The Impact of Stigma on Gender Expression
Gender expression is how someone present themselves through their gender roles, behavior and appearance. People who express their gender outside of the gender binary can be subject to a lot of stigma and discrimination. Stigma can be very damaging to people’s mental and physical health.
What is Stigma?
Stigma is a set of negative beliefs about a group of people. It is often linked with prejudice, discrimination and oppression. Gender variant people are often discriminated against, mocked and made fun of for not conforming to traditional gender norms. This can be damaging to their mental and physical well-being.
Effects of Stigma
Stigma can have a number of negative effects on a person’s life, including:
- Mental health issues – Stigma can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. It can also lead to social isolation and a lack of support from family and friends.
- Physical health issues – Stigma can lead to physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
- Difficulties at work – Stigma can lead to difficulties in finding and maintaining employment. It can also lead to lower wages and fewer promotions.
- Barriers to healthcare – Stigma can lead to a lack of access to healthcare and medical treatments.
How to Fight Stigma
It is important to take action against stigma, in order to protect and promote the rights of gender variant individuals. Here are some ways that we can fight stigma:
- Educate yourself and others – Learn about gender identity and expression, and how you can be an ally to gender variant individuals.
- Speak out against injustice – Take a stand against discrimination and prejudice against gender variant individuals by speaking out against it.
- Be an advocate – Join initiatives and organizations that promote the rights of gender variant individuals.
- Support gender variant individuals – Show your support for gender variant individuals by giving them emotional, financial and other kinds of support.
Stigma can have a damaging effect on gender variant individuals, but we can take steps to fight it. By educating ourselves, speaking out against injustice and being an advocate, we can work towards ensuring the rights and safety of gender variant individuals.