Post submitted by former Editorial Producer, Print and Digital Media Rokia Hassanein
Trigger warning: Post contains references to suicide and self-harm.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed some of the challenges transgender high school students experience.
The alarming CDC data revealed that 27 percent of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth feel unsafe traveling to school and being there, 35 percent are bullied and 35 percent have attempted suicide in the past 12 months. Additionally, the report found that transgender and gender non-conforming youth are at higher risk of attempting suicide than their peers.
“These findings indicate a need for intervention efforts to improve health outcomes among transgender youths,” the report notes.
Dr. Kathleen Ethier, the director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, will present the details of this report at HRC Foundation’s 6th annual Time to THRIVE Conference next month in Anaheim, California. The data is consistent with what the HRC Foundation and University of Connecticut’s 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report, which underscores these significant challenges and barriers facing transgender and gender-expansive youth around the country, found.
HRC and researchers at the University of Connecticut found that less than a quarter of transgender and gender-expansive youth feel like they can definitely be themselves at home. More than half of transgender and gender expansive youth never use restrooms at school that align with their gender identity.
For transgender and gender-expansive youth, parental and peer support is incredibly important. In light of growing transgender visibility in recent years, HRC is committed to providing the kinds of resources children, families and other youth-serving professionals need to support one another in their journeys.
That’s why HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools released an “FAQ on Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Students in K-12 Schools” to guide educators looking for answers on how to support transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students.
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program also provides specific guidance to parents, teachers and the wider community for preventing anti-LGBTQ bullying and aggression in schools. This can be as simple as responding appropriately to anti-LGBTQ comments in the classroom, or encouraging educators to promote inclusivity and diversity in their lesson plans.
Parents and families can start by learning the facts and educating themselves about issues that impact LGBTQ youth. Whether or not families have openly LGBTQ children, it is vital to make home a safe and affirming space for all identities.
Parents of transgender youth can also join HRC Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council — a vocal force of parent-advocates fighting for equality.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a young LGBTQ person and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386. If you are a transgender person of any age, call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.
To learn more about transgender and gender expansive youth resources, visit hrc.org/transgender.