DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS INFLUENCING TRANSGENDER AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN WARRI METROPOLIS, DELTA STATE

DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS INFLUENCING TRANSGENDER AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN WARRI METROPOLIS, DELTA STATE

 

DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS INFLUENCING TRANSGENDER AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN WARRI METROPOLIS, DELTA STATE

 

By

Usesiri, Martins Omamuyovwi Goodluck

And

Ohre Ighoyohwo Joseph

 

Department of Educational Psychology, Guidance and Counselling

Faculty of Education

University of Port Harcourt

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

The study investigated demographic factors influencing transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State. A sample of 750 male and female adolescents was used for the study. Three research questions were answered while three corresponding null hypotheses were tested in the study at 0.05 level of significance. Three instruments were used for the study which is the Transgender Scale (TS), Environmental Scale (ES) and Parent-Child Communication Scale (PCCS). Reliability coefficients of 0.71 and 0.71 were obtained respectively for the instruments using Cronbach alpha. Data were analyzed using simple regression. It was revealed among others that there is significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State. Based on the findings, it was recommended among others that parents should make effort to always communicate with their children by imbibing in them morals and cultural values. The study has established empirically that parent-child communication influences transgender.

 

Keywords: Transgender, Religion, Parent-child communication, Environment,.

 

Introduction

Cross-dressing popularly called Transgender or Trans means people whose gender differs from the one they were given when they were born. Transgender people may identify as male or female. In order to express their chosen gender, transgender people may go through transition, or change from the gender they were given at birth. They may change their names, pronouns or style of dress. Some transgender people also choose a medical transition, with the help of medical specialists, who will prescribe hormones and/or surgery.

Transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals have gender identities, expressions, or behaviours that are not typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. They may identify more strongly with the opposite gender (e.g., transgender males who are natal females and transgender females who are natal males), or they may identify outside the gender binary (e.g., individuals who identify with neither or both genders). It is of concern that psychiatric morbidity prevalence estimates are substantially higher among transgender individuals than that of both the general population and sexual minority subpopulations (Bockting, Miner, Romine, Hamilton & Coleman, 2013).

In recent years, the emergence of social media and information communication technology has contributed immensely to the increase in transgender among teenagers. Apart from making the acquisition of information and knowledge readily available at the fingertips of many, the phenomenon has equally contributed negatively to the cultural deviation of the society especially in the Nigerian society where transgender is closely viewed and seen as homosexuality. While the social media has aid dozens of Nigerians to showcase their innate abilities and make good money in the process, the technology, through various networking platforms has equally driven several others into embracing all sorts of controversial trends and anti-social behaviours.

There are an estimated 25 million transgender people living around the world (Winter, 2016). Although there is no estimated number of transgender people in Nigeria, there is increase in the number of young persons involved as it seems to be a lucrative business. Transgender was made popular by Denrele & Bobrisky who seems to be the front liners in Nigerian cross-dressing scene; they are not the only ones rocking that stage anymore. With more and more young men becoming daring by the day, the actors of this bizarre trend now flood every nook and cranny of the country. In Delta State currently, it can be observed by the researchers that the habit of transgender is in the increase and the danger attached to it is that most of these persons who are mostly adolescents do it for the financial reasons and a good number of them have been induced or deceived into immoral sexual activities like homosexuality and anal or oral sexual practices.

All over the world, transgender people are faced with incessant harassment, discrimination and physical violence as a result of their gender identity disorder and Nigeria seems to be the worst on this. There are established laws which makes transgender seem like crime. But compounding the social stigma are the formal and officially sanctioned laws that govern gender identity disorder in the country. In Nigeria, homosexuality is criminalized and same-sex attraction is widely considered morally unacceptable and due to the popular believe that most transgender persons are homosexuals, a large member of the society therefore frown at transgender as they are seen and in most cases true as gay.

Transgender persons prefer to be addressed in their opposite gender i.e. they dress in attires of the opposite gender and prefer to keep friendship with persons of their opposite sex. A good example is Bobrisky a popular social media personality who is male by birth but currently being treated by many as a female as she has more female characteristics than male through series of surgeries. She has gained fame and wealth through this act of transgender and this becomes a source of motivation for others who wish to become rich.

