Dalila Ali Rajah
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Op-ed: Breaking My Silence as a Trans Man Who Attempted Suicide

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A huge percentage of transgender people (41 percent in the U.S.) attempt suicide, and suicidal thoughts dot the storyboards of many of our lives. We trans rights advocates talk often about how to end this epidemic, but nonetheless a certain shadowy silence prevails.

A cultural taboo about feeling the desire to die keeps many suicide survivors from ever discussing their experiences, much less doing so publicly. But I believe that for those of us who feel able and willing, telling the stories of our attempts can provide a segue into a conversation for healing — for us survivors as well as the entire community.

Like many other trans people, I have attempted to end my own life. Until now, it's not something I've shared with anyone besides my girlfriend, who is also trans. Writing down the story of my attempt, I am immediately filled with feelings of shame. As if I was somehow weak for being consumed by the darkness of the hopelessness that filled my life at that time. But I’ve seen too many trans adults and youth — including, recently, a friend — taking their lives to remain quiet.

Although as an out trans military member I have gotten many kind words and cheers lately for being so resilient, it’s important that people know that those who attempt suicide don’t “look” a certain way — this can happen to anyone.

So I’ll share my story here, with a warning to readers that it may trigger feelings of trauma, so please read on to the next page if you feel able.


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