Psychological Resilience and Flooding: The Case of Teenage Trans women (TTW) in Quezon City, Philippines

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This resource is relevant for humanitarian practitioners because it focuses on the resilience of a specifically marginalised population in the wake of an environmental disaster; in doing so, this research takes a strengths-based approach to pre-emergency marginalisation and recovery, in what is often a deficit-approach field.

This paper uses the case study of teenage trans women in Quezon City, Philippines to highlight the ways in which pre-emergency marginalisation contributes to resilience and recovery in emergencies. The authors first provide evidence to support the argument that pre-emergency marginalisation is negatively correlated with resilience: trans women are one of the most neglected groups in society, say the authors, both prior to and following disasters. The paper then provides an overview of resilience and the resilience of the transgender community in particular, before delving into the case study.

This study is an ‘exploratory-descriptive type of research’ focused on the psychological resilience of teenage trans women following severe flooding. This study is based on three in-depth interviews. The study found that the three participants were all low income, Roman Catholic and in tertiary education. The researchers queried the participants’ understanding of the causes of flooding and their experiences of flooding. The authors identified a number of direct and indirect impacts of the flooding including traumatic stress. The on-going trauma and discrimination the participants face on a daily basis was compounded during the disaster and early recovery.

The authors then discuss the post-disaster challenges faced by the respondents: the layers of marginalisation faced by these young women contributed to ongoing marginalisation. The authors then discuss emergent themes and their implications for young trans women and the LGBT community more broadly. Structural weaknesses and environmental issues; lack of sound disaster management measures; inaccessibility of basic needs and resources; and prevalence of discrimination against and intolerance towards trans women, were all identified as consistent themes that contributed to the respondents’ marginalisation. Despite these challenges, the authors note that all respondents were remarkably psychologically resilient, drawing upon their informal networks (such as trans and trans affirming friends), supportive families and community members, spirituality and positive self-attitude. The report concludes with a series of recommendations, specifically that teenage trans women and the LGBTQIA community more broadly be included, empowered and further educated in DRR processes.

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"This positive attitude towards the self, including one’s acceptance towards one’s gender identity and awareness of the phobia and prejudice towards transgenders, has been found to be a key factor in resilience."

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This paper uses the case study of teenage trans women in Quezon City, Philippines to highlight the ways in which pre-emergency marginalisation contributes to resilience and recovery in emergencies. The authors first provide evidence to support the argument that pre-emergency marginalisation is negatively correlated with resilience: trans women are one of the most neglected groups in society, say the authors, both prior to and following disasters. The paper then provides an overview of resilience and the resilience of the transgender community in particular, before delving into the case study.

This study is an ‘exploratory-descriptive type of research’ focused on the psychological resilience of teenage trans women following severe flooding. This study is based on three in-depth interviews. The study found that the three participants were all low income, Roman Catholic and in tertiary education. The researchers queried the participants’ understanding of the causes of flooding and their experiences of flooding. The authors identified a number of direct and indirect impacts of the flooding including traumatic stress. The on-going trauma and discrimination the participants face on a daily basis was compounded during the disaster and early recovery.

The authors then discuss the post-disaster challenges faced by the respondents: the layers of marginalisation faced by these young women contributed to ongoing marginalisation. The authors then discuss emergent themes and their implications for young trans women and the LGBT community more broadly. Structural weaknesses and environmental issues; lack of sound disaster management measures; inaccessibility of basic needs and resources; and prevalence of discrimination against and intolerance towards trans women, were all identified as consistent themes that contributed to the respondents’ marginalisation. Despite these challenges, the authors note that all respondents were remarkably psychologically resilient, drawing upon their informal networks (such as trans and trans affirming friends), supportive families and community members, spirituality and positive self-attitude. The report concludes with a series of recommendations, specifically that teenage trans women and the LGBTQIA community more broadly be included, empowered and further educated in DRR processes.