139: Transgender and Gender Queer Perinatal Mental Health

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Today’s show begins to scratch the surface in bringing more information, knowledge and advocacy to the perinatal period for transgender, gender queer, and gender diverse people. We are discussing pronoun use, the stress and anxiety transgender people may encounter during conception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum and other stressors related to interactions and misunderstandings from their healthcare providers. Thanks to Abbie Rolf, BA for continuing this conversation with us.

Abbie Rolf is a Master’s level graduate student in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. They are a behavioral health student intern at Metro Inclusive Health in St. Petersburg, FL. Abbie is a member of WPATH, ALGBTIC, and is actively working toward becoming a gender specialist. Abbie’s intersectional identities include being queer. This and other minority identities inform the lens through which they practice. Abbie is sex-positive and kink-aware. Abbie’s areas of interest include gender-inclusive perinatal mental health, grief/loss, trauma, and consensual non-monogamy.

Show Highlights:

  • Think of “transgender” as an inclusive term to include anyone who lives in a way that their gender is incongruent with their sex assigned at birth
  • Under the umbrella of transgender are binary gender, gender queer, non-binary, and agender---”ways pepole can self-identify their nuanced gender experience”
  • Don’t assume a person’s pronoun based on the way they present
  • The best way to find out someone’s pronouns is to introduce yourself and your pronouns and ask how they want to be addressed
  • To be known authentically, it’s important to use the right language to identify ourselves and others
  • Part of bringing awareness to gender issues is to adknowledge that there can be no assumptions based on the way a person presents
  • How to learn more about appropriate pronouns (see the link in Resources)
  • The language we use in the perinatal period: “maternal” and “maternity,” which focus on womanhood and femininity
  • The fundamentals based on research and common knowledge: transgender people have higher rates for anxiety and depression (30-50%) and suicide (40%)
  • Because there is not enough research about transgender people in the perinatal period, we don’t have clear statistics
  • Gender dysphoria, which some transgender people experience, is persistent discomfort with the sex assigned at birth, sex roles, and the gender that’s perceived vs. their experienced gender
  • How hormones and hormone therapy can affect mood, and the potential for mental health conditions
  • Why it’s essential to have support in place when beginning or discontinuing hormone therapy, because everyone has unique experiences
  • Negative experiences with healthcare and insurance companies, when identities are disrespected
  • The value of a supportive medical worker or birth attendant
  • Ways transgender people can accomplish pregnancy with or without fertility treatments
  • Issues with documents and insurance coverage with legal names and legal gender markers
  • How parents are designated on a child’s birth certificate and other options besides “mother” and “father”
  • The microaggressions in misnaming and misgendering people
  • How transgender people are affected by the constant state of being unseen and unvalidated
  • Unseen stressors in the mental health system and how awareness of gender bias in the postpartum may be a manifestation of gender dysphoria

Resources:

Abbie’s Professional Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/Abbie-Rolf-BA-Graduate-Student-Mental-Health-Counseling-INtern-224253768482880/

Transgender Perinatal Mental Health for Professionals (closed Facebook group)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TransgenderPerinatalMHForProfessionals/

www.PracticeWithPronouns.com

National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

https://transequality.org/issues/national-transgender-discrimination-survey

Pronoun Options:

http://www.transstudent.org/pronounsgraphic.jpg

Gender Identities Overview:

https://www.genderspectrum.org/the-language-of-gender/

For Birthing People and Professionals:

Facebook Group: Birthing and Breast or Chestfeeding Trans People and Allies:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TransReproductiveSupport/

Queer Birth Project:

https://www.facebook.com/QueerBirthProject/

The Feminist Midwife

https://www.facebook.com/FeministMidwife/

152 episodes available. A new episode about every 7 days averaging 36 mins duration .