Gender Fluidity and Mental Health


Gender Fluidity refers to the gender identity or expression being flexible. Sex and Gender are often used as synonyms for each other but are two different things. Sex refers to the physical attributes that differentiate male-female and intersex bodies and Gender refers to a person’s identity and how they feel internally i.e masculine-feminine feelings that differ from the assigned sex at birth.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI*) community represents a diverse range of identities and expressions of gender and sexual orientation. In addition to these identities, members of the community are diverse in terms of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality and socioeconomic class. This intersectionality, the combined and overlapping aspects of a person's identity, brings the diversity of thought, perspective, understanding and experience. This complexity is important to understand as a unique and valuable aspect of the LGBTQI community that can result in a strong sense of pride and resiliency.

Despite the Pride, this community faces a lot of mental health challenges too which can be twice as difficult for them as it would be for their heterosexual peers



The Trevor Project’s 2020 national survey found that 48% of LGBTQ youth reported engaging in self-harm in the past 12 months, including over 60% of nonbinary youth and transgender youth. And according to a 2020 study by Trusted Source, suicide death risk is higher in trans people than in the general population. Although the full range of LGBTQI identities is not commonly included in large-scale studies of mental health, there is strong evidence from recent research that members of this community are at a higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions — especially depression and anxiety disorders. LGB adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. Transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely as cisgender individuals (people whose gender identity corresponds with their birth sex) individuals to experience a mental health condition.

This saddening truth involves many reasons, and most of them are from society. The reasons are as follows -

  1. Homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, bullying and feeling identity-based shame are often traumatic for people. The LGBTQI community faces many forms of discrimination, including labelling, stereotyping, denial of opportunities or access, and verbal, mental and physical abuse. They are one of the most targeted communities by perpetrators of hate crimes in the country.

  2. Rejection from family members, parents, friends etc after coming out can be a heartbreaking experience for the individual, which leads them to have problems in accepting themselves too.

  3. Inadequate mental health care can lead to poor mental health. The reason for this might be the discrimination faced by this community in terms of having facilities like doctors, counsellors etc Additionally, members of this community may face harassment or a lack of cultural competency from potential providers. These experiences can lead to a fear of disclosing sexual orientation and/or gender identity due to potential discrimination or provider bias.

  4. Confusion, due to the conditioning of genders and lack of sex education. Certain communities do not openly talk about the exploration of genders , sex etc, This might lead a queer person to go through cognitive dissonance between what society thinks and what they think of themselves to be.

Just as we all have the privilege to exist in this world, so do others and we should make this world a better place for others and not only ourselves. Therefore one can make efforts to reduce the mental health issues of their homosexual peers. This can occur if -

  1. Educating ourselves - One should educate themselves on what exactly is an LGBTQI community, just as we educate ourselves before speaking in front of a professional. Educating and learning about different genders can allow one to be more open and accepting of society. Teach and educate kids and youth about different genders, and pronouns.

  2. Create a more safe and non-judgemental space, by not discriminating against them. This can happen when all the people are treated as the same despite their pronouns be it work, school, college etc.

  3. Strict actions should be taken against the bullying or harassment done.

  4. Parents and friends should be more supportive about coming out of an individual and not shun their child’s identity. Creating a safe, nonjudgmental space could look like being thoughtful about your language and the terms you use and avoiding assumptions by asking your friend or loved one directly so that they feel seen and heard.


Since June is a pride month, let us make our queer friends actually proud of us by creating a safe place for them and standing up for them.

Reference :

Kuehnle,F. ( 2022, May 24 ) .What Does It Mean to Be Genderfluid?Retrieved from - h ttps://psychcentral.com/health/genderfluid NAMI. ( 2022 , June 11 ). LGBTQI. Retrieved from - https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Identity-and-Cultural-Dimensions/LGBTQI

 

This Blog on 'Gender Fluidity and Mental Health' has been contributed by Simarpreet Kaur, who is currently pursuing BA in psychology from GGDSD College, Chandigarh. She is keenly interested in singing, creating content, and drawing and looks forward to becoming a counselor someday.

She is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.