As Pride Month comes closer, you’ll likely see corporations including rainbows in their advertisements and on T-shirts. You might also notice an uptick in LGBTQ-related content in your favorite magazines, newspapers, and even your social media feeds. There’s nothing wrong with any of that—though there is much to be said about how corporations can actually help communities and not just profit off of them—but discussions about LGBTQ+ people should not begin and end in those spaces.
As evidenced in a new report from The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization, LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ youth of color, and specifically transgender and nonbinary youth have a greater risk of suicide attempts than their peers. That risk increases if they have experienced discrimination. These numbers are always important, but especially so when Republicans are pushing anti-trans legislation after anti-trans legislation, attacking LGBTQ+ youth on all sides. Let’s break down the numbers—including the numbers on what helps support and affirm LGBTQ+ youth—below.
The Trevor Project’s survey includes close to 35,000 respondents from between 13 and 24 years old and was conducted online from Oct. 12 to Dec. 31, 2020. Given that this time period included COVID-19, the survey asked respondents about life amid the pandemic as it tied in to mental health. More than 80% of LGBTQ youth said that the pandemic made their home life more stressful, and 70% reported having “poor” mental health either most of the time, or all of the time, amid the pandemic. Just one-third of respondents said they felt their home was actually affirming of their LGBTQ identity. Almost 60% of transgender and nonbinary respondents said the pandemic impacted their ability to express their gender identity.
About half of respondents said they experienced validation at school. Where did respondents report experiencing the most validation? Online. 71% of transgender and nonbinary respondents said they found gender-affirming places online instead of at school or in their own homes.
As is true for many across the nation, COVID-19 contributed to food insecurity. 30% of respondents reported food insecurity in the past month—and that 30% of respondents were twice as likely to attempt suicide than LGBTQ+ youth who did not report food insecurity. One-third of Black and Latinx youth reported experiencing food insecurity in the past month, as well as one-half of the Indigenous respondents.
The survey found that more than 40% of respondents reported seriously considering a suicide attempt in the past year. 21% of Black youth surveyed, as well as 31% of Indigenous youth, 18% of Latinx youth, 12% of Asian and Pacific Islander youth, and 21% of multiracial youth attempted suicide in the past year, compared to 12% of white youth.
Transgender and nonbinary youth who said people they lived with respect their pronouns reported half the attempted suicide rate of those who did not, according to the survey. Respondents who were able to change their name or sex (or both) on legal documents also reported significantly lower rates of attempted suicide. Mind you, this isn’t the first time a report has backed how important acceptance is for the mental health of LGBTQ youth.
LGBTQ+ youth who survived conversion therapy reported more than double the rate of attempting suicide than those who were not subjected to the archaic, non-scientific abuse. Transgender and nonbinary youth also reported being subjected to conversion therapy twice as often compared to cisgender respondents.
More than 30% of LGBTQ youth who reported experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and race reported attempting suicide. 50% of LGBTQ youth of color reported being discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity. This number breaks down to 60% of Asian/Pacific Islander youth and 67% of Black youth.
Here are five simple ways you can support transgender loved ones, a guide on how to use they/them pronouns, and a general round-up of free mental health and suicide prevention resources.