Defining Issues and Stigma facing the Trans community

In my studies over the next two months, I'm focusing on transgender and non-binary studies in a effort to better understand the community, the stigma and discrimination they face, and how to be a better ally. Below are a few FAQs I've designed to help others understand the issues facing the trans community.

Discrimination and Prejudice

Transgender individuals face pervasive discrimination in society. While most equate discrimination to attacks for violence or hateful speech, trans people also experience discrimination to include access to medical care, public bathrooms, sports, employment, and financial support (Carpenter et al, 2020).

1. Q: What is Transphobia?

A: Transphobia is a fear and/or prejudice of people who are trans and do not conform to normative ideas of male or female. This is often the reason behind discrimination, harassment, and abuse of trans individuals – both by other individuals and through structural inequalities (Strauss et al, 2017).

2. Q: Aren’t trans people protected from discrimination at work?

A: While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides protection from discrimination based on sex, there is relatively little anti-discrimination protection in private employment based on transgender status and gender identity (Carpenter et al, 2020).

3. Q: What are the affects of discrimination for the trans community?

A: The affects of discrimination can vary greatly from mental health concerns, access to finances, to suicide. A recent study showed that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth (Trevor Project, 2021).

Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues affect trans people greatly. The disparity of trans people with mental health concerns and lack of access to services demonstrates an urgent need to address the factors underlying the disparity in access to healthcare (Hyde et al, 2013).

1. Q: Do trans people experience mental health issues?

A: Trans people experience worse mental health than possibly any other community. Studies show that over 50% of people who identify as trans have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives (Hyde et al, 2013).

2. Q: How early can mental health issues in trans people occur?

A: Most trans people can pinpoint their understanding of gender incongruency in early childhood and report the mental health issue outcomes in adolescence to young adulthood. Nearly 50% of all report that mental health concerns begin in mid-adolescence and 75% report mental heath issues by their mid-20s (Strauss et al, 2017).

3. Q: If mental health is such an issue in the trans community, why don’t more individuals seek out help?

A: There are many factors that contribute to the access to proper mental health care for a trans person. It can come down to an employer funded capability to lack of information on what is available. Federal and state law prohibits most public and private health plans from discriminating against you because you are (Trans equality, 2020).

Personal Struggle with Disconnected Identity

The term trans describes a person who experiences an incongruence between the sex assigned to them at birth and the sex they feel they belong to (Hyde et al, 2013). This incongruency can be a struggle for many as they do not feel connected to the societal expectations, we place on people based on sex.

1. Q: Do all trans people desire to have surgery to correct the incongruence?

A: While it is important that individuals who seek gender affirmation procedures have access to it, identifying as trans does not necessarily mean the person wants to correct the incongruence by surgery (Sevelius et al, 2021).

2. Q: Are all people assigned a sex at birth?

A: While most everyone is assigned a sex at birth; some people do not fit into the categories of male or female. Individuals born with reproductive systems or genetic factors that are neither male nor female are known as intersex (Hyde et al, 2013). Approximately 1.7% of the population is born intersex (Amnesty, 2018).

3. Q: What help is available for individuals of the trans community to help with their personal struggle?

A: Access to gender affirming therapy and services has been shown to greatly support transgender youth in providing a safe space and belonging as they better understand their gender identity. LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not (Trevor Project, 2021).


  • Hyde, Z., Doherty, M., Tilley, P., McCaul, K., Rooney, R., Jancey, J. (2013). The First Australian National Trans Mental Health Study: Summary of results. Curtin University.

  • Sevelius, J., Chakravarty, D., Dilworth, S., Rebchook, G., Neilands, T. (2021). Measuring Satisfaction and Comfort with Gender Identity and Gender Expression among Transgender Women: Development and validation of the psychological gender affirmation scale. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

  • Strauss, P., Cook, A., Winter, S., Watson, V., Wright Toussaint, D., Lin, A. (2017). Trans Pathways: the mental health experiences and care pathways of trans young people. Summary of results. Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Australia.

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