Mental health inequalities among transgender people have been increasing. Hence, it is necessary to learn about the inequalities they face and look for ways to improve student mental health during Covid. This group of individuals is the most vulnerable to mental health problems, right from discrimination in educational institutions to adjustment issues.
The LGBTQ+ community is finally getting the steady attention that it deserves not only in India but all over the world. The key attraction that forms the basis of all adult relationships arises from childhood to adolescence. Therefore, student mental health during lockdown can be very confusing, isolating, and full of overwhelmedness.
Over time, the transgender community especially has faced intense discrimination, violence,isolation, and harm because of their sexual orientation. All of these aspects play an important role in their personal growth and development. On the social front, communal stigma and stereotypes can impact the mental health of these people. On a personal level, all these discriminations could affect them negatively and produce a lasting impact on their mental health. It is more dangerous when the individual has not come to terms with it.
All these social pressures make it hard for these individuals to come out of their shells. The fear of these discriminations and prejudices affect them, making it hard for them to accept themselves. Revealing that they are transgender into society itself is a massive step for the transgender community. This step marks the demarcation of admitting and denying one's gender-based ideas. Accepting this and moving forward by coming out into society can positively impact the mental health of such individuals. It enables the well-being of transgender people.
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender Dysphoria is a psychological condition that involves a conflict between an individual's physical gender and the gender he/she/they identify. Many people with gender dysphoria are often very uncomfortable with gender/she/they are assigned. They mostly experience it during puberty. And as a result, during the global emergency, the student mental health during covid-19 becomes a matter of concern.
People with gender dysphoria experience significant anguish and trauma as they are associated with the conflict of how they feel and how transgender think of themselves and their association with gender.
Gender conflict affects people in many different ways. It can change how an individual thinks and feels. Some people who cannot come to terms with being transgender try to get into hormone therapy or medically transition with sex-change surgery.
Mental Health Issues in the transgender community
Mental health in the transgender community is often on the harder side. These people face internal turmoil and have to deal with social pressures and society's lack of acceptance. Mental health issues in the transgender community:
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): The lack of acceptance in society and internal turmoil, and all the traumatic incidents in these individual lives have a severe impact on their mental health. Almost 45% of the transgender community suffers from PTSD. These people may undergo recurring nightmares, hallucinations, etc., of all the difficulties they have faced. Therapy or medical help would allow them to get better over time.
- Anxiety Disorder: Many members of the transgender community are prone to have anxiety disorders, and trans-males are prone to it. There is an association between self-esteem, interpersonal functioning, and hormone treatment with lower anxiety levels. It indicates that these people require professional health care to avoid further deterioration in their mental health.
- Clinical Depression: This is another issue that is faced by the transgender community. They mostly suffer from depression. These changes that they have to go through since puberty sometimes leaves them in a state where they cannot even recognize their bodies. It hurts their mental health. It causes them to get into depression and have negative thoughts. Suicidal thoughts and self-harming are also prevalent amongst these people.
- Drug Abuse: These individuals are often prone to drug abuse as they need an alternative to forget all they are going through. The transgender community smokes tobacco around 200% more than other people. They also abuse alcohol by 5-10% more than the general population. Marijuana, heroin, and amphetamines are also commonly used by these people to escape all they are going through.
The adverse effects of the unfavorable social conditions experienced by these marginalized social groups are something transgender people experience every day. Social prejudices and all the discrimination trigger negative stress. All this puts their mental health in harm's way. It results in higher anxiety attacks, stress, suicidal thoughts, etc., which are highly concerning. It is necessary to take into account how many students experience mental health issues considering these problems faced by them.
How to help the transgender community?
A few simple things need to practice to make the lives of transgender people easier. After all, they are humans too. We can help them in these various ways:
- Please do not discriminate against them.
- Allow them for housing opportunities.
- Allow them to be married.
- Provide a broader range of health care facilities for them.
- Provide equal opportunities in jobs as well as education.
- Show them that they are just as important as anyone else.
Bringing these mental health issues in the transgender community will take a long time due to society's rigidity. But working to end this will promote the overall health and well-being of the transgender community. Hence, these are the mental health inequalities among transgender people and various ways to help them.