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Gender and mental health

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Understanding gender identity

• Cisgender/ cis: Someone who is the same gender as assigned at birth
• Transgender: Someone whose gender is different from their sex at birth
• Non-binary/ gender queer/ gender fluid: Gender identities that sit within, outside of, across or between ‘male’ and ‘female'
• Intersex: A person who is born with biology that is not solely male or female
• Pronouns: the terms we use to refer to someone, e.g. ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’.

How might gender identity impact my mental health?

• Questioning/ exploring gender
• Transitioning/ thinking about transitioning between genders
• Distress from being viewed as a gender/ being referred to with pronouns that does not feel right
• Struggling with body image
• Gender dysphoria is the distress or unease you may feel if your gender does not match your biological sex

Discrimination

Many with gender dysphoria experience bullying/ discrimination. They may experience:
1. Fear about sharing their gender
2. Feeling a need to hide their identities
3. Worrying about what clothes to wear
4. Feeling self-conscious
5. Feeling like they have to act a certain way
6. Feeling misunderstood
7. Pressure to label their gender
This can lead to feelings of distress, anxiety, isolation, anger, depression, self-harm/ suicidal thoughts.

If you are experiencing distress:

1.

You are not alone. Reach out to someone you trust

2.

There are therapists, counsellors and mental health professionals

3.

If you experience discrimination/ physical or verbal abuse because of your gender, you can report it as a hate crime

4.

Know that things will change for the better for you and society

5.

You can also reach out to:

National CARE Hotline: 1800 202 6868

Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1-767

IMH Helpline: 6389 2222

How to look after your mental health

1.

Talk about your feelings

2.

Write it down

3.

Get creative

4.

Supportive groups and communities

5.

Find role models

6.

Clean up your social media

Telling others about your gender

• Sharing your gender is an ongoing process
• Involves conversations with different people
• Some people may not react in the way you hope
• Know that there are people who care about you and will support you
• Coming out can be a positive thing for some but a pressurising thing for others
• It is your right to define your gender, whether to talk about it, and who to talk about it to

Supporting someone with their gender identity

1.

Be an ally

2.

Learn

3.

Join a movement

4.

Call out discrimination

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