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Transgender Awareness In America Final Presentation


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An exploration in to the world of gender identity and gender dysphoria. An explanation is given in terms of what is gender identity and some possible causes for gender identity disorder are given. Also an introduction is given to psychological approaches to counseling for transgendered clients. Furthermore, an introduction as to how social factors and family can directly have an impact on a transgendered person.

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Transgender Awareness In America Final Presentation

  1. 1. Transgender Awareness In America: An Evolving Society<br />By: Josie Casillas<br />PSY492 Capstone<br />August 2, 2011<br />
  2. 2. “A revision of Jungian gender theory that embraces all genders and sexualities is needed not only to inform our clinical work but also to allow us to bring Jungian thought to contemporary gender theory and to cultural struggles such as gay marriage.” (McKenzie, 2006). <br />
  3. 3. An Evolving Society<br />Transgendered people are not accepted in to our society simply because they do not fit in to our society’s social norms.<br />They often face:<br />Violence<br />Criticism<br />Discrimination <br />The key to understanding gender dysphoria is to gain knowledge about: <br />What it is<br />What the causes are<br />What can be done to help<br />
  4. 4. Gender Identity<br />Gender identity basically refers to what sex a person perceives themselves to be, and in general, the term “gender” is often interchangeable with sex. <br />While biological or genetic factors may in fact play a role in our gender, they should not solely determine our gender identity. <br />
  5. 5. Gender Dysphoria<br />Gender Dysphoria (Gender Identity Disorder) - a “phenomenon where a person feels that their physical appearance is contrary to their sense of gender identity…people with gender dysphoria experience persistent discomfort and anxiety, and sometimes revulsion toward their own body, because they feel that their gender identity is different from that of their anatomical sex” (Blunden & Dale, 2009). <br />For example, a biological female, can perceive her gender identity to be male; or a biological male, can perceive his gender identity to be female. <br />The term transgender refers to people suffering with gender dysphoria and who’s “gender identity is in conflict with their biological sex” (Hock, 2007, p.384). <br />People sometimes also use the term “transsexual” which is “commonly used to describe transgender people who, in varying degrees, transition from their biological sex to the sex that conforms to their gender identity” (Hock, 2007, p.385).<br />
  6. 6. Gender Dysphoria: Exercise<br />“Imagine how you would feel if, tomorrow morning, you were to wake up to find yourself in a male body, with a man’s voice and a man’s face looking back at you from the mirror, with early morning beard and moustache stubble; no breasts an Adam’s apple, large male feet and hands, a body covered in thick black hair, and a penis and testicles... Would your brain be screaming out, in protest, that you are female, not male?” (Bruton, 2008).<br />
  7. 7. Sexual Orientation<br />Sexual orientation is “the gender to whom a person is primarily attracted to, romantically, emotionally, and sexually” (Hock, 2007, p.387). <br />Key thing to remember: transgendered person who is genetically male or female, can identify with the opposite gender identity, yet still be attracted to either males or females. <br />
  8. 8. Transgender Sexual Orientation<br />Example 1: A genetically born female, can consider her gender identity to be that of a male, however if she is attracted to a male, she may consider herself gay; or if she is attracted to females, she may consider herself to be heterosexual; and if she is attracted to both sexes then she may consider herself bi-sexual.<br />Example 2: A genetic male, who identifies himself as a female and is attracted to females considers himself a lesbian; if he is attracted to males, he considers himself heterosexual; and if he is attracted to both sexes, then he is considered bi-sexual. <br />
  9. 9. Possible Causes of Gender Dysphoria<br />Currently there is no actual scientific proof as to why gender dysphoria is caused.However, there are some revolving theories around the biological make up of this disorder. <br />Some evidence suggests that “hormones may play a role in the development of a person’s sexual orientation.<br />The Gender Identity Research and Education Society (2006) argues that “gender dysphoria should be seen as a problem with biological development, and it has been suggested that a problem occurs with the brain prior to birth” (Blunden & Dale, 2009).<br />
