There are perhaps 700,000 trans people in the US.
Transgender people have the same potential as cis-gendered to have full and satisfying lives when they are living in harmony with their Gender Identity.
Gender identity is a person’s inner sense of whether they are male, female, or some other variation. It is not a choice. Gender identity is the gender a person identifies with, which may be different from the gender (sex) they were assigned at birth.
Transgender people were unfortunately assigned a sex at birth which is different from their inner sense of being male, female, or some variation of male and female.
Cis or cis-gendered people live comfortably with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Cis-gender and trans-gender are normal variations of gender identity.
Transitioning is the process of changing from the sex assigned at birth to a person’s gender identity.
The trans community is incredibly diverse. Some transgender people identify as male or female, and some identify as genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, or somewhere else on or outside of the spectrum of what we understand gender to be. Some take hormones and have surgery as part of transitioning, and some don’t. Some choose to openly identify as transgender, while others simply identify as men or women. For more, check out this site.
Of those living under the umbrella of LGBTIA, trans people are the ones most viciously targeted with discrimination, and among Trans people the most vulnerable are M2F (Male to Female Trans). The experience of trans people living in urban Californian centers is of course better than those living in the American South, but for the country as a whole, in 2013:
- In the first two months of 2017, seven M2F people were murdered. 6 were Afro-American, and one was Native American.
- 73% of the victims of hate crimes were transgender women
- 66% of the hate-victim homicides were trans women
- Transgender women at almost 4 times as likely to experience violence from the police as cis-gendered women, and if they were reporting a crime they are 7 times more likely the victim of police violence.
- Transgender women are almost twice as likely as cisgendered women to experience sexual violence.
These chilling facts persist, but neither the American Psychiatric Association nor the American Psychological Association consider Transgenderism a mental disorder. Professionals view variations of gender identity as something to respect, support and protect. Variations are not a disorder to change or fix. In fact the opposite is often true: for many Trans people working to change the system of discrimination – liberation therapy – is an important part of healing.
When trans people come to therapy they are often seeking clarity about exactly how they identify in terms of gender, seeking support to overcome discrimination, or seeking support to heal relationships that have been disrupted by their transitioning. Relationship therapy can be very helpful for a couple or family when one person transitions.
Donna Chapman, MFT, has written a ground-breaking paper which gives professionals clear guidance on how to use the powerful techniques of EFT to help couples and families in which one person is transitioning. San Diego is fortunate that Donna maintains a private therapy practice in our city.