Online Transgender Support Groups

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Transgender people are individuals whose gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth. (Cisgender people are those whose gender identity is what is assigned when they are born.) 

The transgender community, including both binary and nonbinary individuals, can experience significant stress moving through a world that treats being cisgender as the norm, lacks understanding about what it means to be trans, and mistreats individuals who do not fit into this “norm.” Being misgendered (having people refer to you as the incorrect gender or with incorrect pronouns) can lead to psychological distress, but having other people to talk to can make a big difference in your ability to cope.

It is essential to know that many online transgender support groups are closed or restricted. You may be asked to affirm your identity before joining one of them. Additionally, some groups are by invitation only and may require networking for accessibility.

We've rounded up the best online transgender support groups so you can find the right one for your needs.

If you need immediate support in a time of crisis, please contact Trans Lifeline - 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Project Lifeline - 866-488-7386

The 5 Best Online Transgender Support Groups of 2021

Best Overall : Trans Lifeline


Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline

Key Specs
  • Cost: Free
  • Structure: Hotline
  • States Available: Everywhere
Why We Chose It

Trans Lifeline is free to use, and it offers a wealth of resources to individuals, whether they are questioning their gender or trying to go through legal or medical transitions. They offer microloans to help with transitioning expenses and provide completely anonymous and confidential services.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Anonymous and confidential

  • Offers resources for name change and transitioning

  • Provides legal support

  • Offers microgrants to help with transitioning

  • All operators are trans

  • Doesn’t involve law enforcement

Cons
  • No text chat feature

  • Homepage is difficult to navigate

  • Call center is not guaranteed to be available 24/7

Trans Lifeline is a peer-support service run by trans people for trans people. All of the operators who work for the hotline are transgender. They offer crisis management with a policy which states that they will not involve law enforcement when you call.

While it started as a service specifically for people in crisis, that is no longer the case. Trans Lifeline still functions as a crisis and suicide prevention hotline. However, it also serves as a space for trans people who just need someone to talk to.

Trans Lifeline provides live, one-on-one phone support, as well as large numbers of online resources for transgender and gender-questioning individuals, including resources for legal name changes, healthcare information, and help with coming out. The hotline is open 24 hours a day, but it is only guaranteed to be staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. However, operators are often also available at other times. 

Though Trans Lifeline states that calls are recorded for quality assurance, all calls are anonymous and confidential. Trans Lifeline does not use caller ID to identify you or track where you are calling from, and there is no information that you are required to give in order to use the service.

In addition to information resources, Trans Lifeline offers microgrants to individuals who need financial support when updating their name and gender on their legal documents. They accept a limited number of applications each month. However, they will pay the entire fee for most document changes other than birth certificates. 

Best for Young People in Crisis : The Trevor Project


The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project

Key Specs
  • Cost: Free
  • Structure: Phone, instant message, text, and forum
  • States Available: All
Why We Chose It

The Trevor Project specializes in support for young members of the community, specifically ages 13 to 25. In addition to its multiple avenues of crisis support, the organization created TrevorSpace, an international online community for LGBTQIA+ youth to connect with peers and make friends.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Many forms of support available

  • 24/7 hotline

  • Resources available for schools and professionals

  • Forum for community support

  • Website has an emergency exit option for safety

Cons
  • No confidentiality or anonymity guarantee

  • Counselors may call law enforcement if necessary

  • Crisis counselor might not be LGBTQIA+

The Trevor Project began from the Academy Award-winning film, Trevor. When the movie was released, the creators soon realized a need for resources to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. To address this need, they created The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project offers several support resources for LGBTQIA+ youth. There is a crisis hotline called TrevorLifeline and a secure instant messaging service called TrevorChat. The site provides access to trained specialists via cellphone using TrevorText. All calls and messages connect users to trained crisis counselors any time and from anywhere. For those looking for community support, the Trevor Project offers TrevorSpace, a social networking site for LGBTQIA+ individuals under 25, as well as their friends and allies. If you need support but are uncomfortable interacting with a live person, a guided breathing exercise is available.

To support resources for LGBTQIA+ youth, The Trevor Project offers additional educational resources for teachers and other professionals who work with youth, as well as friends, family, and allies of the community. They also provide materials to help schools develop comprehensive suicide prevention policies that address kids' needs.

