Transgender Identity Issues in Psychology

Transgender and gender-variant people have a variety of concerns for which they may seek the assistance of psychologists. In addition to the usual problems that may bring any individual to therapy, transgender and gender-variant people often seek professional help in understanding their gender identities and patterns of gender expression and in addressing the complex social and relational issues that are affected by these.

Transgender persons not uncommonly seek medical services to make their bodies more congruent with their gender identities; involvement of mental health professionals is often necessary or desirable in arranging such services. Moreover, many transgender and gender-variant people experience stigmatization and discrimination as a result of living in a gendered culture into which they often do not easily fit. They may not only experience an inner sense of not belonging but also discrimination, harassment, sometimes lethal violence and denial of basic human rights. These issues, too, often bring transgender people into contact with mental health professionals.

From the Introduction to Transgender Issues, Report of the APA Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance

APA Leadership
APA Resources on Transgender People and Issues
APA Resolution Supporting Full Equality for Transgender and Gender-variant People

The Resolution on Transgender, Gender Identity and Gender Expression Nondiscrimination calls on APA to:

  • Support legal and social recognition of transgender individuals consistent with their gender identity and expression

  • Support the provision of adequate and medically necessary treatment for transgender and gender-variant people

  • Recognize the benefit and necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals

  • Call on public and private insurers to cover these treatments

Task Force on Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Clients
Monitor on Psychology

Transgender today: throughout history, transgender people have been misunderstood and seldom studied. That's beginning to change.
April 2013

Policies and Practices
Other Resources


  • Best Practices for Asking Questions to Identify Transgender and Other Gender Minority Respondents on Population-Based Surveys 
    Most federally-supported population-based surveys do not include measures to identify transgender and other gender minority respondents. This report assesses current practices in sex and gender-related population research and offers strategies for establishing consistent, scientifically rigorous procedures for gathering information relevant to the needs and experiences of transgender people and other gender minorities.
    By Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance (GenIUSS) Group, September 2014

  • Protecting the Rights of Transgender Parents and their Children: A Guide for Parents and Lawyers
    A Joint Publication of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Transgender Equality 

  • Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault
    Office of Justice Programs/Office for Victims of Crime
    Includes tips for those who serve victims.

  • Discussion Paper on Transgender Health & Human Rights United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    This discussion paper aims to inform UNDP's work on transgender health and human right to foster greater understanding on the health and human rights issues that impact trans people and consequently influence their social marginalization.
    December 2013

  • Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, Feb. 3, 2011
    The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that transgender and gender nonconforming people face discrimination in every area of life.
    Conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Transgender Day of Remembrance and Week of Awareness

  • Transgender Day of Remembrance is on Nov. 20, and Transgender Awareness Week takes place during that week. It is a time for honoring the memory of those whose lives were lost in anti-transgender violence and for transgender people and their allies to take action by educating the public and advancing advocacy to bring attention to this community and the unique challenges they face.

Recent Research