What is it about?

Transphobia is prevalent in American society, creating serious health disparities for gender diverse (e.g., transgender, nonbinary, genderqueer) young adults in society. This study explores the mechanisms through which this marginalization contributes to mental health disparities in trans populations. Gender diverse young adults completed an online survey during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. In this sample, 1) there were considerably high levels of mental health symptoms overall, 2) pandemic-related stressors were associated with higher mental health symptoms, 3) discrimination was associated with higher mental health symptoms, and 4) gender dysphoria and emotion dysregulation facilitated the link between discrimination and negative mental health. These results inform culturally competent clinical interventions and emphasize the importance of understanding the experiences of trans people beyond the individual, looking at the role of systems, ideologies, and hierarchies in society. Especially given trans health disparities have been exacerbated by recent events, including the coronavirus pandemic and the recent rise in state-level anti-transgender legislation, there is urgent need to reimagine our collective conceptualization of gender and change our policies and practices to create a world where gender diversity is not only accepted but cherished.

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Why is it important?

This paper comes at a time when anti-trans rhetoric and legislation are increasingly prevalent across the country. This paper contributes to a growing literature on advancing social justice and mental health equity for gender diverse communities, emphasizing the harm of discriminatory experiences and attitudes against trans people and urging researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to work towards addressing structural transphobia across American society.


This paper is dedicated to the memory of my close friend, Jude Maloney, who died of suicide in January 2021. They were one of my first friends at university and really helped me with my own identity and just generally created warmth and joy wherever they went. They experienced a great deal of transphobia in their life, which is documented in the paper with a citation to a UMD theatre performance that discussed their experiences with transphobia in health services (Ottenwaelder et al., 2021). This paper, I hope, will help move our society towards a world free of such tragedy where gender diversity is allowed to thrive. Ottenwaelder, C., Pan, E., Chen, N., Goldberg, K., & King, R. (2021). sad/mad/glad [Theatre production]. In All at once/Never at all. Kreativity Diversity Troupe. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/efJ7DBoadgc?t=980

M Pease
University of Maryland at College Park

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This page is a summary of: Minority stress, pandemic stress, and mental health among gender diverse young adults: Gender dysphoria and emotion dysregulation as mediators., Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, May 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/sgd0000574.
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