A new study out of the Netherlands claimed “internalized transphobia” caused transgender patients’ mental health issues and argued that their dissatisfaction with medical procedures was the result of outside pressure to conform to gender stereotypes.
The Dec. 28 study investigated an apparent contradiction in the transgender medical field: that despite the common assertion that cross-sex medical procedures improve patients’ mental health, many patients report continued mental struggles after these procedures. Researchers said stress, stigma and “internalized transphobia” caused the issues and examined patients’ different ways of coping. (RELATED: Medical Establishment Downplays Risk Of Regretting Sex Changes, Researchers Say)
The study included 19 voluntary participants, all of whom were Dutch and had undergone some cross-sex medical procedures. Researchers interviewed the participants and recorded their stressors, such as dissatisfaction with medical treatments or lack of social acceptance, as well as their coping mechanisms.
The study was published in MDPI Healthcare, a medical journal which, according to its website, is peer-reviewed.
Some patients reported being dissatisfied with surgical and medical outcomes, explaining that they did not actually look like the opposite sex, didn’t like the way they looked or felt uncomfortable with the changes to their bodies, but researchers blamed this dissatisfaction on patients’ “high expectations.”
“Participants frequently mentioned having maladaptive cognitions concerning gender and transition, which included having stereotypical images of men/women, focusing on gender-incongruent characteristics and experiencing internalized transphobia,” the study read. “When participants were mainly focused on gender-incongruent characteristics they were not easily satisfied with the results of the treatments, leading to increased chances of reporting negative emotions, discomfort and/or requesting re-operations and surgical corrections.”
“When participants focused especially on gendered characteristics or had high expectations, extra operations or treatments were often sought,” the researchers wrote.
Internal conflicts, low self-respect, doubts about actually being transgender and depressive feelings could also be traced back to “internalized transphobia,” according to the study.
“I can hardly look at myself in the mirror. When I’m naked, my confidence is almost zero,” an 18-year-old participant reported. Researchers viewed this, too, as a consequence of internalized transphobia.
“Some struggled to accept being transgender, which, at times was due to internalized transphobia or shame,” researchers wrote. “Other participants had difficulty accepting the gender non-conforming parts of their appearance as they wanted to fit into a stereotypical gendered ideal.”
The researchers did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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