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Andi smiling at the camera, holding a mug in both hands. Andi has red and black hair, two visible facial piercings and they are wearing a black sleeveless top and jeans. They are seated in a white chair against a black background. Andi's visible tattoo is of a vampire angel and is on their left upper arm
January 24, 2022
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Denial, discrimination, and abuse are the real mental health issues for trans+ people

When I started developing Beyond Reflections in 2017 I was aware of a statistic regularly referenced, that 48% of trans+ people have made at least one serious suicide attempt over their lifetime. Having worked as a counsellor and counselling supervisor within the organisation for seven years sadly this statistic did not surprise me.

Internally we had other statistics. Our study for Police and Crime Commissioner showed every one of our members had experienced transphobia. Not even one unscathed. Our first member survey showed 98% had attempted suicide or seriously self-harmed. I know that our work saves lives, the support we offer changes those numbers.

Internalised transphobia

Therapists know that living in a culture which denigrates gender diversity you introject those same values. They become part of your psyche and ways of thinking and often lie unchallenged. Words like “freak” damage your sense of self-worth. You may come to believe the only way to be accepted is to undergo surgeries to meet other’s expectations.

If you are gender diverse your internal reality, your understood sense of self, is not only incongruent, out of alignment, with the gender identity you were assigned at birth, you are in constant conflict with those introjected values.

Words burrow inside you like insects. Laying their eggs of internalised transphobia deep inside.

Self-actualisation

Carl Rogers, the founder of Person-Centred therapy and practice determined that we have an inherent need to grow, to thrive, to become the best version of ourselves. This drive pushes against those words. You are in conflict, inevitably and internally, which materialises as pain, dysphoria, distress.

Ten questions

I knew those numbers were real, I feared those numbers were only the tip of the iceberg. Here I had the opportunity to capture real data which Beyond Reflections could use as part of our charitable object to deliver social change through education. In 2017 we started capturing data from every one of our new members on their mental wellbeing at the point of coming to us for help.

Ten questions form part of our assessment and consultation process, an opportunity for people to reflect on the impact being trans+ has had on their life. “Has there been a negative impact on your mental health or your participation in society?”

It’s time to begin the healing

As an organisation specialising in mental wellbeing, we repair the harm done through empowering people to meet their authentic self, to understand themselves better and make healthy decisions about their future. We know that a lifetime of denial, discrimination and abuse leaves wounds which need time and acceptance to heal.

We have seen how the pandemic has forced many trans+ people into situations which are potentially harmful. Our members tell us about considering detransition because they are not accepted at home and speak about discrimination in health services and at work.

Four years on we are ready to use those numbers to evidence our own knowledge. Beyond Reflections has a duty to our members, to our future, to empower all those we work with to better understand the lived experience of being trans+.

I am proud to announce Beyond Reflections will soon publish our first research paper on the impacts of being trans+ in England.

Mental Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing comes from not being in conflict. From reviewing our introjected values, understanding ourselves and building our self-esteem and confidence.  The person-centred, non-directive reflections our trained volunteers provide empower this growth.

Social change

Beyond Reflections knows trans+ people will continue to transition to thrive. Denial, discrimination and hate only harm people’s mental wellbeing. Such treatment will never change the fact that being trans+ is an aspect of human diversity. Beyond Reflections has a duty to empower society to change. To advise, to inform and to educate with integrity.

Our research paper will give real data to organisations up and down the country empowering them to change. From our therapy to our outreach, we deliver on our commitment educate with integrity.

If you want to be one of the first to know the real power of our statistics, then contact info@beyond-reflections.org.uk and ask to join our mailing list.

Fund our work

Can you help us fund Beyond Reflections? We have a fantastic new fundraiser planned for Transgender Day of Visibility. Computer gaming is vitally important to many of our members. From relaxation to a safe space to experiment with gender. The time is right for a gaming fundraiser. If you are a Twitch streamer fill out our form and get involved.

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