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Self-injury is commonly thought of as an issue for women, especially teenage girls, and much of the population of self-injury support websites is female identifying. Male self-injurers are not generally seen as a big part of the population but research shows that many self-harmers identify as male
While past research has indicated more women self-injure recent aggregated research has found that that the female to male ratio for self-injury is fairly similar. Males are found to be more likely to hit and burn themselves while females are more likely to cut and burn themselves.1 If there genuinely is a major difference between the genders or if these more recent studies point to bias in data collection hasn’t been agreed upon.
Self-harm is especially prevalent amongst trans males. For example, in Canada a 2015 nation-wide survey of more than 900 trans* youth showed that two-thirds had engaged in self-harm in the past year. The Trans Mental Health Study of 2012 in the UK found that 59% of trans* youth had deliberately hurt themselves, compared to 8.9% of all youth. This is because trans* individuals experience discrimination, violence, and sexual harassment, as well as a lack of support at home and school. Trans* individuals also face issues when accessing healthcare services. Many do not feel comfortable discussing trans-specific healthcare needs with GPs. Delayed transgender treatments exacerbate the issue.
If You’re A Male Self-Injurer
Self-injury isn’t a behavior limited to women, not at all. Also, cutting isn’t the only form of self-injury out there. It’s neither more nor less legitimate than something like hitting yourself, hitting your body against something or burning yourself.
Men are often taught to hold in their emotions and to keep from showing any ‘weakness’. This is an unfortunate part of many cultures but don’t less this hold you back. Keeping in your emotions doesn’t equal strength and an act of self-injury does not equal weakness. Self-injuring doesn’t mean you’re gay, it has nothing to do with homosexuality. Neither does it mean you should be labeled as anything by your peers.
While there are ignorant people don’t let your fear of not being legitimized let yourself from getting the help you may need.
LifeSIGNS has a helpful page for male self-injurers.
Edited by Hannibal
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