Transgender people have a gender identity that varies from the sex they were assigned at birth. A person’s internal, personal sense of being a male or a woman is referred to as gender identity (or boy or girl.)
Some people’s gender identity does not easily fall into any of those categories. The sex assigned to transgender people at birth does not correspond to their internal gender identity. These people who identify as transgender can use several terms to describe themselves, including (but not limited to) transgender, transsexual, and non-binary.
A transgender woman is a woman who was born as a man and now lives as a woman. A transgender man is a man who was born as a woman and now lives as a man. Some transgender people describe themselves as neither male nor female nor as a mix of the two.
Transitioning refers to when a person starts to live according to their gender identity rather than the gender they were born with. Although not all transgender people transition, a large number of them do at some stage. Every person’s gender transformation looks different. Changing your wardrobe, appearance, name, or the pronouns people use to refer to you (such as “she,” “he,” or “they”) are all possible steps in a gender change.
Recognizing who they are and choosing to begin gender transformation will take a long time for many transgender people. When transgender people reveal their true identities, they face social isolation, bigotry, and abuse.
Parents, colleagues, peers, classmates, and neighbors may or may not be welcoming, and many transgender people believe that their loved ones and those in their lives will reject them. Despite the dangers, being honest about one’s gender identity and living a fully authentic life can be a life-affirming and even life-saving choice.
Options available for transitioning
Some people may change their gender on their identity papers, such as their driver’s license or passport. Some people may have hormone therapy or other medical treatments to alter their physical appearance to make their bodies more reflective of the gender they identify with.
Effects of transition on mental health
Many transgender people will benefit from transitioning to live stable and fulfilling lives. To “complete” a transition, no particular set of steps is required; it is a matter of deciding what is best for each person.
Effects of transition on physical health
Many transgender people believe that changing their physical characteristics through hormone therapy is medically appropriate. It can alleviate the psychological trauma associated with gender dysphoria, minimize clinical comorbidities, and increase patients’ quality of life.
Clinical experience and low-quality studies have generally concluded the effectiveness of hormone therapy in alleviating psychological distress due to gender dysphoria. The systematic study of the relationship between hormone therapy and transgender people’s mental health was published in 2008.
The analysis found that hormone therapy improves gender dysphoria, psychological function, comorbidities (e.g., depression, anxiety, and suicidality), sexual functioning, and overall quality of life in people with gender identity disorder (the DSM-IV diagnostic term for gender dysphoria). However, the observational data was of poor quality.
All of the psychological functioning research that analyzed was nonrandomized and mostly cross-sectional. Furthermore, since most research looked at hormone therapy in conjunction with sex reassignment surgery, it was impossible to assess the precise relationship between hormone therapy and transgender people’s psychological functioning without using surgical procedures.
According to studies, treatment-seeking transgender individuals who are not on cross-sex hormone treatment have elevated levels of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression and a poorer quality of life. Minority stressors can affect transgender people’s social lives and relationships. Indeed, transgender people at all stages of transition (medical and social) experience interpersonal relationships and family dynamics.
Effects of transition on relationships
When it comes to romantic relationships, transgender people can face difficulties in various areas, including finding partners, revealing their gender, and maintaining relationships (Platt & Bolland, 2017). Furthermore, spouses may begin to doubt their own identity or sexual preference. They may be overwhelmed by other transition-related factors, such as negotiating new gender roles and relationship dynamics.
How transition helps in improving relationships
Many couples dealing with the loss of one of their partners seek counselling to help them get through this difficult period. The basic questions they must address is whether this move will separate them or bring them closer together.
While individuals may come to therapy to work through their feelings on their own, couples therapy for couples in transition provides a unique experience. It’s a place where their partner can see, hear, enjoy, and understand their partner’s experiences. The transition affects all people’s identities and self-perception, not just the trans partner. While the transitioning partner is dealing with the difficulties of being the center of attention in their lives, the non-transitioning partner may feel invisible. This is only one of the many changing dynamics that couples go through while they are in transition.
It’s not unusual for couples to feel more distant from one another in some respects while still feeling more connected than ever in others. Conflict is possible, and it may feel different than it did before the transfer.
When one of the partner’s changes, so does their partnership. Transition permanently alters the physical, sexual, mental, and psychological aspects of a relationship. Like the social and physical changes that are taking place, these relationship shifts will eventually stabilize. Seeking counselling to strengthen and form your relationship through this period of challenge and change can be beneficial.
Difficulties in making new relationships
The quality and satisfaction of intimate relationships may be affected by the gender-affirming transformation. Since transgender dating (dating a transwoman or man) may face additional challenges, appropriate support is needed personally, culturally, and clinically.
Only about half of transgender romantic relationships make it through the gender-affirming transition (Brown, 2009; Devor, 1997). This may be concerning for transgender people who are starting their gender-affirming transition. Different transgender forums (ts dating sites) are available to support transgender dating.
Interesting related article: “What is Mental Health?“