Best for Support Around Surgical Transition : Transbucket


Transbucket

Transbucket

Key Specs
  • Cost: Free
  • Structure: Informational
  • States Available: All
Why We Chose It

Transbucket offers free information for trans individuals seeking information on medical transitions. They have extensive resources about various procedures, surgeries, and treatments that can help anyone who is considering these options, plus an extensive directory of highly-rated, experienced physicians.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • For binary and non-binary transgender people

  • Extensive information about various medical procedures

  • Directory of gender-affirming physicians with positive ratings

  • Commitment to privacy for users

Cons
  • Most information only available after you register

  • No formal support groups

  • No hotline support

Transbucket is primarily an online resource for learning about gender-affirming surgery. It is restricted to only members of the transgender community. Transbucket is inclusive of both binary and nonbinary trans people.

On Transbucket, you can find stories about people’s experiences undergoing various types of gender-affirming care. You can learn about different surgeons and see photos that people have shared of their results and ask questions about their experiences getting surgery. 

Although it is not a traditional support group, Transbucket is a great place to learn about gender-affirming care. While not a substitute for a doctor’s advice, Transbucket can give you a window into what it’s actually like to get different types of surgery. It may also provide a broader range of good and bad results than you are likely to see at a surgeon’s office.  

Best for Teens and Their Parents : Gender Spectrum


Gender Spectrum

Gender Spectrum

Key Specs
  • Cost: Free
  • Structure: Participants can attend support groups via video, audio, or chat
  • States Available: All
Why We Chose It

Gender Spectrum is committed to helping youth, families, and professionals understand gender by offering free resources as well as age- and topic-specific support groups. The groups connect you with like-minded people who want to learn more and share stories about gender and identity.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Flexibility with attendance/scheduling of support groups

  • Age-specific groups connect youth together

  • Offers educational events

  • Provides helpful resources for friends and family

  • Modern and clean website

Cons
  • Some groups have waitlists

  • Information on facilitator credentials not provided

  • No hotline available

Gender Spectrum is an organization built to “create gender-sensitive and inclusive environments for all children and teens.”

The service is known for its annual conference and its extensive selection of training and other resources for youth, their families, and the professionals working with them. However, Gender Spectrum also offers online groups for pre-teens, teens, parents, caregivers, and other family members. Additionally, Gender Spectrum offers a Spanish-language support group for parents of Latin trans youth. 

Gender Spectrum primarily offers generalized support groups for transgender youth and their families. However, the organization also occasionally offers topic-specific support groups for caregivers as well as professionals who facilitate services for youth and families. Additionally, resources for mental health, faith, education, and other areas are available.

To participate in a group, you will have to register. Groups are held at specific times and take place over one or more sessions. For some groups, you can attend once or multiple times over a month. For others, you are expected to attend for an entire series. 

Groups are organized by population and are generally facilitated by one or more trained staffers who may or may not be part of the transgender community. All pre-teen groups are led by trained volunteers or Gender Spectrum staff.

Best for Mental Health : The Tribe - LGBTQ+ Group


The Tribe - LGBT Group

The Tribe - LGBT Group

Key Specs
  • Cost: Forum is free to use; cost of therapy varies by provider
  • Structure: Online forum, live chat, and information about therapy services
  • States Available: All
Why We Chose It

The Tribe offers support for all LGBTQ+ individuals and has groups and forums for various presenting concerns, including mental health issues not directly related to gender or sexual orientation. They also have an extensive therapist directory to help you find ongoing mental health support.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Therapist directory to find ongoing support and treatment

  • Support forum with both live and asynchronous options

  • Various support groups available based on your needs

  • Free wellness tools available

Cons
  • Emergency/hotline services not available

  • No audio or video groups available

There are not many transgender-specific support groups for people looking for help dealing with mental health concerns.

However, lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals face some of the same issues moving through the world as transgender folks. Additionally, many transgender individuals are also lesbian, gay, bisexual, or another sexual orientation minority. Therefore, sometimes an LGBTQIA+ support group can be a good option. This is particularly true for individuals whose concerns are less about their gender and more about other stressors. 

The Tribe offers an LGBTQIA+ peer-to-peer support group, and their site offers several options for receiving support. You can post in a group forum, chat live with others, or participate in a range of wellness activities. While not transgender-specific, these activities can help you develop coping skills and otherwise work to improve your mental health and well-being.

Most of the resources from The Tribe can be accessed either on a desktop or a mobile device, which makes it ideal when you’re out and about.

Additionally, The Tribe has a directory to help LGBTQIA+ individuals find an affirming therapist who is licensed to treat their mental health issues. Therapists in the directory specialize in a number of issues, including addiction, various mental health diagnoses, grief, stress, and neurodiversity.