In addition to Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, there are other laws that could affect trans people. Section 405 of the Penal Code, in northern Nigeria, provides that a male who dresses like a woman in a public place is a vagabond and section 407 prescribes that the punishment for being a vagabond is one-year imprisonment and/or a fine. There is a heavier punishment of two years imprisonment and/or a fine for repeat offenders under section 408 of the code. The Sharia Penal Code, which has been adopted by 12 northern States, also prescribes prison terms or fines for vagabonds (men who dress in women’s clothes or women who dress in men’s clothes) (Timinepre, 2021). In spite of the society rejection of transgender, no doubt there is increase in the level of this anti-social milieu by adolescents and the reasons behind this menace cannot be tied to a specific or particular reason. One would ask what role do religious leaders play to quash this social deviation by adolescents.

It is important to understand that religion plays an important role in the life of most Nigerians. Humans see life as a whole through the prism of their religious convictions. Increasingly we have people of different faiths and religious beliefs which shapens their social behaviour and dress pattern. Most orthodox churches for instance do not in any way accept women wearing trousers. The Holy Bible proscribes women wearing this made for men and vice versa which was well Stated in Deuteronomy 22:5 but so many Christian bodies has given different interpretation to this effect thereby permitting women to wear trousers to church. It is widely believed that if religious bodies preach against and prohibit cross-dressing/transgender, there is the tendency that the trend may reduce. Although the home is the first place of socialization for the child, many researchers may have undermined the role of parent-child communication in controlling the social behaviour of the child.

Parent-child communication is the verbal and nonverbal interaction between a parent and child within a family system. Parents are biological or non-biological caregivers (e.g., adoptive parents or stepparents) and parent-child communication takes place throughout the child's ages and developmental stages. Research on parent-child communication focuses on individual characteristics of the parent and the child, the quality and content of communicative exchanges, and child-level and relationship-level outcomes. Poor parent-child communication could be a major cause of increase in transgender today. Good communication skills will benefit children for their entire lives. Children begin to form ideas and beliefs about themselves based on how their parents communicate with them. In some cases, the parent-child communication could be healthy but the environment could steal the virtues instilled in the child especially where the environment is filled with toxic socio-cultural deviations. Environment could be urban or rural.

Environment is a position or site occupied or available for occupancy or marked by some distinguishing feature. Environment as used by this study is based on urban and rural settings. The urban areas are the cities otherwise known as the townships which in most cases are more populated by people while the rural areas are the villages with lesser populations. The level of development in the urban areas is higher than that of the rural areas as a result of more concentration of the government. Rural areas have from time immemorial been homes for the economy of Nigeria but the country has failed to develop these areas that have made it relevant in the world economy.

Transgender could be observed to be more popular in urban locals compared to rural locations. This high level of transgender in urban locations more than rural locations as observed by the researchers could be as a result of zero tolerance for immorality in rural areas as it is believed in the rural areas that everybody is concerned with the wellbeing of one another because they are more of extended family members and therefore they scold each other at immoral instances. It is on this note; the researchers became weary of the influence of environment on transgender. It is against this background that this study investigated demographic factors influencing transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Review of Literature

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity disorder refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behaviour, clothing, hairstyles, voice, or body characteristics. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behaviour is gender non-conforming will identify as a transgender person.

Often, transgender people alter or wish to alter their bodies through hormones, surgery, and other means to make their bodies as congruent as possible with their gender identities. This process of transition through medical intervention is often referred to as sex or gender reassignment, but more recently is also referred to as gender affirmation. People who were assigned female but identify and live as male and alter or wish to alter their bodies through medical intervention to more closely resemble their gender identity are known as transgender men or Trans men (also known as female-to-male or FTM).

Conversely, people who were assigned male but identify and live as female and alter or wish to alter their bodies through medical intervention to more closely resemble their gender identity are known as transgender women or trans women (also known as male-to-female or MTF). Some individuals who transit from one gender to another prefer to be referred to as a man or a woman rather than as transgender. People who cross-dress wear clothing that is traditionally or stereotypically worn by another gender in their culture. They vary in how completely they cross-dress, from one article of clothing to fully cross-dressing.

Those who cross-dress are usually comfortable with their assigned sex and do not wish to change it. Cross-dressing is a form of gender expression and is not necessarily tied to erotic activity. Cross-dressing is not indicative of sexual orientation. The degree of societal acceptance for cross-dressing varies for males and females. In some cultures, one gender may be given more latitude than another for wearing clothing associated with a different gender.

