As the world becomes a more open and understanding place, more people are becoming comfortable coming forward about being transgender.
One of the main issues surrounding this is the fact that more transgender people are also becoming – or at least reporting – depression.
With 1.8% of youth identifying as transgender – a significantly higher statistic than previously believed – it’s becoming increasingly important to identify the issue of transgender teen depression.
In fact, compared to cisgender people of a similar age, transgender youth report issues like depression and suicidal thinking much more frequently. One out of every three transgender youth in 2019 reported attempting suicide. A third also said that they had been sexually attacked.
More than half of transgender teens reported being depressed for at least 2 weeks in the last year.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that this situation needs to be addressed properly. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the possibilities.
A Bit About Transgender Teen Depression
Transgender teen depression is an important issue. Unfortunately, since it’s only been recently discussed in the media and mainstream psychology, it is not yet well-understood.
One of the reasons that transgender teen depression is so common is because these youth don’t have much of a community to find support in. They are going through very difficult emotions, and yet they don’t have a lot of people to confide in.
Someone struggling with anxiety, for example, immediately has a large support group – should they go seek for it. Massive numbers of psychologists are trained to help people manage anxiety, and virtually everyone has experienced some degree of anxiety at some point during their life. An anxious person can find support by simply talking about their issue.
A transgender teen, on the other hand, does not have many support groups. It can be very difficult for a transgender teen to find someone else who is going through the same issues. To make the problem even worse, some transgender teens are afraid to come out about their issues because they fear violence, judgment, or rejection from their peers.
The issue of being transgender deals with emotional problems that are not typically tackled in psychology. The idea of being born the wrong gender – to live in a body that’s different than what you believe you should have – has only recently adopted mainstream acceptance, and as such, there hasn’t been too much research done regarding the issue.
One of the issues that these youth face is the compounding nature of the problem. They are constantly reminded every day of their feelings:
- They may often be called a name that they don’t feel suits their gender
- They may be called to fulfill gender roles that they don’t feel that they fit
- They are frequently the subject of assumptions that people make based on their perceived gender
Improving the Situation
One of the best ways to improve the situation is by promoting awareness and acceptance.
Acceptance of the individual as a human being, despite any differences, is of crucial importance here – not just for peers, but for parents, family members, teachers and employers of transgender youth.
Recognizing the issues they face allows these youth to feel more comfortable with themselves, and also discourages stigma and violence against transgender teens. This is the most important thing that we can do to help lessen the difficulties that these teens encounter.
Transgender teen depression is a serious problem, but one that’s becoming acknowledged by the mainstream. If you or a loved one struggles with transgender issues, the best thing to do is compassionately spread awareness and acceptance about the issue. If you feel the need, don’t hesitate to seek out a therapist or counselor.