  10. 10. Genetic Disorders<br />In general fetuses are born with either XX chromosomes (female) or XY chromosomes (Male).<br />As proven, not all fetuses are born with only XX or XY sex chromosomes, and when chromosomal variations in humans exist, they are likely to cause some sort of genetic syndrome.<br />Turner Syndrome (a genetic condition in which a female does not have the usual pair of two X chromosomes) <br />Klinefelter syndrome (the presence of an extra X chromosome in a male.)<br />
  11. 11. Ambiguous Genitalia<br />“Intersex/ Hermaphroditebabies are born with one of three conditions:<br />They are genetically male (XY chromosomes), but have external genitals that are completely female (vagina and clitoris) <br />They are genetically female (XX chromosomes) but have external genitals that are completely male (penis and testicles)<br />They are genetically female [XX chromosomes] but have external genitals that are ambiguous” (Hock, 2007, p.378).<br />Some people with ambiguous genitalia might also suffer from gender dysphoria; however, intersex people are only a small percentage of people who suffer from gender dysphoria. <br />
  12. 12. Seeking Help<br />Due to social stigma, isolation, mental anguish, physical discomfort, or infertility, many transgender individuals never seek help.<br />Untreated individuals have increased chances of: <br />Mental health problems<br />Physical health problems<br />High risk for drug and alcohol abuse<br />Suicide or attempt suicide<br />
  13. 13. Social Stigma<br />Currently, our society only recognizes two types of sexes:<br />Male<br />Female<br />If their outer appearance is that of a man, they cannot mark down that they are female on any type of document such as: <br />Passport<br />Driver’s License <br />Job application<br />
  14. 14. Social Awareness<br />In the 1990’s when the Human Rights Act took place , Minnesota became the first state to ban discrimination against its transgender residents.<br />In 2000, Vermont legalized civil unions for gays and lesbians.<br />Meanwhile, “in reaction to this loosening of gender boundaries, President George W. Bush and the religious rights are calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage” (Brown 2004) (McKenzie, 2006). <br />
  15. 15. Social Approach <br />Great impact for the GLBT community:<br />Diversity Training <br />Incorporate “transgender” in to paperwork <br />AddUnisex Bathrooms<br />Providing information on how to handle gender transitions within schools and companies<br />
  16. 16. Psychological Approach<br />The primary goal of therapy, for a psychologist dealing with a transgender client, should be to help them: <br />Develop a healthy self and self in relation<br />Experience empathy and trust<br />Develop capacity for intimacy<br />Live an authentic life<br />Currently, there are three widely accepted methods of treating gender identity disorder, which include the following: <br />Hormone treatment <br />Psychotherapy/counseling<br />Sexual reassignment surgery<br />
  17. 17. Therapeutic Atmosphere<br />Create a positive atmosphere of welcoming and acceptance will also play a major role in the client’s life.<br />The therapy setting should be one that is: <br />Safe<br />Warm <br />Welcoming<br />A client should never feel: <br /><ul><li>Ashamed
  18. 18. Isolated
  19. 19. Fearful</li></li></ul><li>Building Resilience <br />Throughout the course of therapy, the therapist should also work on building the client’s resilience levels. <br />Some common resilience strategies that have been identified through research by Singh, Hays, & Watson (2011), are the following:<br />Evolving a self-generated definition of self<br />Embracing self-worth<br />Awareness of oppression<br />Connecting with supportive community<br />Cultivating hope for the future<br />
  20. 20. Employment Counselors<br />Employment counselors should become familiar with transgender-friendly companies with in their area. <br /><ul><li>“Employment counselors can contribute to this ongoing progress by (Kirk & Belovics, 2008):</li></ul>Becoming more transgender literate<br />Promoting transgender-friendly policies within their own employing organization<br />Effectively meeting the needs of their transgender clients<br />
