Seeking treatment for addiction as a transgender individual can be a daunting task. You’ve already come so far mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically to affirm your gender identity. And you know there’s a very real risk that if you reach out for help, you may face stigma and transphobia instead of understanding and acceptance. While LGBTQ-friendly centers do indeed exist, this fear might stop you from seeking treatment at all, and lead you to spend even more of your life in the grip of addiction.
It can be hard to reach out for help without people thinking your gender identity is the problem. Being trans might have absolutely nothing to do with your addiction, and you simply require cultural sensitivity during treatment. Alternatively, gender-related issues may be at the core of the problem, with addiction as a symptom. Regardless, gender identity is an important player in any treatment you may pursue.
An LGBTQ-friendly treatment center that can address both situations gracefully is a rare gem—in fact, a study completed in 2009 revealed that “only 7.4% [of addiction recovery centers] could identify a service specifically tailored to the needs of LGBT clients” at that time. A lot has changed in seven years, but the fact remains that finding an accepting treatment center can be difficult. A more recent study on transgender patients’ experiences at addiction recovery centers revealed that “participants who reported felt and enacted stigma, including violence, left treatment prematurely after isolation and conflicts.”
While compassion toward transgender individuals has hopefully grown since this study was completed, any program that allows judgment to affect your treatment keeps you from the healing you need. When you do find a treatment plan that’s centered around your needs and your goals, the results can be tremendous. A warm environment can help create a positive treatment situation and a lasting road to recovery.