Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
A new study from Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry finds that policy changes and the reduction of social stigma may curb the rates of suicidality among transgender people.
The study found that factors like “social support, having identity documents that match expressed gender, protection from transphobia – defined as ranging from verbal harassment to physical and sexual assaults – and medical transition to bring hormones, anatomy or both in alignment with expressed gender” can lower suicide risk among transgender people.
While advocates work to combat discrimination and stigma, many still conflate the hardships caused by stigma and lack of support with transgender identity itself.
“People often think that it is being transgender itself that is causing suicidal thoughts or attempts,” explained Dr. Greta Bauer, the study’s lead author. “But it’s not that simple. It’s the social marginalization.”
Tragically, this stigma and the suicidal thoughts that can stem from it begin early in life. At least 12 transgender youth have committed suicide in 2015, with many reports citing bullying and family rejection as contributing factors.
If you’re a youth and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project, which provides a 24-hour crisis hotline for youth, at 1-866-488-7386.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you’re a teacher or parent and want more information on how to create safe and welcoming schools for all children and families and prevent bias-based bullying, visit welcomingschools.org.
If you are looking for more information on LGBTQ youth well-being, visit timetothrive.org.