"It just feels right": Perceptions of the effects of community connectedness among trans individuals
Trans individuals (e.g. trans men and women, non-binary, gender fluid) are at higher risk for mental health concerns, in part due to marginalization. Previous work has documented the effects of social support and community engagement on health outcomes. However, individuals' perceptions of community engagement effects may point to opportunities for intervention. This mixed methods study examines trans individuals' perceived effects of participating in trans communities on health outcomes.
... lth outcomes. Semi-structured in-person interviews were conducted with 20 individuals, and 60 individuals participated in cross-sectional online surveys. Perceived discrimination had a strong negative association with self-assessed mental health. Effects of participation included a) positive: contextualization and normalization of experience, self-appraisal, safety, and relief; and b) neutral/negative: energy drain and stigmatization. Effects of not participating included loneliness, depression, isolation, hiding identity, and losing resources. Both discrimination and non-participation in trans communities had negative effects on mental health. Though community participation is often discussed as positive for marginalized populations, it may be important to include possible negative effects (such as energy drain) in research.