Experiences with stigmatization among transgender individuals after transition: A qualitative study in the Netherlands

Maria J.A. Verbeek*, Mark A. Hommes, Sarah E. Stutterheim, Jacques J.D.M. van Lankveld, Arjan E.R. Bos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Transgender individuals belong to one of the most stigmatized groups in society. Although the social stigma of transgender individuals has been examined many times, post transition stigma experiences among transgender individuals have received limited research attention. The aim of this study was to examine experiences with stigmatization among Dutch transgender individuals after their transition. Method: Ten trans women (age: M = 58.50, SD = 9.49) and 10 trans men (age: M = 42.90, SD = 13.62) participated in face-to-face semistructured interviews. Grounded theory was used to conceptualize and analyze the data. We examined the positive and negative reactions that transgender individuals experienced in the period after their transition. Furthermore, we explored differences between experiences of trans men and trans women. Finally, we examined differences between cisgender men and women regarding their reactions toward transgender individuals. Results: Participants reported improved psychological well-being since transition. However, they still experienced different forms of stigmatization. Trans women appeared to experience stronger social stigma than trans men. Trans women also experienced lower social status after their transition. They mainly experienced negative responses from cisgender men. Participants emphasized the importance of social and peer support. Conclusion: The current study findings demonstrate the presence of stigmatization after transition and argue for psychological aftercare. Social and peer support appeared to be important for coping with stigmatization, and improving the social network of transgender individuals is beneficial. Health providers and researchers are recommended to promote the development of constructive coping skills for transgender individuals with interventions especially targeting trans women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-233
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Transgender Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • gender differences
  • social support
  • status change
  • stigma
  • transgender
  • transition
  • visibility


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