Being A Transgender Does Not Mean You Have A Mental Disorder, Study Says

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald July 28, 10:30 am

Individuals who identify themselves as transgender should not be labeled as people who have a mental disorder, according to a study conducted in Mexico. The study found that distress and dysfunction in transgender people are not inherent. The World Health Organization currently classifies being transgender as a type of mental disorder.

"Our findings support the idea that distress and dysfunction may be the result of stigmatization and maltreatment, rather than integral aspects of transgender identity," said lead author Rebeca Robles, as per Live Science. Robles is a researcher at the Mexican National Institute of Psychiatry. Robles said removal of being transgender from the list of mental disorders can decrease stigma and victimization.

Statistics Among Transgenders

The researchers were able to interview 250 transgender individuals from the ages of 18 to 65 and most of them were transgender women who were classified as having male sex when they were born. They told the researchers that they became aware of their transgender identities when they were aged two to 17, according to Medical News Today's report on the study.

Among the interviewees, 208 or 83 percent said they had experienced psychological distress, mainly depression and 226 or 90 percent said they experienced academic, family, social or work problems due to their gender identity. There were 191 or 76 percent who faced social rejection and 157 or 63 percent who experienced violence ranging from psychological, physical and sexual forms because of their identity as transgenders.

Transgender Study Being Replicated

"The next step is to confirm this in further studies in different countries, ahead of the approval of the WHO revision to International Classification of Diseases in 2018," Robles said, as per New York Daily News. The transgender and mental health study is set being replicated in Brazil, France, India, Lebanon and South Africa.

"The perception that transgender people must be treated by psychiatric specialists has limited [their] access to health services," said senior author Dr. Geoffrey Reed in an interview with New York Daily News. The study on the relationship of being transgender and mental health done in Mexico was published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry.

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