Unique Causes And Manifestations of Eating Disorders Within Transgender Populations

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Sula Malina


Transgender populations are disproportionately impacted by eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors; however, transgender clients lack access to affirming and culturally responsive mental health care and are frequently undiagnosed. In addition, conventional treatment models for eating disorders do not attend to the unique causes and manifestations of eating disorders among transgender people, which include: minority stress and gender trauma; gender dysphoria and lack of access to safe, gender-affirming treatment; safety concerns and the need for passing; cissexism and resulting disempowerment; and pervasive, harmful beauty standards coupled with hyper-scrutiny of trans bodies. This project includes a summary and analysis of the existing literature and data regarding the causes of and current treatment recommendations for eating disorders within transgender populations. It also suggests a social-work-led shift within eating disorder treatment to center the sociopolitical forces which so often lead to such diagnoses.

Article Details

transgender, eating disorders, culturally responsive treatment, minority stress, gender trauma, access to care, cissexism, anti-oppressive practice
How to Cite
Malina, S. (2021). Unique Causes And Manifestations of Eating Disorders Within Transgender Populations. Columbia Social Work Review, 19(1), 138–157. https://doi.org/10.52214/cswr.v19i1.7241