Legal gender marker and name change is associated with lower negative emotional response to gender-based mistreatment and improve mental health outcomes among trans populations

Arjee Restar, Harry Jin, Aaron Breslow, Sari L. Reisner, Matthew Mimiaga, Sean Cahill, Jaclyn M.W. Hughto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In recent years, Massachusetts (MA) and Rhode Island (RI) joined a growing list of states allowing residents to easily change the gender marker and name on government-identification (ID) documents. This was an important change for transgender and gender diverse (trans) residents, who face frequent mistreatment and thus for whom legal gender affirmation is critical. Little is known about associations between legal gender affirmation and psychological outcomes. Methods: We examined associations between legal gender affirmation (i.e., having changed gender marker/name on neither, one, or both a passport and state ID), upsetting responses to gender-based mistreatment, and mental health outcomes in a sample of trans MA and RI residents. Analyses controlled for gender identity, age, race/ethnicity, education, employment, income, and insurance status. Findings: Legal gender affirmation was significantly associated with lower reports of depression, anxiety, somatization, global psychiatric distress, and upsetting responses to gender-based mistreatment. Conclusions: These data provide corroborate recent studies suggesting having pursued legal gender affirmation may be protective. Findings bolster calls to increase structural support for trans individuals, including enactment of state policies easing legal gender affirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100595
JournalSSM - Population Health
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Legal gender marker
  • Legal name
  • Mental health
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Legal gender marker and name change is associated with lower negative emotional response to gender-based mistreatment and improve mental health outcomes among trans populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this