Study: More Than Half of Trans Male Teens Attempt Suicide

Teenager

A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows an alarmingly high rate of suicide attempts among transgender teens, particularly trans boys.

Nearly 14 percent of all adolescents in the study, “Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior,” based on data from “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors” survey from the Search Institute, reported they had attempted suicide. But 51 percent of transgender males reported at least one attempt, the highest percentage of any gender identity group. The second highest was among nonbinary teens, nearly 42 percent.

Among transgender females, about 30 percent reported a suicide attempt. The rate was 28 percent for questioning teens, nearly 18 percent for cisgender females, and 10 percent for cisgender males. Data came from more than 120,000 adolescents, age 11 to 19, over three years, June 2012 to May 2015.

“Identifying as nonheterosexual exacerbated the risk for all adolescents except for those who did not exclusively identify as male or female (ie, nonbinary),” notes an abstract from the study, published in the September issue of the journal Pediatrics. “For transgender adolescents, no other sociodemographic characteristic was associated with suicide attempts.” The sociodemographic characteristics tracked in the study include age, race, sexual orientation, and parents’ level of education.

The study points up the need to enhance suicide prevention efforts among transgender teens, while being mindful of variability within this population, the study’s authors concluded.

The Human Rights Campaign concurred, having found similar trends in its 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report. “These harrowing statistics lay bare the urgency of building welcoming and safe communities for LGBTQ young people, particularly for transgender youth,” said a statement released by Ellen Kahn, the HRC Foundation's director of children, youth, and families programs. “The distressing reality reflected in this study is preventable, and our nation's schools, political leaders, and communities can take concrete steps to combat this epidemic. HRC will continue to work with schools, faith communities, health care facilities, policy-makers, and families to ensure that LGBTQ youth are able to live full, healthy lives.”

The full study in Pediatrics is available to subscribers only, but the abstract can be viewed here.

If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

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