Monday, May 01, 2017

Mental Health

Since we are on the topic of mental health today, I came across this article on one of the big stressors that we face as trans people, the “bathroom police.”
Bathroom Safety Key to Transgender Students’ Mental Health
By Zawn Villines
April 27, 2017

Feeling safe in school bathrooms is vital to the well-being of transgender students, according to a study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Researchers found addressing safety issues can reduce disparities in educational quality and well-being between transgender and cisgender students.

How Bathroom Issues Affect Transgender Students’ Mental Health
The study used a cross-sectional survey of 1,046 students at five Michigan high schools. Among cisgender participants, 41.2% were boys and 49.6% were girls; 9.2% of participants were transgender. A fifth (21.6%) were LGBQ+. Most respondents (65.8%) were white, 12.4% were black, and 14.1% were multiracial.

Researchers assessed factors such as students’ gender, whether they felt safe using the restroom at their school, and their level of self-esteem. The study also looked at how accepting the school was of LGBTQ+ students. Researchers found significant differences in the climate of acceptance at each school.

Bathroom safety strongly correlated with overall school safety. If transgender students did not feel safe using the bathroom at their school, they were more likely to report not feeling safe in school overall. Bathroom safety also played a prominent role in transgender students’ grades and self-esteem. This suggests bathroom rules, including the allowance for students to use the restroom that best corresponds with their gender, figure prominently in the well-being of transgender students.
You know I think that we are all understand that school culture has a lot to do with how safe that we feel. How does the school handle bullying and harassment? Do they have zero tolerance or does the school have a variable policy that different level of discipline that corresponds to the infraction? Do they treat the target of the bullying differently when they defend themselves from attacks on them?

Most importantly do they enforce their policies proactively or are they reactive and will they standup to outside pressures?

At Saturday's Transgender Lives: The Intersection of Health and Law conference the keynote speaker talked about how her school was proactive but caved in when a right-wing conservation organization stepped in and threatened to sue.

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