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Most Transgender People Find Transitioning Positive: Poll

Most Transgender People Find Transitioning Positive: Poll

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Even though trans people face hardships, transitioning has made them happier with their lives, according to a new survey.

While anti-transgender politicians and activists are promoting the idea of transition “regret,” most Americans who’ve transitioned are happy about it, according to a new poll.

“Most trans adults say transitioning has made them more satisfied with their lives,” reports The Washington Post, which conducted the poll in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The poll “is the largest nongovernmental survey of U.S. transgender adults to rely on random sampling methods,” the Post notes. “More than 500 people who identify as trans answered questions about their childhoods, their feelings and their lives post-transition.”

It found that among those who present themselves as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth, 78 percent said they have become happier with their lives since transitioning. More than 40 percent said they were much happier.

“Living doesn’t hurt anymore,” TC Caldwell, a 37-year-old Black nonbinary person who lives in Montgomery, Ala., told the Post. “It feels good to just breathe and be myself.”

The pollsters point out that transitioning is different for everyone. Most trans people have gone through social transition, having changed their attire, names, or pronouns, but only one in six have had a medical transition involving surgery, hormones, and/or puberty blockers.

Also, “trans people don’t always present as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth,” the Post reports. About 30 percent of respondents said they always do, 20 percent said they “do so most of the time,” 34 percent said “some of the time,” and 16 percent said they never do.

The survey also found that most respondents identify outside the gender binary. Sixty-two percent said they identify as trans and gender-nonconforming or trans and nonbinary, while 33 percent identified as a trans man or trans woman. Most use gendered pronouns at least some of the time, but about half said they prefer they/them pronouns.

“I think there’s a pushback against this idea that we have to fit in one of those boxes,” Josie Nixon, a 30-year-old nonbinary Denver resident, told the Post. “There are certainly binary trans men and women who fit well in those boxes and love being there, but I think there is a trend, especially as more young people find themselves, to say, ‘These boxes don’t do me justice, and they don’t represent me in a way that encompasses all of who I am, so I’d rather exist in between or outside those boxes.’”

Trans people do face hardships, the pollsters note. These include physical attacks, employment discrimination, eviction from homes, denial of health care, and mental health problems. A majority of respondents, 57 percent, said they are satisfied with their lives overall, but that is lower than the rate of U.S. adults in general, 73 percent. They reported higher rates of anxiety, depression, and loneliness than cisgender adults.

“I was floating on a cloud when I first transitioned,” said Tim McCoy, a 72-year-old white trans man living in Syracuse, N.Y. “I just thought that was the answer to all my problems. I felt wonderful, but after I had transitioned for about five years, the depression came back. Transitioning has definitely made my quality of life better, but it’s not the answer to everything.”

Other findings included that most respondents knew their gender identity at a young age and that a majority have received at least some degree of support from family members.

The poll’s findings are valuable, said Josie Caballero, the director of the National Center for Transgender Equality’s U.S. Trans Survey. Her group’s survey, the Post/KFF poll, and similar ones “provide critical tools for researchers, policymakers, and advocates seeking to better understand the needs of transgender people to find ways to improve their lives,” she told the Post.

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