There are medical theories about why people are transgender. Some speculate that fluctuations or imbalances in hormones or the use of certain medications during pregnancy may cause intersex or transgender conditions. Other research indicates that there are links between transgender identity disorder and brain structure. Some people believe that psychological factors are the reason for the existence of transgender people. It is clear that there are people who are aware that they are transgender from their earliest memories. Many Trans people feel that their gender identity is an innate part of them, an integral part of who they were born to be.

Religion is belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this belief, such as praying or worshipping in a building such as a church or temple. Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements (Merriam-Webster, 2019). Not all experiences with religion and faith are positive. Transgender-identified individuals can face religious isolation due to heterosexist stigma. Otedo (2020) in his study revealed that although religion has no influence on transgender and homosexuality, religious leaders can help reduce homosexuality by disassociating themselves from transgender individuals. It could be observed that transgender individuals have places of worship where they are fully accepted as they are. In a similar study, Martoni (2020) revealed that religious leaders have a big role to play when the relevance of reducing transgender is talked about. Many traditional religion view transgender-identified individuals as incompatible with their own religious doctrines while non-normative forms of sex, gender, gender identity, and sexuality are unacceptable and viewed as “sins.”

In the context of the family, communication can be defined as the ability of family members to exchange their needs, feelings and desires with one another and to attend the changing needs of a family member in a positive manner (Guilamo-Ramos, Jaccard, Dittus, & Bouris, 2006). The quality of communication among family members contributes to the quality of parent-child relationship, which in turn predicts children’s behaviour (Broberg, 2012). Adolescents' relationships with family members, particularly their parents, influence adolescent risk behaviour in a number of ways. Most transgender persons do not live with their parents as they only demonstrate their gender identity outside their parental view (Luke as cited in Martoni, 2020). Parent-child communication is one such pathway. Parents and other family members may express values consistent with support or disapproval of risk-taking behaviours. For example, frequent communication and expression of clear values about morality may be associated with decrease in chances of transgender. Gogo (2021) Stated that poor parent-child communication is a major cause of homosexuality and transgender in the society today. Parents and siblings may also model risk behaviours. For example, adolescents with parents and siblings who smoke are more likely to become smokers themselves.

In its most literal sense, 'environment' simply means 'surroundings' (environs); hence the environment of an individual, object, element or system includes all of the other entities with which it is surrounded. In the context of this study, environment is divided into urban and rural environment. Transgender people live in communities all around the world but with a closer observation, there seems to be more trans persons in urban environments. Transgender people in rural areas commonly experience mistreatment, harassment, discrimination, and violence. However, in most cases, such experiences occur at rates similar to the broader transgender population (MAP, 2019). The environment in which the adolescents reside play an important role in their conformity with societal standards. Fumilayo (2019) in his assertions stated that adolescents in urban locations are more likely to indulge in transgender compared to those in the rural locations. In support of this assertion, people who reside in rural locations live like family and frown at persons deviating from societal norms (Thompson, 2020). Children usually learn behavioural pattern and moral standards set by the family and immediate home environment. Although the family and home environment gives insight in understanding adolescent behavioural issues, such explanations are not enough and are just part of the gathering of factors that explains why certain group of adolescents choose to become transgender.

Objectives of the study

The aim of this study was to investigate demographic factors influencing transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State. Specifically, the objectives of this study is to;

  1. Examine the influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.
  2. Determine the influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.
  3. Find out the influence of environment on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Research questions

This study was guided by three research questions as follows:

  1. To what extent does religion influence transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State?
  2. To what extent does parent-child communication influence transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State?
  3. To what extent does environment influence transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State?

Hypotheses

Three corresponding null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance to guide this study.

  1. There is no significant influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.
  2. There is no significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.
  3. There is no significant influence of environment on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Methodology

