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Barriers to possessing gender-concordant identity documents are associated with transgender and nonbinary people's mental health in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Abstract
Purpose: This study sought to expand on previous scholarship focused on gender-concordant identity documents (IDs) as a social determinant of health. We examined the association between barriers to legal gender recognition and the mental health of transgender and nonbinary people in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Methods: We used data from a 2018 nationwide community-based survey of trans and nonbinary people in Aotearoa (N = 818). Variables of investigation included: gender-concordant IDs, mental health (past-month psychological distress, past-year nonsuicidal self-injury, past-year suicidality) and barriers to changing gender markers on a birth certificate or passport. Associations between gender-concordant IDs and mental health were determined using generalized linear regression models. Results: In total, 34.8% reported the correct name on all of their IDs. The proportion with the correct gender marker on both birth certificates and passports was 16.0%. Participants with gender-concordant IDs were more likely to be older, have higher levels of income and education, and have had genital reconstruction. In addition, 68.7% of participants reported experiencing at least one barrier to changing gender markers on their IDs, and these participants had significantly higher average points of psychological distress scores (b = 2.39) and greater odds of suicidal ideation (odds ratio = 2.02) than those with gender-concordant IDs, after adjusting for sociodemographic variables. Conclusion: We present novel findings on higher levels of mental health problems among trans and nonbinary people who faced barriers in trying to obtain gender-concordant IDs compared with those with gender-concordant IDs. Removing barriers to legal gender recognition may be an effective way to improve mental health.
Type
Journal Article
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Date
2022-05-23
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This is an Accepted Author version of an article published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc in LGBT Health journal in 2022 https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2021.0240