Final Verdict

Trans Lifeline is the best online transgender support group because it offers resources for trans people by trans people, including a crisis hotline and information about gender identity. Those looking for information on how to transition can find support from Transbucket, while individuals struggling with their mental health can find a variety of peer support options and therapist referrals through The Tribe.

Transgender individuals face unique stressors that can negatively impact their mental health. If you or someone you know is in a crisis, The Trevor Project provides 24/7 support from trained specialists via hotline and instant chat. For family members and friends of trans people seeking support groups, Gender Spectrum might be the best option.

Compare the Best Online Transgender Support Groups

Group   Cost Structure  States Available
Trans Lifeline
Best Overall
Free Hotline: phone All
The Trevor Project
Best for Young People in Crisis
Free Hotline: phone, instant message, text Groups: forum All
Transbucket
Best for Support Around Surgical Transition
Free Forum All
Gender Spectrum
Best for Teens and Their Parents
 Free Groups: video, audio, chat  All
The Tribe
Best for Mental Health
Forum is free; therapy services depend on provider Online forum, live chat  All

FAQs

What Does It Mean to Be Transgender?

Gender identity is a person’s internal sense of themself as male, female, neither, both, or a different gender. A person’s gender identity can change over the course of their life or from day to day. People sometimes refer to the “transgender umbrella” as including all individuals who have a gender identity separate from their gender assigned at birth. This includes individuals who have a binary identity, such as transgender men who were assigned female at birth. It also includes people who are non-binary, genderqueer, or agender. Language continues to evolve, so it can be helpful to become familiar with current terminology around gender identity.

What Do Transgender Support Groups Offer?

Transgender support groups offer trans people a chance to connect and discuss similar life experiences and challenges with other trans community members. Sometimes, when you are a part of a marginalized group, it can be helpful to talk to people who understand you without needing an explanation. Although cisgender individuals can be allies to the trans community, support groups offer a unique setting with others who get what you are going through on a deeper level.

Transgender support groups can be a great place to find people who understand you and make you feel less alone. They can serve as resources in a time of crisis or just a place to find a sympathetic ear on a tough day, and they can give helpful insight on things like name changes, medical transition, and coming out.

How Can Transgender Support Groups Help You?

Transgender people often experience specific challenges related to their gender identity, gender expression, and living in a cisnormative world. That is true whether you’re a teen who wants to figure out how to come out to your parents, an elderly person struggling to fit into an assisted living community, or someone exploring their gender identity for the first time. Because transgender individuals might have trauma as a result of discrimination, support groups with a trauma-informed approach can meet the specific needs of trans participants.

Being part of a support group can help you find resources created specifically for people like you to cope with obstacles. They can also give you a sense of community as you listen and talk to others. Transgender support groups can be a way to feel better about your life, not just by getting help but by helping others.

Why Do Transgender People Have an Increased Risk of Mental Health Problems?

In general, transgender people have an increased risk of mental health problems compared to cisgender people. This is not because being transgender is bad or wrong. Increased mental health issues in trans folks occur because people who are transgender often experience stigma, discrimination, and microaggressions. In addition, stigma and discrimination make it difficult for transgender people with mental illness to seek support if they do not know whether or not the professionals will discriminate against them. These experiences are associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and trauma. They may also increase a person’s risk of developing problematic coping skills, such as smoking or substance use.

Is an Online Transgender Support Group or Online Therapy Better for Me?

Both support groups and online therapy can be resources for transgender individuals looking for help. Support groups provide an environment where you can connect with other people who have similar experiences and offer emotional support to one another. They can be helpful if you are exploring your identity and want to connect to people from similar backgrounds or talk through stressors in a safe environment.

Support groups are not the same as psychotherapy treatment. Online therapy can help treat stressors or diagnosable mental health conditions, and licensed mental health professionals can help you with treatment that is tailored to your individual symptoms.

However, many people benefit from attending a support group in conjunction with individual therapy, so you do not have to choose between the two.

Methodology

To evaluate the transgender support groups included, we considered numerous online support groups, hotlines, and resources created specifically for transgender individuals. Our top priority in assessing resources was finding groups that provide affirming, competent support for transgender individuals. We also considered factors such as structure, accessibility, and flexibility.

The resources included in this guide were selected to include the most respected, publicly available online support groups. We carefully vetted resources to ensure that readers get competent care and have accurate information. In addition, one of the authors is a licensed, independent clinical social worker who works in a hospital-based transgender health program. She has published extensively about gender health and routinely provides online support to her patients.

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3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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