The correlational research design was adopted for the study. The three (3) Local Government areas of Warri metropolis (Warri South, Udu and Uvwie Local Government) were used for the study. Due to the fact that the population of the study is finite, a total of 2000 questionnaires were administered to the adolescents. After filling, those with high scores in the Transgender Scale (TS) were identified as transgender disorder. They are those with a mean score of 60.5 and above. Only the copies of the three instruments (Transgender Scale, Environmental Scale and Parent-Child Communication Scale) of those students whose mean score was 60.5 above on Transgender Scale were analyzed for the study. A total sample of 750 male and female adolescents was used for the study. Purposive sampling and accidental sampling technique was used to compose the sample. Three instruments were used for the study which is the Transgender Scale (TS), Environmental Scale (ES) and Parent-Child Communication Scale (PCCS). All items were answered using a 4-point Likert scale format ranging from Always, Often, Sometimes and Never. The negatively keyed items were quantified 4points, 3points, 2points and 1point respectively. The negatively written items were reversely scored. The instruments were validated by an expert in Guidance and counselling and two experts in Measurement and Evaluation. A reliability coefficient of 0.71 for Transgender Scale, 0.68 for Environmental Scale and 0.78 for Parent-Child Communication Scale were obtained respectively for the instruments using Cronbach alpha. Simple regression was used to answer all research questions while their corresponding null hypotheses were tested using t-test associated with regression.

Research Question 1: To what extent does religion influence transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State?

Table 1: Regression analysis of the influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

 

Model

R

R Square

Adjusted R Square

Std. Error of the Estimate

1

.484

.288

.285

.43723

 

Table 1 revealed that religion and transgender produced a correlation coefficient of r = 0.484 indicating a low influence. In answer to the research question, an R Square of 0.288 was obtained and an adjusted R2 value of 0.285. Based on the adjusted R2 value of 0.285, it shows that 28.5% (0.285 x 100) variations in transgender among adolescents is influenced by their religion while the remaining 71.5% are beyond its influence.

Research Question 2: To what extent does parent-child communication influence transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State?

Table 2: Regression analysis of the influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

 

Model

R

R Square

Adjusted R Square

Std. Error of the Estimate

1

.735

.539

.536

.42523

 

Table 2 revealed that parent-child communication and transgender produced a correlation coefficient of r = 0.73 indicating a high influence. In answer to the research question, an R Square of 0.539 was obtained and an adjusted R2 value of 0.536. Based on the adjusted R2 value of 0.536, it shows that 53.6% (0.536 x 100) variations in transgender among adolescents is influenced by parent-child communication while the remaining 46.4% are beyond its influence.

Research Question 3: To what extent does environment influence transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State?

Table 3: Regression analysis of the influence of environment on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

 

Model

R

R Square

Adjusted R Square

Std. Error of the Estimate

1

.846

.640

.647

.53621

 

Table 3 revealed that environment and transgender produced a correlation coefficient of r = 0.84 indicating a high influence. In answer to the research question, an R Square of 0.640 was obtained and an adjusted R2 value of 0.647. Based on the adjusted R2 value of 0.647, it shows that 64.7% (0.647 x 100) variations in transgender among adolescents is influenced by environment while the remaining 35.3% are beyond its influence.

Hypothesis 1: There is no significant influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Table 4: t-test analysis of the significant influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

 

 

Model

Unstandardized Coefficients

Standardized Coefficients

T

Sig.

B

Std. Error

Beta

1

(Constant)

1.493

.155

 

9.627

.000

Religion

-435

.044

-712

-12.350

.060

a. Dependent Variable: Transgender

 

From table 4, it could be seen that β = 0.435, with a standard error value of 0.44. The t test value of t = 12.350 with an Sig of .000 was obtained. The Sig. of .060 is not significant at 0.05 alpha level (t = -12.350, p ≤ Sig. .000) therefore, the null hypothesis which States that there is no significant influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State is accepted and the alternative rejected.

Hypothesis 2: There is no significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Table 5: t-test analysis of the significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Model

Unstandardized Coefficients

Standardized Coefficients

T

Sig.

B

Std. Error

Beta

1

(Constant)

1.761

.198

 

8.900

.000

Parent-child communication

.482

.058

.549

8.240

.000

a. Dependent Variable: Transgender

 

From table 5, it could be seen than β = 0.482, with a standard error value of 0.58. The t test value of t = 8.240 with an Sig of .000 was obtained. The Sig. of .000 is significant at 0.05 alpha level (t = 8.240, p > Sig. .000) therefore, the null hypothesis which States that there is no significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State is rejected and the alternative accepted.

Hypothesis 3: There is no significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Table 6: t-test analysis of the significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State.

Model

Unstandardized Coefficients

Standardized Coefficients

T

Sig.

