The Transgender Umbrella
Transgender is really an umbrella term to cover a variety of identities including transsexual, cross-dressing, “drag queens”, genderqueer, multigendered, gender non-conforming, third gender and androgynous.
Transsexual refers to those whose gender identity, the way in which they experience themselves, is different from their biologically assigned sex. Many transsexual people wish to alter their bodies to fit with their gender identities. Those who cross-dress will wear clothes typically associated with the other gender.
They are most often comfortable with their assigned sex and do not want to change it, but express themselves in a different gender by wearing the clothes normally assigned to that gender. With regards to the term “drag-queen” – this usually refers to men who dress as women, but more for the purpose of entertainment than for gender expression.
Genderqueer is a term used to describe those who believe their gender falls somewhere on the continuum between male and female. In other words, they do not associate completely with either gender, but fall somewhere in between, or define it in a completely different way.
The other terms such as multigendered, gender non-conforming, third gendered and androgynous are terms used to describe those who have a send of blending or alternating genders. They do not wish to define themselves by the limiting constraints of a particular gender and find their identities, and also their expressions of gender, to fall outside of any conventional understanding of gender.
Being transgender is not viewed as a psychological illness or mental disorder. Remember that a psychological state is only viewed as a disorder if it is debilitating and causes significant distress or impairment in functioning. Most transgender people do not view their gender identity or expression as distressing or debilitating so the identity itself is not viewed as problematic. However, there are many factors that make the transition to transgender identity difficult, such as family and friends support (or lack thereof), and discrimination.
In this sense, counselling is useful as a source of support and understanding providing a space in which the individual can explore their gender identity and expression in a safe and non-judgemental space. In other cases, as discussed above, some might have difficulty accepting and embracing their transgender identity.
National Suicide Prevention Trial for LGBTIQ+ Persons
By providing suicide prevention and bereavement support to the LGBTIQ+ community through psychological and case management services, the National Suicide Prevention Trial aims to gather de-identified data to provide evidence of how a systems-based approach to suicide prevention might be implemented at a regional level. The Trial provides free psychological and case management services to consenting participants in exchange for gathering de-identified data about its participants.
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For transgender people and their loved ones, counselling is a useful tool to help integrate and process this new identity and self-expression.
Dealing with lack of acceptance, direct discrimination, and even assault are very distressing and can lead to depression and anxiety.
If you are experiencing difficulty in this way, then counselling is also very beneficial.
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