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Anti-LGBTQ+ laws lead to 'public health crisis' with higher suicide rates among queer youth

Anti LGBTQ laws higher suicide rates queer youth Public health crisis says study
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Ninety percent of LGBTQ+ youth said their well-being has been negatively impacted by recent politics, according to a new survey from The Trevor Project.

Anti-LGBTQ+ laws are having a catastrophic effect on queer youth in the United States.

Between bans on gender-affirming care for minors and laws allowing for queer students to be misgendered, outed, or excluded, 90 percent of LGBTQ+ youth said their well-being has been negatively impacted by recent politics, according to The Trevor Project's 2024 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young People.

This legislation is affecting queer students' safety in schools, as nearly half of LGBTQ+ young people ages 13-17 (49 percent) said they experienced bullying in the past year. Those who reported bullying also reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide.

These laws are also jeopardizing queer youth's well-being in their own homes, as nearly half of transgender and nonbinary young people (45 percent) reported that their family has considered moving to a different state because of LGBTQ+ laws.

Overall, 39 percent of LGBTQ+ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year — including 46 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth, and 12 percent of all LGBTQ+ youth. Queer youth of color also reported higher rates than their White peers.

Despite these shocking rates, the survey found that 50 percent of LGBTQ+ young people who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it.

More than 550 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced across the U.S. in 2023, and 80 were passed into law. In 2024, 487 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced and 21 have passed into law, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Many involve either curriculum censorship or discrimination against queer students by forced outing.

“Much of our efforts to address the public health crisis of suicide among LGBTQ+ young people are made that much harder by the ongoing wave of anti-LGBTQ+ policies pushed by extremist lawmakers across the country,” said Janson Wu, Senior Director of State Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “With such striking numbers and families literally wanting to uproot their homes to seek safety, lawmakers must seriously reconsider the real and damaging impact that their anti-LGBTQ+ policies and rhetoric create. No ‘political victory’ should be worth risking the lives of young people.”

If you or someone you know needs mental health resources and support, please call, text, or chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or visit988lifeline.org for 24/7 access to free and confidential services. Trans Lifeline, designed for transgender or gender-nonconforming people, can be reached at (877) 565-8860. 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 TheTrevorProject.org/Help or text START to 678678.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.