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Gender Identity and Transgender Issues

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Why is it important to understand stress and know how to cope with it?

Stress is a fact of life. Most of us have periods of stress at various times in our lives. But extra stress can have a serious effect on your health, especially if it lasts for a long time.

If you are openly transgender, you may be under a lot of extra stress because of discrimination in the community. If you are still in the closet, you may have stress from hiding who you really are. Rejection, discrimination, fear, and confusion cause long-term stress in many transgender people.

Constant stress can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, so that you have a harder time fighting off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school.

People who are under long-term stress are also more likely to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol heavily, and use other drugs. These habits can lead to serious health problems.

It's important to recognize the effects that stress can have on your life and to learn how to cope with stress to stay healthy. For more information, see the topic Stress Management.

How can you support someone who is transgender or transsexual?

  • Learn all you can about transgender and transsexual issues.
  • Learn to use the right pronouns ("he," "she," "him," "her"). Don't be afraid to ask the person what he or she prefers.
  • If the person is changing his or her name (from Dennis to Denise, for example), use that new name when talking to or about the person.
  • Make sure you get support for yourself. It can be stressful to try to see a transsexual person in a new way. Counseling can help.

For more information, see the topics:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 25, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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