Harrowing statistics from a study recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed alarming levels of attempted suicide among transgender youth -- with the highest rates among transgender boys and non-binary youth. The findings emphasize the urgency of building welcoming and safe communities for LGBTQ young people, particularly for transgender youth.
More than half of transgender male teens who participated in the survey reported attempting suicide in their lifetime, while 29.9 percent of transgender female teens said they attempted suicide. Among non-binary youth, 41.8 percent of respondents stated that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.
Many transgender young people experience family rejection, bullying and harassment, or feel unsafe for simply being who they are - all of which can be added risk factors for suicide. Earlier this year, HRC released its 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report, which detailed similarly alarming experiences -- but also significant perseverance among LGBTQ young people in the face of daunting challenges.
There are steps that can be taken to help prevent this tragedy.
HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program 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.
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.