The transgender community faces many problems but amid all the transphobia that they face, is gambling and internet gaming disorder another hurdle they must battle?
An American study published recently indicates that transgender youth do have more problems gambling than cisgender youth (those who still associate with the gender they were born in). Males are particularly at risk and there are also higher rates of problem gambling for females. The study believes more examination of the worrying rates should be made.
Hiding from the Hate?
There has been plenty of research into the subject of Internet Gaming Disorder and in particular Gambling Disorder but how does it affect the transgender community? Anecdotal evidence points towards the fact it’s something that those who are in transition may indulge in as a safe non-alienating environment.
The problems that they face during their transition lead them to dive into a non-alienating tenvironment. When they are playing video games then they can live in the gender they now choose (not the one they were born with) with transphobia an absent feature. But by doing this, they may put themselves at risk of developing internet gaming disorder negating the positives.
A study published earlier this year by Jon Arcelus (who is a Professor in mental health and transgender health) and colleagues at the University of Nottingham looked at how members of the transgender community in the UK engage in internet gaming. It examined the factors that are linked to problematic gaming behaviour in the community with a brief questionnaire being required to be completed. 245 people who’d been referred to a UK national transgender health service participated in the study and 154 of those said they were gamers.
Of those 154, only two screened positive for Internet Gaming Disorder and this is a lower percentage (0.7%) than in the general population. The participants who said that they were gamers, were of a young age and stated that they were experiencing higher levels of depression as well as more interpersonal problems and this could be significantly correlated with experiencing more problematic gaming behaviour.
Further research is required especially around the area of depression. Other studies have shown that members of the LGBT community suffer more from depression. More work is needed on the subject with those who aren’t currently receiving care from a transgender health service.