Transgender Health: Trauma

After reading the very interesting article about PTSD for class, I became inspired to do more research about it and its relation to feminism. I stumbled across an article titled Lost in Trans-Lation: Interpreting Systems of Trauma for Transgender Clients that spoke of trauma as experienced by transgender people.

In a health assessment of 182 transgender people (three-fifths who were MTF and two-fifths who were FTM), 53.8% of 78 people responded “yes” to the question of whether they had been raped, 56.3% of 80 people said “yes” to experiencing violence in their homes, and 51.3% of 80 people said “yes” to being physically abused. It is notable that more than half of the respondents answered “yes” and is in-keeping with the statistic that more than half of transgender peoples experience some kind of violence in their lifetimes.

There are three main types of trauma, as Richmond, Burnes and Carroll write, that transgender persons experience: interpersonal, self-directed, and collective violence.

Examples of each type of violence, as explained in the Richmond, Burnes, and Carroll article, follow.

Interpersonal violence:

“More than half of transgender adults reported an unwanted sexual event before the age of 18” which was “attributed to peers’ curiosity about the sex of the transgender person.” This curiosity can be offensive and damaging because it is questioning a transgender person’s natural state.

Self-directed violence:

Transgender populations have high rates of suicide. “Studies that have asked directly about suicide ideation and suicide attempts predicted that approximately one third of transgender people have attempted suicide (Clements-Nolle et al., 2001; Kenagy, 2005). Nearly two thirds (67.3%) of Kenagy’s (2005) participants reported that the suicide attempt was related to their gender identity.”

Collective violence:

Discriminatory medical institutions cause poor health in transgender persons. “For many transgender trauma survivors, discriminatory emergency response care may
increase the severity of psychological distress following the initial trauma.”

2 thoughts on “Transgender Health: Trauma

  1. esbias says:

    Nice post, Sarah! ^_^

    Some news relevant to the topic: The American Psychiatric Association will no longer be classifying transgenderism as a medical disorder in the DSM. Link here: http://slate.me/RxySY2

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