Eudaimonic Well-Being in Transsexual People, Before and After Gender Confirming Surgery

Abstract

Gender confirming surgery (GCS) and cross-sex hormones (CSH) are crucial steps in the self-realization of a transsexual individual. However, no study has analyzed the outcome of GCS in a eudaimonic perspective, nor explored eudaimonic well-being before GCS. The study compares the eudaimonic well-being of trans men (N = 56) and women (N = 89) before and after GCS; in the MtF sample, a further comparison was carried out between those who never started any medical intervention and those who were already taking CSH. Finally, the impact of experiences of harassment, discrimination and violence on eudaimonic well-being in the post-surgery sample was explored. All participants completed the Psychological Well-being Scales (Ryff in J Pers Soc Psychol 57:1069–1081, 1989) and, only the post-surgery sample, a questionnaire to assess previous experiences of harassment, discrimination and violence. Both in MtF and FtM participants, those who already received GCS showed higher scores on self-acceptance; in the MtF sample, higher scores were also found on environmental mastery and lower scores on personal growth. The association between experiences of discrimination on well-being was limited and positive, with higher scores in personal growth only in FtM participants who reported being victims of such experiences. Our results suggest that both MtF and FtM transsexuals show higher levels of eudaimonic well-being after GCS.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The term “transgender” is often used as an umbrella term to designate people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. Within this category, transsexual people are those whose gender identity is the opposite of the assigned sex at birth, and therefore pursue hormonal and/or surgical treatments. Transsexual women are often referred to as Male-to-Female (MtF), while transsexual men as Female-to-Male (FtM). Although some authors and some trans people still adopt the term transgender even when explicitly referring to transsexual people, in Italy the term transsexual is still widely used and all the participants in the present study self-identified as such.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are heartily grateful to Patrizia Steca, PhD, and Dario Monzani, PhD, for precious comments on a previous draft of this paper.

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Correspondence to Antonio Prunas.

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Prunas, A., Fisher, A.D., Bandini, E. et al. Eudaimonic Well-Being in Transsexual People, Before and After Gender Confirming Surgery. J Happiness Stud 18, 1305–1317 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-016-9780-7

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Keywords

  • Transsexualism
  • Eudaimonic well-being
  • Gender confirming surgery
  • Gender transition
  • Transphobic violence