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80% of Transgender Americans Have Considered Suicide: Study

80% of Transgender Americans Have Considered Suicide: Study

Gender Affirmation is Suicide Prevention

The data from UCLA Law School’s Williams Institute study showed that more than 80 percent of trans adults have considered suicide.

Transgender people in the U.S. have thought about or attempted suicide in alarming numbers, according to a new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

The study found that 81 percent of transgender adults have considered suicide, 42 percent have attempted suicide, and 56 percent have self-injured for non-suicidal reasons.

Based on data from the U.S. Transgender Population Health Survey (TransPop), researchers examined the prevalence of hazardous drinking, problematic drug use, psychological distress, suicide, and non-suicidal self-injury among transgender and cisgender adults.

According to the results of this study, the first national probability sample of transgender Americans in the U.S., significant health disparities exist between transgender people and cisgender Americans. While transgender and cisgender individuals reported similar rates of hazardous alcohol consumption and problematic drug use throughout their lives, transgender individuals had significantly poorer mental health over their lifetimes.

The risk of contemplating suicide, attempting suicide, and engaging in non-suicidal self-injury was seven times greater for transgender adults than cisgender adults. There was a higher rate of harmful substance use among transgender nonbinary adults and poor mental health than among transgender men and women.

Transgender nonbinary people were also four times more likely to engage in hazardous drinking than transgender women, according to the study.

Nonbinary transgender individuals reported four times more problematic drug use, three times more psychological distress, six times more likelihood of considering suicide in the past, and four times more likely to engage in non-suicidal self-injury than transgender men.

“The rates of suicidal ideation and self-injury among transgender people are alarming—particularly for transgender nonbinary adults,” said Williams Institute Distinguished Senior Scholar Ilan H. Meyer, the study’s author. “A lack of societal recognition and acceptance of gender identities outside of the binary of cisgender man or woman and increasing politically motivated attacks on transgender individuals increase stigma and prejudice and related exposure to minority stress, which contributes to the high rates of substance use and suicidality we see among transgender people.”

Many trans individuals reported hazardous drinking (28 percent) and substance use with problematic consequences (31 percent).

It’s notable, according to the report, that whereas only 47 percent of cisgender adults have accessed mental health care services, the vast majority (82 percent) of transgender adults have sought out treatment for mental health-related issues.

“Evidence-based interventions are needed to mitigate the risk of serious mental health outcomes among transgender people,” noted Columbia University Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry Jeremy D. Kidd in a press release alongside the study. “This might include increasing access to gender-affirming care or improving transgender community connectedness, which are related to lower rates of suicidality.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide or are concerned that someone you know may be, resources are available to help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 is for people of all ages and identities. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The lifeline also provides resources to help with other crises, such as domestic violence situations. The Trevor Project Lifeline, for LGBTQ+ youth (ages 24 and younger), can be reached at (866) 488-7386. Users can also access chat services at or text START to 678678.

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