs being transgender considered a mental illness?

Is being transgender considered a mental illness?

Being transgender is not in itself a mental illness , but there are many mental conditions that can accompany transgender people due to multiple factors, such as social pressure, gender discrimination and unacceptability.

To understand the relationship between being transgender and having a mental illness, stick around and read on.

What is it to be transgender?

Sex is a biological concept linked to genetics based on whether you have a pair of XX or XY chromosomes. On many occasions, this is also linked to our external genitalia, but not always. There are people of the masculine sex with a vagina or of the feminine sex with a penis, but this is another topic.

The fact is that we can differentiate between male (XY) and female (XX). Instead, when we talk about gender we refer to the way in which society believes that we have to act or think based on what our sex is. That is to say, sex is related to the biological, what we are according to our genetics at birth, while gender is related to the cultural, what is socially expected of us having one sex or another.

As a result of this distinction, it should be noted that each person expresses their gender and how they feel inside in their own way, through the way they dress, behave or their physical appearance. This is what is known as gender identity , how you feel about yourself and your gender.

Each person is a world, and although sex and gender generally go hand in hand, sometimes a person may not feel identified with the gender assigned to them at birth by their genitals (they don’t usually look at the chromosomes to assign the gender). You may think that what they assign is sex, but in reality it is gender under the name of sex (a distortion of the word). If their sex matches their gender identity, the person is said to be cisgender, for example, if the baby is born with male genitalia and shows a male identity when it grows up. But, if on the contrary a baby is born with female sexual organs but does not show the female identity, the person is said to be transgender.

There are mainly two types of transgender : trans women, those people who feel like women but are genetically and genitally male; and trans men, people who identify as male but were born with female genitalia.

Still, there are other terms that fall under the umbrella of transgender for those who show both masculine and feminine identities or neither, such as non-binary, gender-queer, genderless, or “two-spirited” people, among others. others.

If being transgender isn’t a mental illness, why do some think it is?

Being transgender is not a disease in itself, it is not even a physical alteration, but rather it is an alteration in self-perception , where one does not feel comfortable with the label that has been assigned to him. Therefore, to say that being transgender is a mental illness is enormous nonsense, based more on opinion than on scientific foundation and rational argumentation.

Yes, it is true that many transgender people face mental disorders , but it is thought that this is mainly due to the psychosocial factors they face, and sometimes they do not even have to do with whether or not they identify with their sex, but with other factors that have nothing to do with it. The environment can really take its toll on a person.

Numerous personality issues can also come from being transgender, usually due to lack of acceptance by society or sometimes themselves. It is hard to look at yourself under the judicious eye of a society that does not accept you. Because of this, some trans people develop a wide range of mental illnesses, from bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, multiple personality disorder, to obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

With regard to social acceptance, transgender people often face gender discrimination, unacceptability from their families and society, and even controversy, criticism, harassment, and bullying, leading to one. In these cases, facing social isolation and low self-esteem problems for a long time, they may develop anxiety, stress, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and dysphoria.

What is dysphoria and what danger does it have?

Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort felt by people with a gender identity other than their sex. In the best situations, it is the state before transsexual people begin to live with their true identity, once they know the reason for their anguish. It can occur at any time, from childhood to adulthood, but if “the problem” is not identified and not treated, it can lead to major psychiatric problems , such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety , shame, post-traumatic stress or social isolation.

The social unacceptability faced by a transgender person upon realizing their true identity is serious and makes them suffer from low self-esteem or confidence issues for a long time. Also, sometimes they keep it all inside while going through dysphoria, which can cause the person to fall into severe depression .

Also, when a transgender person can’t find a way to deal with their trans personality, in which they don’t quite fit into either gender label, anxiety can strike deep. This, coupled with seeing cisgender people live a normally perfect life without the pressure of society, without stigma and criticism from most people, can make them feel ashamed of being who they are.

Some may even be rejected by their relatives or friends when they reveal their gender identity to those close to them, which can lead to social isolation and a worsening of previous problems (anxiety, depression, self-shaming,…).

And when a person faces all this, this unbearable situation, they suffer from numerous traumatic events and emotions that have a negative impact on their person, creating a post-traumatic stress disorder that can be very long lasting.

Conclusions

So far, there is no scientific basis to support the idea that transsexuality is a disease. Dysphoria can not only be accompanied by multiple psychiatric conditions, but also has serious consequences such as excessive alcohol or tobacco use, drug addiction, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidal behaviors.

Most transgender people find it difficult to accept their way of being , and due to poor acceptance by society and peer groups, they have difficulty coping with themselves. They are victims of isolation, self-doubt, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, pessimism, and much more.

This is the real war they face, as it is difficult to accept themselves when they feel so different from their surroundings . Everything they suffer from piles up inside them, amplifying their burdens, which ultimately makes them fall into the trap of mental disorders.

For this reason, social acceptance, the moral and emotional support of those close to them and a true orientation are what they need to survive in this life that is harder for them.

References:

Becerra-Culqui TA, Liu Y, Nash R, et al. Mental health of transgender and gender nonconforming youth compared with their peers. [published online April 16, 2018]. J Pediatr. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-3845
Freepik(s.f.). Organic flat transgender person illustrated Free Vector [Imagen]. Freepik. https://www.freepik.com/freepik
Nguyen HB, Loughead J, Lipner E, Hantsoo L, Kornfield SL, Epperson CN. What has sex got to do with it? The role of hormones in the transgender brain. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Jan;44(1):22-37. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0140-7. Epub 2018 Jul 5. PMID: 30082887; PMCID: PMC6235900
Pol, H. E. H., Cohen-Kettenis, P. T., Van Haren, N. E. M., Peper, J. S., Brans, R. G. H., Cahn, W., Schnack, H. G., Gooren, L. J. G., & Kahn, R. S. (2006). Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure, European Journal of Endocrinology eur j endocrinol, 155(suppl_1), S107-S114. Retrieved Mar 12, 2022, from https://eje.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/eje/155/suppl_1/1550107.xml
Uribe, C., Junque, C., Gómez-Gil, E., Abos, A., Mueller, S. C., & Guillamon, A. (2020). Brain network interactions in transgender individuals with gender incongruence. NeuroImage, 211, 116613. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116613

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