The results of the largest trans survey carried out in Ireland were launched yesterday by TENI, with the publication of Speaking from the Margins: Trans Mental Health and Wellbeing in Ireland. The report reveals shocking levels of suicide attempt rates amongst the Irish trans community; 78% of respondents had considered suicide, and 40% of these had attempted to take their own live at least once. The levels of self-harm reported were also disturbing, with 44% of people having self-harmed.
“These figures are a result of the widespread transphobia in our society,” said TENI Director Broden Giambrone. “Trans people experienced worrying levels of violence because of their gender identity: 6% of trans people had been raped; 36% had been sexually harassed; 16% were physically assaulted and 64% were mocked or called names.”
“The impact of this is that trans people and their families experience endemic levels of stress and anxiety. We found that 83% of trans people avoided public spaces due to a fear of being harassed.”
One of the fascinating results of the survey, however, was that self-harm and suicide attempt rates plummeted when people were able to transition to their true gender. “This was a really specific, positive finding,” continued Giambrone. “If people are supported to become their true selves, their wellbeing and mental health improve dramatically. As one of the most marginalised communities in Ireland, it is encouraging to find that when appropriate health care is provided, we can make a tangible improvement in the lives of trans people and their families.”
The study also focused on mapping people’s experience within the health care system in Ireland. The majority of trans people had had negative experiences: health care professionals had discouraged 26% of respondents from exploring their gender and 19% of people were told they ‘weren’t really trans’. “Trans people are treated like second-class citizens,” said TENI Health & Education Officer Vanessa Lacey.
“The amount of parents who are contacting me on a daily basis looking for help and hope for their loved ones is astronomical. I’m encouraged by the engagement of the HSE at a high level to take the stigma and discrimination out of health care, but this commitment needs to resonate throughout the system.”