  21. 21. Family Rejection<br />Most children know their gender by the age of two; which leaves parents feeling shocked when they discover that their child is gay, lesbian or transgender. <br />At times “Parents may react with: <br />Anger<br />Fear<br />Sadness<br />Disgust<br />In many cases parents often:<br />Ignore their child’s problem/ hope that they grow out of it<br />Reject their kids them to & force them to suppress feelings<br />Cut off contacts and resources to LGBT friends and events<br />Physically and/or Verbally Abuse them<br />Exclude them from family events<br />Tell them that God will punish them<br />
  22. 22. Family Impact (1) <br />When parents reject or disapprove of their transgender child, it often leaves the child feeling as though they are unwanted and unloved.<br />Family acceptance promotes well-being and helps protect LGBT young people against risk… family rejection has a serious impact on gay or transgender [people, and puts them at high] risk for health and mental health problems” (Ryan, 2009).<br />
  23. 23. Family Impact (2) <br />Transgender individuals may sometimes choose to suppress their gender identity because of fear of: <br />Being Rejected <br />Getting kicked out of their home <br />Teased<br />Harassed<br />Hurting their friends and family<br />Ryan (2009) found that transgender teens who were highly rejected by their families were: <br />More than eight times likely to have attempted suicide<br />Nearly six times more likely to report depression<br />Three times more likely to abuse drugs<br />Three times more likely to be at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases<br />
  24. 24. Family Acceptance<br />Transgender individuals, whose family was supportive, loving and nurturing had overall better physical and mental health. <br />They also had “much higher self-esteem and were much less likely to be depressed, to use illegal drugs, or to think about or try to kill themselves” (Ryan, 2009). <br />Telling their child that they love them often will also help build their confidence and resilience when it comes to dealing with outside rejection and discrimination. <br />It is also helpful to find local support groups for both the parents and the child. <br />Lastly, and most importantly, parents should take the time to learn about their child’s sexual orientation andgender identity so that they can better help and understand their child. <br />Parents should be accepting, supportive, loving, and empathetic towards their GLBT child. <br />
  25. 25. References<br />American Psychological Association. (2010). Answers To Tour Questions About  Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity. Retrieved on June 3, 2010 from <br />Bergandi, T., Fullmer, E., Holm, C.M., Titus, T. (02/01/2010). Attitudes Toward the   Transgender Community. Retrieved on May 20, 2010 from  EBSCOhost.<br />Blunden, P., & Dale, J. (2009). GENDER DYSPHORIA: TIME FOR POSITIVE THINKING. (Cover story). Mental Health Practice, 12(7), 16-19. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />Cohen-Kettenis, P. T., & Pfäfflin, F. (2010). The DSM Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(2), 499-513. doi:10.1007/s10508-009-9562-y<br />Fraser, L. (2009). Depth psychotherapy with transgender people. Sexual & Relationship Therapy, 24(2), 126-142. doi:10.1080/14681990903003878<br />Hock R.R. (2007) Gender: Expectations, Roles, and Behaviors. Human Sexuality (P.409). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Person Education Inc.<br />Kirk, J., & Belovics, R. (2008). Understanding and counseling transgender clients. Journal of Employment Counseling, 45(1), 29-43. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />
  26. 26. References (2)<br />McKenzie, S. (2006). Queering gender: anima/animus and the paradigm of emergence. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 51(3), 401-421. doi:10.1111/j.0021-8774.2006.00599.x<br />Ryan, C. PhD. (2009).  Supportive families, healthy children: Helping families  with lesbian, gay, bisexual& transgender children. Retrieved on June  4, 2010 from<br />Schwartz, D. (11/12/2007). The special challenges of counseling transgenderclients.  Retrieved on May 20, 2010 from EBSCOhost. <br />Schnetzler, G. W., & Conant, G. (2009). Changing Genders, Changing Policies. Chronicle of Higher Education, 56(8), B30-B32. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />Singh, A. A., Hays, D. G., & Watson, L. S. (2011). Strength in the Face of Adversity: Resilience Strategies of Transgender Individuals. Journal of Counseling & Development, 89(1), 2027. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />Wenzel, R. (2007). A TRANSGENDER HISTORY. Advocate, (999), 40-46. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />