Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 1st 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Transgender, or Trans, means someone whose
gender differs from the one they were given when
they were born. Transgender people may identify
as male or female, or they may feel that neither
label fits them. This is part 2 of information on
issues which transgender people may experience
at different stages of their lives.
Some transgender individuals put off transitioning
until later in life when they feel able to do so. This
can be satisfying, but can also have the disadvantage
of producing a less convincing outcome. In addition
there can be regret about having lived so long in an
unwanted gender. Friends and family may have a
harder time understanding what is happening since
they knew the person for so long in their natal gender.
In all stages, there can be isolation, hiding and
secrets, which can lead to depression and anxiety.
Transgender adults are much more likely to have su-
icidal thoughts, with 50 per cent of American adults
reporting some suicidal ideation.
There seem to be two paths that people take early
on: either one tries to hide their inner feeling of being
the wrong sex and "passes" for what looks like a boy
or girl, or one is incapable of hiding and presents as
either a tom-boyish girl or a feminine boy.
Either path is fraught with problems for one's
emotional development. The second scenario---of
presenting as gender non-conforming---is known to
elicit harsh responses from society. This is true for
non-transgender people as well.
Deciding what to do
Making decisions about transitioning, what level
to transition to, or whether to attempt any transition
at all are complicated decisions and require time and
support. There are fears of how one will be accepted
by family (parents, partners, children, grandparents
and others) friends, colleges, fellow students, church
groups, etc. There can be anxiety about 'passing'
or how convincing one will be to others as a man
or woman (ie whether or not one will be "read" as
There can also be the wish to not completely tran-
sition, but assume an identity as "gender queer" or
. All are acceptable options. Usually one
doesn't start at that place, so this requires some
form of transitioning as well. At the point of deci-
sion-making, many things are unknown and it can be
very stressful. It can also be exciting and joyful to be
able to act and move towards a more authentic self.
For those transgender individuals who decide to
transition (to present and live in the other sex out-
wardly), these emotional/psychological issues may
• Fears about finding a partner
• Impact on family relationships with parents,
children, partners and other relatives
• Impact of relationships at work and with friends
• Fears about violence and prejudice when one is
read as transgender
• Feelings about having to experience surgeries,
hormones, (and for MTF transsexuals) facial hair
removal and voice changes
• Frustration of having to change or explain legal
documents (drivers license, passport, titles to prop-
erty, diplomas, etc)
• Disappointment that transitioning didn’t solve
• Level of satisfaction with appearance
Luke Fox is a 31-year-old trans person from Canada.
He has said the medical system there isn't set up to
service trans folks.
• Level of satisfaction with any sur-
• Emotional issues that were not
Lack of appropriate
mental health care
Many mental healthcare providers
know little about transgender issues.
A transgender person seeking treat-
ment does not necessarily mean their
gender identity is problematic. The
emotional strain of dealing with stigma
and experiencing transphobia pushes
many transgender people to seek treat-
ment to improve their quality of life.
Many transgender people also seek
mental health treatment for depression
and anxiety caused by the stigma at-
tached to being transgender, and some
transgender people have stressed the
importance of acknowledging their
gender identity with a therapist in order
to discuss other quality-of-life issues.
(Sources: Wikipedia and Transgender
Mental Health blog-https://
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