Therapy for Gender and Sexual Identity Issues

Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family and sorting out an “authentic” sense of self in the face of social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns for LGBTQIA+ people.

New Research Examines Diversity of Nonbinary Youth

New Research Examines Diversity of Nonbinary Youth

People whose gender is not male, or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with ‘non-binary’ being one of the more common. Other terms include queer, gender non-confirming, genderfluid, genderqueer, androgynous, agender, demigirl, demiboy, genderflux and bigender. None of these terms mean exactly the same thing – but all speak to an experience of gender that is more complicated than simply male or female.

Youth with diverse gender identities subject to increased bullying

Youth with diverse gender identities subject to increased bullying

Young people with diverse gender identities may be bullied and victimized up to three times more often than peers who identify as male or female, a new study of more than 4,464 adolescents in Illinois found. The students were part of a statewide survey of eighth- through 12th-grade youths in Illinois schools.”Transgender youths reported the highest rates of all forms of peer victimization, which were double to nearly triple those of males and up to 2.6 times higher than those of females,” said social work professor Rachel Garthe of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who led the research. “Slightly more than half of transgender youths reported verbal abuse such as peers calling them names or spreading rumors about them. About one in three of these youths reported cyber victimization, and slightly fewer reported psychological dating violence,” such as a romantic partner denigrating or trying to control them.

Gender-expansive youths — students who don’t identify as male, female or transgender — experienced disproportionately higher rates of all forms of bullying and dating violence.  Among these students, 41% experienced verbal abuse, nearly 32% were cyberbullied and 19% experienced physical violence, according to the study.

Garthe said the findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, are very concerning and underscore the need for supportive policies and practices for students with diverse gender identities who may need help coping with psychological and physical violence from peers and romantic partners. Additionally, she said more programs are needed in schools that prevent these types of violence from being perpetrated.

Equal numbers of male, female, transgender and gender-expansive students were included in the research. The study was novel in that it included a large sample of transgender individuals and the experiences of gender-expansive individuals were explored as a distinct group, Garthe said.

The students in the current study were a subset of the participants in the 2018 Illinois Youth Survey, a biennial survey that gathers data on a variety of social, behavioral and health indicators from youths in schools throughout Illinois. The Center for Prevention Research and Development, a unit within the U. of I. School of Social Work, conducts the survey.

Despite growing numbers of schools implementing anti-bullying policies that include protections based on sexual or gender identity, rates of victimization remain high among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths, research has shown. However, LGBTQ students report feeling safer and more connected at school and experience fewer gender-related negative remarks from peers when resources such as LGBTQ-inclusive curricula are taught, according to the study. When anti-bullying policies with LGBTQ protections are implemented, students are less likely to be forced to use bathrooms that match their assigned sex or wear clothing incongruent with their gender identity or expression, Garthe said.

“To enhance the effectiveness of these policies and further support these students, anti-transphobic education for teachers, administrators and students is needed, along with the use of pronouns that reflect individuals’ gender identity,” Garthe said.

Read this article on Science Daily: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau. “Youths with diverse gender identities bullied up to three times more than peers, study finds.”  www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/05/210512132910.htm.


Dr. Holland offers LGBTQIA+ Affirming Therapy and is a psychotherapist providing cutting edge, integrative and evidence-based mental health care, proven effective with depression and anxiety, life transitions; pregnancy, parenting, ageing, loss, and caring for a parent or loved one during a health crisis or decline. She is available for Teletherapy – Online Video Counseling Services — Short-term sessions, single sessions or ongoing support as well as in-person appointment for fully vaccinated clients. Contact Dr. Holland to schedule an appointment at 707-479-2946.

Outbeat Radio Interview with Jenny Holland, PsyD

Join in as co-hosts and wives, Dr. Dianna L. Grayer and Sheridan Gold interview JENNY HOLLAND, ADAM BROWN, and their 3 kids. AMELIA 18 years old, ADDISON 15 years old, and NOAH, 12 years old, all identify with the LGBTQI+ community. Listen in as you learn from the parents and their kids how they navigate the world.

LIVING PROOF – JUNE 20121

Outbeat Radio Interview with Jenny Holland, PsyD

“Our family was recently asked to be interviewed for pride week. We have three children. One of them identifies as trans, one of them identifies as somewhere on the LBGTQI A+ spectrum, and the other is uncertain. Our friends, Sheridan and Dianna have noticed our positive parenting and wanted to talk to our family about it on their radio show. Living proof on Outbeat Radio.” ~ Dr. Holland

Patient Comment – June 2021

“Our teen has been meeting with Dr. Jenny Holland for a couple of years. She took time to reach out to us as parents to ensure that we were getting support too as we navigated not just a transitioning child but the emotional ups and downs of a teenager, too. She gave us permission to be strong parents without giving in to our kid. Reach out, it is worth it.”

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Coping with discrimination and oppression, coming out to one’s family and struggling with social expectations and pressures can lead to higher levels of depression, anxiety, substance use, and other mental health concerns. Dr. Holland offers In-Person, Teletherapy and Online Video Counseling Services to meet your needs. 707-479-2946 for appointments or go here for more information.