High Suicide Risk Among Transsexual People

High Suicide Risk Among Transsexual People

High Suicide Risk Among Transsexual People

According to a new survey, a staggering 41% of transsexual people in USA tried to commit suicide. Around 19% of transgender persons report being refused medical care because of their sex-nonconforming status, and a shocking 2% have been cruelly assaulted in a doctor’s office.

These statistics are just some of the sobering discoveries from a survey of more than 7 thousand transsexual people held by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, provided in October 2010.

On November 20, there is a Transgender Day of Remembrance which pays tribute to persons killed due to anti-transgender prejudice and hatred. Justin Tanis, spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality says it’s a possibility to honor the persons who died for really no other reason than that another individual acted out of hatred and fear and were so consumed by that that they finished another human being’s life. It’s also a possibility for people to look at what they can do about it. We have to make certain steps to quit that violence, while it’s unacceptable that persons continue to be murdered and continue to be cruelly attacked.

Psychologists tell transsexual people frequently face what feels like a stacked deck against them. The confusion and disapproval of family, friends and people around them creates a burden of stress. Lots of transsexual people are afraid of their safety because of the threat of anti-transgender violence. Moreover, a lot of people say about having problems finding and keeping jobs because of their transsexual status.

Clinical psychologist Gail Knudson, a medical director of the Transgender Health Program at Vancouver Coastal Health and a professor in the department of sexual medicine at the University of British Columbia said if there wasn’t a clause like an anti-discrimination rule, persons could be let go if they transition from one sex to another. It’s hard in case you don’t pass well as your preferred sex to find employment while people are discriminated against.

One of the largest issues a lot of transgender people face is the difficulty of altering sex. Transitioning from one sex to another can take lots of forms, but frequently needs hormone therapy and sometimes surgery on tits and genitals. Lots of persons have to pay out-of-pocket for these surgeries; because they either don’t have medical insurance or their insurance doesn’t cover the therapy. In addition, the process is spread in time, the majority of doctors follow guidelines called the Standards of Care that require persons to live and present as their preferred sex for months before receiving any physical transition.

Yet transsexual persons overwhelmingly tell it’s worth it. After transition, transsexual persons display a significant decrease in substance abuse troubles and depression, for instance, and their mental health significantly improves, Knudson told. Before transition, persons fight with sex dysphoria – the feeling that they are stuck in the wrong body that doesn’t correspond the way they feel on the inside.

Knudson said for their lives to go forward they require transition. Lots of the health care providers that work in the area see transition as a medical necessity – not as something persons picked up to do, but as something they require to do to lead productive lives. Additionally to their high risk of committing suicide, transsexual people face steeper odds for other health issues. For instance, a new study discovered that 2.64% of transsexual persons are infected with HIV – that’s more than 4 times the national average rate of 0.6% in the common population. And a quarter of the survey respondents said misusing drugs or alcohol specifically to cope with the discrimination they face due to their sex identity.

A 2003 research by Ilan H. Meyer (the University of Columbia) discovered that gay, lesbian and bisexual persons have a higher risk of mental disorders than straight people. The author gives an explanation to this risk in terms of minority stress, saying to the journal Psychological Bulletin that ‘label, discrimination and prejudice create a cruel and stressful social environment that provides mental health troubles.’ Though transsexual persons weren’t included in the research, these same stressors apply, scientists say.

Seth Prado, a doctoral candidate in the department of human development at Cornell University, said some of the key ingredients of the minority stress model state that label, discrimination and prejudice create a cruel and stressful social environment that are correlated with increased incidence of other mental health troubles, for instance, anxiety, depression, and in extreme situations – suicidal ideations. In fact, a few recent reports have surfaced in the national and probably more so in the local media of sex-nonconforming young people and young adults being harassed or otherwise bullied at school.

While a lot of scientists knew the situation was rough, results from the recent study – the first one held on a big nationally representative example of transsexual persons – were still surprising. Knudson told he knew that the magnitude would be high, but he didn’t think the suicide attempt numbers would be that high. That 41% suicide rate among transsexual persons is more than 25 times the rate of the common population, which is 1.6%. And among transgender people ages 18-44, the suicide attempt rate was 45%. While sobering, Knudson told the discoveries may be effective in making some alterations. It’s very galvanizing in a sense that in order for policy to alter we require that raw information, she told.

Previously, lots of studies on transsexual people were combined with investigations on homosexual guys, girls and bisexual people. While the recent rash of teen suicides, lots of sparked by homophobia, has called attention to the plight of homosexual youth, there is information to suggest that transsexual persons can sometimes face even more prevalent harassment and discrimination.

Lots of transgender youth may start by thinking they are just lesbian or gay because there is strong correlation between sex nonconforming behavior and same-gender attractions, Pardo said. Nevertheless, because of this, lots of transsexual youth that do have same-gender attractions face the added label of being overtly various (behaviorally/dress style, etc.), and potentially represent a few additional domains where bullying may become more prevalent, for instance, not just for partner preferences, but for dress style, behavior, choice of activities. Nevertheless, there are some signs of hope on the horizon.

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama. The bill expands the pre-existing U.S. hate-crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s perceived or actual sex, sexual orientation, sex identity or disability. It also provides funding for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes, and needs the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transsexual people. Tanis told that was the first law to extend protections to transsexual persons. While results will be long-term, it still means we’re moving in the right direction, he added.

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