Is this a mental illness?
In short, being trans is not a mental illness, but there are many struggles associated with being trans, including mental health issues. It is important to understand that being trans is never a result of mental health problems, rather, trans people often struggle with their mental health due to trans-related issues. It can be difficult for trans people who experience gender dysphoria (discomfort that results from their body and gender identity being misaligned), and this often presents itself in the form of anxiety or depression as well as other mental health problems.
A fantastic example of positive change that has allowed more trans people to feel safe coming out, and proving that being trans is not a mental illness, is the removal of ‘transsexualism’ from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD) in 2018. This was followed by the removal of ‘gender identity disorder’ as a mental illness from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Both manuals are key texts used internationally by medical professionals to diagnose illnesses and disorders.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression is a common mental illness caused by gender dysphoria because it can be difficult for trans people to process the overwhelming discomfort, frustration, anger or sadness associated with a misalignment of the body and gender identity. Additionally, anxiety can often manifest as a result of trying to fit into a society that thrives on conventional gender roles; it can be stressful to express your gender identity in public when people generally expect you to present a certain way to fit into the way they see men and women, especially when you cannot predict people’s reactions.
It is normal for trans people to consider therapy to resolve these mental health issues, and it is recommended that you seek advice from your doctor on how to treat these issues.