Gender and sexual identity
It is common to hear about gender and sexual identity issues, but many people are confused about what this actually means.
Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity, gender expression or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.
Gender transition occurs when we align our physical sex characteristics with our psychological gender. Sexuality and gender identity are often mistakenly assumed to be inextricably linked but is important to consider and understand the influence of the gender-affirmation process on sexuality and sexual experiences.
Not all transgender people choose to transition - it is not the right choice for everyone. However those who choose to change their gender role may do so for some of the time only or they may make changes in only some elements of gender expression. Other people may choose to present as much as possible as a member of the other sex, and hormone therapy or surgery may be involved in this. Gender transition can occur at any stage in life.
As with any major life transition, there can be significant levels of distress that come with a change such as this and those making such changes will be vulnerable to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Therapy can assist those transitioning or struggling with their own gender identity in various ways. For example:
- Assisting the exploration and affirmation of an individual’s gender identity
- Assisting recovery from any negative social stigma the individual may have experienced
- Facilitating positive experiences of coming out to family, friends, and the rest of the community
Therapy can support you in finding inner resources to make any transition as smooth as possible and can be particularly helpful when people feel it’s too much to face alone.
Feel free to contact us to ask about psychological therapies available at First Psychology Edinburgh that may help support you or someone you know who has gender or sexual identity issues.
Shilpa Sreenath, Counselling Psychologist (Online only)