B

Std. Error

Beta

1

(Constant)

1.761

.198

 

8.900

.000

Parent-child communication

.482

.058

.549

8.240

.000

a. Dependent Variable: Transgender

 

From table 6, it could be seen that β = 0.482, with a standard error value of 0.58. The t test value of t = 8.240 with an Sig of .000 was obtained. The Sig. of .000 is significant at 0.05 alpha level (t = 8.240, p > Sig. .000) therefore, the null hypothesis which States that there is no significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State is rejected and the alternative accepted.

Discussion of findings

There is no significant influence of religion on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis, Delta State. Religion accounts for 28.5% variation in transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis. This indicates that trans adolescents in Warri metropolis are not influenced by their religion. This finding was not far from the researchers’ expectation as it is established that majority of religious (Christian, Islamic and traditional) places in Nigeria and also Delta state preaches against indecent dressing let alone transgender. This finding agreed with that of Otedo (2020) where he revealed that religion have no influence on transgender.

There is significant influence of parent-child communication on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis. Parent-child communication accounts for 53.6% variation in transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis. This indicates that trans adolescents in Warri metropolis are influenced by their parent-child communication. This finding was envisaged by the researchers as it could be observed that most parents have failed in their parental responsibility towards instilling in their children morals. It could also be observed that some parents even support their children indulging in transgender. This finding agreed with that of Gogo (2021) where he revealed that poor parent-child communication is a major cause of homosexuality and transgender in the society today.

There is significant influence of environment on transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis. Environment accounts for 64.7% variation in transgender among adolescents in Warri metropolis. This indicates that trans adolescents in Warri metropolis are influenced by their environment. This finding was envisaged as it could be seen that transgender teens are scolded in rural locations as they are seen as not only a taboo but a disgrace to the family. This finding agreed with that of Fumilayo (2019) where he revealed that adolescents in urban locations are more likely to indulge in transgender compared to those in the rural locations. Furthermore, this finding also agreed with that of Thompson (2020) where he revealed that people who reside in rural locations live like family and frown at persons deviating from societal norms.

Conclusion

The findings of this study show that religion does not influence adolescents into transgender. Also, parents-child communication significantly influences adolescents into transgender. Finally, environment significantly influences adolescents into transgender

Recommendations

In view of these, recommendations were made as follows;

  1. Parents should make effort to always communicate with their children by imbibing in them morals and cultural values.
  2. Adolescents should make effort to learn positive attitudes from any environment they reside.

Contribution to knowledge

  1. The study has established empirically that adolescents are not influenced by religion into transgender.
  2. The study has also established empirically that adolescents are influenced by parent-child communication and environment into transgender.

 

References

Bockting, W. O., Miner, M. H., Romine, R. E. S., Hamilton, A. & Coleman, E. (2013). Stigma, mental health, and resilience in an online sample of the US transgender population. Am J Public Health. 103(5): 943-951. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301241

Broberg, M. (2012). Young children’s well-being in Finnish stepfamilies. Early Child Development & Care, 182, 401-415.

Gogo, J. G. (2021). Demographic factors influencing adolescents anti-social behaviour. Unpublished Ph.D thesis. University of Benin.

Guilamo-Ramos, V., Jaccard, J., Dittus, P., & Bouris, A. M. (2006). Parental Expertise, Trustworthiness, and Accessibility: Parent-Adolescent Communication and Adolescent Risk Behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(5), 1229–1246.

Fumilayo, U. (2019). Societal factors influencing adolescent socio-cultural behaviour. Journal of Social sciences. 12 (6) 132-142

Martoni, K. C. (2020). Role of the church in a troubled society. Uyo. Camford books

Merriam-Webster (2019). Religion - Definition of Religion. Retrieved 16 December 2019.

Movement Advancement Project (MAP, 2019). Where We Call Home: Transgender People in Rural America. www.lgbtmap.org/ rural-trans.

Otedo, C. O. G. (2020). Psychosocial factors influencing anti-social behaviour among teenagers in Owerri Metropolis, Imo State. Unpublished M.Sc. dissertation. University of Calabar.

Timinepre, C. (2021). ‘I feel invisible’: The challenges of being Trans in Nigeria. AL JAZEERA, Retrieved from: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2021/11/1/i-feel-invisible-the-challenges-of-being-trans-in-nigeria

Thompson, E. E. (2020). Psychosocial variables as correlates of students anti-social behaviour in Bayelsa State. Unpublished M. A. Dissertation. University of Lagos.

Winter, S., Diamond, M. & Green, J. (2016). Transgender people: health at the margins of society. The Lancet. 388:390.

 

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