When binary ideas about gender are built right into our daily language, it can be challenging to figure out where we fit if our identities don’t match the predetermined categories.
Thankfully, much headway has been made regarding awareness surrounding gender identity and transgender rights, but the trans and non-binary communities still face frequent discrimination.
The knock on effects of feeling different can take a toll on our mental health and self-esteem, contributing to anxiety, depression, and self-harm.
Whether you’re considering transitioning or are already in the process, or are simply exploring your identity and seeking a safe non-judgmental place to truly understand who you are, we are here to support you.
TRANSITIONING AND COMING OUT
We have experience supporting the trans community in navigating the process of coming out to family, friends, or co-workers.
If you have ever wondered about your gender identity or just need a place to express your thoughts and feelings, our team at My LA Therapy is ready to help.
When society sticks a label on something, it can be easy to categorize people based on one dimension of their identity, like gender.
We understand that each person who walks in the door is unique, with their own values, needs, and preferences that need to be honored in therapy.
We know that trans people represent many racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, as well as varying ages and temperaments, so we tailor our interventions to each individual.
Trans individuals need support and advocacy for an equal chance to succeed and thrive, as they are more susceptible to discrimination.
At My LA Therapy, we know trans people deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect as anyone else, and we understand that living without fear of discrimination and violence is essential to mental health and wellbeing.
That’s why we believe it’s so important to support our trans community with therapists who can help navigate the complicated social and emotional terrain.
There are many terms associated with the trans community and understanding them is imperative in breaking stereotypes and stigmas against trans people.
People who do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth often utilize the umbrella term “transgender” or “trans.”
This means that their innate perception of who they are and how they externally manifest themselves in the world (which is know as “gender identity” or “gender expression”) does not match what others may see or expect based on their anatomy (biological sex), behaviors, activities, and attributes that society considers “normal” for men and women.
This may also include the feeling that you do not fit your assigned gender or that you do not fit neatly into either gender category.
Some transgender people identify as neither male nor female, or as a combination of male and female, and utilize terms such as non-binary, gender fluid, or gender queer.
On the other hand, those who do associate and identify with the biological sex assigned to them at birth are called “cisgender” or “cis.”
Cisgendered people do not face the same discrimination and difficulties as the trans community.
Although most people never think about what their gender identity is because it matches their sex at birth, everyone—transgender or not—has a gender identity.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE TRANS COMMUNITY
Many people who are not knowledgeable about trans issues may assume that changing gender identity is a whim or is something done flippantly.
While people can choose the degree to which they decide to transition or live out their gender identity and expression, it’s important to understand that being transgender or non-binary isn’t a choice, it’s something you’re born with.
In fact, there’s a relatively stable phenomenology of trans development and most people, both cis and trans, begin to recognize their gender identity between 3 to 5.
So most trans people grow up from the time they’re toddlers and young children feeling like they’re in the wrong body.
Not a good feeling.
To make it worse, parents, siblings, and friends are often attached to the person’s assigned gender and have a difficult time providing the acceptance and emotional support needed to navigate transitioning.
It’s important to understand that trans people are not sick or deviant.
They’re just living in a body that doesn’t match what they feel inside.
And it’s our job to be as supportive as possible when they have the courage to voice and live out who they truly are.
SOCIAL STIGMA AND COMMUNITY CHALLENGES
Here are some common struggles and topics that the trans community faces.
Many people in the trans community struggle with poverty and unemployment due to a lack of legal protection in the workplace.
This can lead to illegal engagement in underground economies, like drug sales or sex work, which can put people at increased risk for violence and being arrested or targeted by law enforcement, also increasing the stigma.
Poverty may also hinder the transition process due to few economic resources to pay for medical expenses and therapy.
With over a century of being characterized as mentally ill, socially deviant, and sexually predatory, trans people are also vulnerable to lawmakers who attempt to leverage anti-transgender stigma to score political points.
Up until recently, being trans was classified as a disorder, but in 2019 WHO declassified it as a disorder in order to help decrease its stigma.
It’s common for family, friends, or coworkers to reject their transgender peers so it’s important we educate people about trans issues to combat transphobia.
HARASSMENT, VIOLENCE, AND HATE CRIMES
Abuse and serious violence against transgender people in schools and the workplace (i.e. fired or denied a job) are also prevalent issues.
Many trans people have been killed violently by intimate partners or strangers, and have few options for protecting themselves, seeking justice, or turning to police for help.
In addition, trans people are often the target of hate crimes committed by strangers simply due to their gender identity.
“Passability,” the degree to which a trans person can “pass” as cis, makes them less likely to be targeted as long as other people are not aware of their transgender identity.
BARRIERS TO HEALTHCARE
The healthcare system often fails to meet the needs of the transgender community.
Medical professionals can often lack transgender healthcare competency, and trans people are commonly denied critical medical care outright because of medical workers’ biases.
“ACCURATE” IDENTITY DOCUMENTS
Many trans people are evicted and denied access to emergency housing, shelters, and other public services due to required evidence of medical transition (which is expensive and not something that all transgender people want) and high fees for processing new identity documents.
Trans people are often underrepresented in the media and in society.
It’s up to everyone to raise awareness, respect, and understanding, so trans people feel safe enough to step out and feel seen in the world.
MY LA THERAPY: A SAFE PLACE FOR THE TRANS COMMUNITY
We want you to know, whatever your gender identity, you are safe with us.
We will treat you as an individual.
Not as a label.
Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you identify and change underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and provide you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.
To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must face and conquer our pain by healing our underlying trauma and confronting our fears.
Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in addressing mental health struggles associated with trans issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, and self-harm.
See the About Therapy page for a deeper look into this process.
Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page.
WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH A TRANSGENDER EXPERT NOW
If you have any questions, contact one of our transgender therapy specialists for a free consultation any time.