Transgender people have a gender identity that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth. They often undergo medical transition through hormones and surgery to align their bodies with their gender identities.
When talking to a transgender person, always use their preferred pronouns. This shows that you respect them and their gender. It also helps to avoid the use of derogatory language.
Gender identity is an internal, deeply-held sense of gender that may be different from the sex assigned at birth. People who identify as transgender may also choose to use a name and pronouns consistent with their chosen gender, as well as undergo medical transition to change their body to match their gender. They may seek social and legal affirmation (e.g., changing their gender markers on government-issued documents), hormonal therapy, and/or surgical affirmation (e.g., facial feminization surgery, vaginoplasty, and/or breast implants). Gender nonconforming individuals are sometimes referred to as bigender, agender, intersex, or gender fluid.
Some transgender people strive to “pass” as the gender they identify with, wearing stereotypically feminine clothing and avoiding masculine appearances. They may also request that others use feminine or neutral pronouns to address them, rather than male or female. A recent study found that the estimated brain sex of transgender women is shifted towards the female gender, while it would ordinarily be expected to be shifted away from the male gender.
Gender dysphoria is the distress that transgender people experience because of a mismatch between their inner sense of gender and the sex assigned to them at birth. It can also involve body parts such as genitals or voice that don’t match with their gender identity. This may lead to emotional and psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidal behaviors.
In a recent study, researchers found that people who experience gender dysphoria have higher rates of mental health problems than cisgender individuals. They are more likely to have poorer relationships with family members, have more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and report a lower sense of well-being.
Some people who identify as transgender may be treated with hormone therapy or surgery to align their physical appearance with their gender identity. This can help reduce the severity of their symptoms, but it will not change their gender identity. Some transgender people may decide to forgo treatment.
Many transgender people make a medical transition, which can include hormone therapy and surgery. This helps them look and act more like the gender they identify with. Some doctors also offer psychotherapy, which can help a person through the transition process. Before beginning hormone therapy, it’s important to have a mental health professional perform a gender dysphoria diagnosis and treat any related psychological issues.
Physical transition can involve changing your hairstyle, avoiding certain clothing and using pronouns that match your preferred gender. It can also involve cosmetic procedures like rhinoplasty, which reshapes the nose, and chin and jaw surgery to soften or strengthen the angles. Some people may also choose to have breast implants or genital reconstructive surgery, which changes the appearance of the chest and labia.
The most common form of gender-affirming care is hormone therapy. This includes testosterone, which helps develop male physical characteristics, and estrogen, which encourages female ones. Some patients may also want to have chest surgery or genital reconstructive surgery, but these procedures are not recommended for adolescents because they increase the risk of infection and can cause long-term problems.
Loneliness and social isolation affect the health of many people. It can lead to mental and physical problems and cause people to use unhealthy coping behaviors. It also increases the risk of suicide. People who are isolated may also have trouble getting adequate healthcare.
People who are lonely or isolated can also develop negative self-talk and become more depressed. Talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help them understand their unhelpful thoughts and reshape them. It can also help them learn to build healthy relationships.
The effects of loneliness and social isolation can be even more serious for marginalized groups such as transgender people. These individuals often have limited social support and can face discrimination, hostility, and harassment. They are also at higher risk of homelessness. In addition, they can feel frustrated and resentful over public health measures that require them to physically distance themselves from other people. This can make them more likely to engage in dangerous risk-taking behavior, such as sexual risk behaviors.