In the last blog post, we talked specifically about transgender identity within the LGBT umbrella. In this time’s blog post, we will build off of this topic by discussing some of the unique challenges people who identify as LGBT face in receiving social support and mental health care.

When talking about health care, it is important to think about not just physical health, but also mental health, particularly because the discrimination that people with marginalized identities face can be stressful and psychologically painful. A report last year from Human Rights Watch found that there are few protections in Japan for LGBT students who are bullied, which can make school an unsafe place for young people who identify as LGBT (*1). Even beyond school, people who identify as LGBT continue to face discrimination: a 2016 survey found that one third of respondents felt uncomfortable at the thought of working with a gay or bisexual-identifying person(*2).

Even outside of explicit discrimination, identifying as LGBT can bring stressors on a personal level, such as the pressure to come out, or alternatively, to keep one’s identity hidden. In an NHK survey conducted in 2015 (*3), about 40% of respondents said that they experienced some health effect as a consequence of the stress of identifying as LGBT, such as depression, panic, and even loss of speech.

This research illustrates the complex relationship between one’s personal identity and physical health, especially how identity-based discrimination can negatively affect health. Next time, we will continue to talk about the role that identity plays in mental health, focusing on current problems that transgender people confront within the health care system.




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  1. Pingback: 話の続き:トランスジェンダーの人たちのメンタルヘルス – CHARM