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Transgender Negative Media Depiction

By Charlotte Robinson, November 30, 2020

A new study published in LGBT Health found that frequent exposure to negative depictions of transgender people in the media was significantly associated with clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety, global psychological distress & post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in this population. The Fenway Institute & Brown University study is believed to be the first of its kind to explore the effects of exposure to negative transgender-related media across a range of platforms on transgender people. It is an important addition to the extensive body of research showing a correlation between negative media depictions of stigmatized groups and poorer mental health outcomes, as few studies focus solely on transgender people. Jaclyn White Hughto, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Brown University School of Public Health stated, “Nearly all of our study participants reported having seen negative depictions of transgender people in media over the past 12 months. But those who reported greater frequency of exposure to these messages were significantly more likely to exhibit clinical symptoms of depression, anxiety, global psychological distress & PTSD. The association held even after adjustments were made for variables such as age, race, income & reported experiences of childhood and/or adult sexual or physical abuse, which suggests that negative media messages may have an independent impact on the mental health of transgender populations exposed to such messages. Given the prevalence of systemic discrimination against transgender people in employment, health care settings, schools & housing we have long known that structural interventions are required to target stigma at its source. Campaigns designed to encourage accurate, non-stigmatizing depictions of transgender people across all media could serve to mitigate the harms of negative media messages to transgender people. In the meantime, clinical interventions can also help transgender people cope with the stress of being exposed to negative transgender-related media.”  READ STUDY…

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