Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. It was first recognized in 2009, and has been recognized every year since then. And this year, I wanted to recognize it by talking about transgender individuals and mental health.
The mental health community has come a long way from its shameful beginnings when it comes to the transgender community and mental health. It was originally listed as a sexual dysfunction in the DSM, alongside homosexuality and pedophilia. Thankfully, we understand much more now, and are able to better support them.
Unfortunately, the world is not always as compassionate. Transgender individuals are sometimes not supported by their family, and may be the victim of bullying and other harmful interactions. Perhaps this negativity is why nearly 1 in 2 transgender individuals experience a mental illness and 41 percent have attempted suicide. And these numbers show how far we have to go as a society.
Transgender individuals are just as worthy of love and acceptance as anyone. More importantly, they need acceptance just as much as anyone. Humans are, after all, a social species. It is beyond tragic that too many individuals fail to treat transgender individuals with the respect they deserve. So if you want to know how to support someone who is transgender? Just don’t be a jerk. It costs nothing to treat all persons with respect. There is no religion that tells you to be disrespectful to others and treating all people with decency is, in my view, part of living a healthy life spiritually. And listening to and being accepting of others can save a life.