Due to structural transphobia, transgender and nonbinary (TNB) individuals are known to be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of social isolation and financial instability, including those resulting from COVID-19.
A study examined the effect of change in finances and access to TNB peer gatherings on anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Appearing in LGBT Health, “Change in Finances, Peer Access, and Mental Health Among Trans and Nonbinary People During the COVID-19 Pandemic” was done by Monica A. Ghabrial, Ayden I. Scheim, Caiden Chih, Heather Santos, Noah James Adams, and Greta R. Bauer.
In this study, the 780 participants were 18 years and older (mean = 30) and completed prepandemic baseline (Fall 2019) and pandemic follow-up (Fall 2020) surveys. Multivariable regressions examined associations between mental health and change in (1) finances and (2) access to TNB peer gatherings (in person or online).
The study found:
- 50% reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on personal income
- 58.3% reported negative impact on access to TNB peer gatherings
- Depression and anxiety symptoms increased from prepandemic to follow-up, and most participants were above measurement cutoffs for clinical levels at both time points
- Change in finances and access to TNB peer gatherings interacted with prepandemic depression scores to predict depression symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic
- For participants with high prepandemic depression scores, financial stability predicted pandemic depression scores comparable to that predicted by negative financial change
- No interaction was found between these variables when predicting anxiety symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the researchers, this underscores “the influence of inequality and prepandemic mental health when considering the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing.”
There is therefore a “need for multifaceted programs and services, including financial support and meaningful TNB community engagement, to address barriers to health equity posed by systematic gender oppression.”