Home Institution

Hamilton College

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


Historically, both the general population and mental healthcare providers specifically have misunderstood the transgender identity as pathological and unnatural. Despite persistent ignorance in the mental healthcare field about the background and needs of transgender adults, a psychoanalytic evaluation is required by the gender clinic for a transgender individual to begin the gender transition process in the Netherlands. This requirement creates a degree of tension and mistrust between the transgender individual and the mental healthcare field. Such discomfort is unfortunate because statistically transgender adults face more mental health problems than their cisgender peers, likely because of the stress that comes from their gender identities being constantly misunderstood and negated by society. To make mental healthcare more accessible and useful to transgender individuals, there is a push in the transgender population to recognize and support culturally competent mental healthcare providers who operate outside of the gender clinics and effectively serve the mental health needs of transgender individuals. Though the methodologies of these professionals vary, they generally reflect a shift away from pathologizing the transgender identity and a focus on helping the transgender individual to craft a new identity that matches who they feel themselves to be. This paper illuminates the experiences of transgender older adults, both good and bad, in a variety of mental healthcare settings as well as the counseling strategies of a culturally competent mental healthcare provider. The goal of this research is to provide suggestions for improving mental healthcare for all transgender people.


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Health and Medical Administration | International and Area Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Medical Education | Mental and Social Health | Other Mental and Social Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Article Location