Psychology Today Looks at Trans Youth and Bullying

Written on 06/30/2021
Staff Columnist

In a recently published article, Psychology Today looks at transgender youth experiencing bullying in schools compared to cisgender youth.

Psychology Today says children whose gender identity does not match their assigned sex at birth experience harassment and violence in schools at a significantly higher rate than cisgender youth.

Studies show that transgender youth are more vulnerable to poly-victimization, which has been classified as multiple forms of abuse or discrimination at the same time. This bullying is linked to mental illness and emotional distress, including depression, depression, suicide and more.

A systematic review published last year in the journal Children and Youth Services Review takes a careful look at how bullying and victimization affect school-aged transgender youth. The review also identifies evidence-based strategies to prevent transgender victimization in schools,” states Psychology Today.

“The review includes 19 studies published between 2009 and 2018 of youth ages 8 to 25. It found that transgender youth are six times more likely to experience bullying, abuse and violence due to their gender orientation compared to cisgender youth,” it continues.

Based on this research, Trans kids were more likely to skip school because they felt unsafe, resulting in poor grades, dropping out, and suicide.

The study also found that in wealthy schools, trans students had more resources and were less bullied.

It also found that family and/or social support is vital in helping trans kids through bullying and victimization. Trans students who reported no support from their parents were more likely to be depressed or suicidal.

“The review identified concrete steps school districts can take to prevent the victimization of trans students,” says Psychology Today.

In schools that were more supportive of transgender people, they experienced less bullying and felt safer at school.

Teachers who lead students with a more accepting attitude toward transgender people had a beneficial impact within their schools. The research showed that properly training teachers on transgender youth could have a positive effect.

“Creating and offering specific school activities for trans students and providing all students with information about transgender people as part of sex education or health classes are strategies to help reduce bullying and intimidation. Trans youth fared better when a wide range of school staff members—counsellors, principals, teachers and nursing staff—worked together on initiatives to integrate trans students in the school setting,” says Psychology Today.

Trans youth had more positive experiences at schools with safe spaces like in-person forums, social networks, and other initiatives. Studies showed trans students felt less isolated and more accepted.

“Allowing trans youth to use their pronouns, wear clothing and use facilities (such as bathrooms and locker rooms) that correspond to their gender identities were also important components of helping them to feel less vulnerable and more included,” Psychology Today adds in the article.

Through this research, Psychology Today says bullying is a significant issue for transgender students, leading to poor mental health and bad grades.

“Creating a sense of belonging, educating staff and students and allowing youth to identify with their gender identity all helped to reduce the victimization of trans students,” Psychology Today concludes.

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