While conservatives try to take away rights and basic dignities from groups they aren’t part of and (generally) know nothing about, nonprofits are out here doing important work and actually serving at-risk populations. In this case, The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ suicide prevention nonprofit, continues to release valuable data that offers insight into the lives and mental health states of extremely marginalized youth.
The latest report, issued on Tuesday, April 19, looks at respondents from more than 3,500 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 with a focus on the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. As my colleague Aysha Qamar continues to cover, we know AAPI folks have faced ongoing violence and oppression in recent months, with hate crimes and horrific violence targeting even elder communities.
According to the Trevor Project’s data, as highlighted by LGBTQ+ outlet them, young AAPI people are suffering too. For example, 50% of trans AAPI respondents said they had seriously considered suicide in the past year. Just under 50% of Pacific islander youth said the same, as did 47% of Korean American youths and 41% of Filipino American youths.
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According to the report, more than half of AAPI youth experienced discrimination based on race in the last year. Respondents who said they experienced discrimination based on immigration status or race had a higher rate of suicide attempts in the last year when compared to those who did not, according to the data.
Vivian Topping, director of advocacy and civic engagement at the Equality Federation, and Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights
AAPI LGBTQ+ respondents were less likely to be out to their parents about their sexual orientation; just over 40% of respondents said they were not out to at least one of their parents, while just under 30% of the general LGBTQ+ respondent population said the same. In terms of gender identity, 17% of general trans youth respondents said they were out to the most significant people in their lives, while trans AAPI respondents said the same at a lower rate, coming in at 13%.
Nearly three-quarters of AAPI respondents reported having high levels of social support, however, which is certainly something to celebrate. Higher levels of social support correlated with lower risk for suicide—there’s still room for improvement here, though, with just 15% of trans AAPI youth saying they have high levels of support from family, and just 20% of AAPI LGBTQ+ youth say the same.
Interestingly, respondents who said their cultural identity was integral to their self-concept were less likely to report attempting suicide in the last year, coming in at 12%. Respondents who said their cultural identity wasn’t important, however, came in at just under one-quarter.
In an interview with NBC News, Korean American trans activist Pauline Park told the outlet that most social services simply aren’t targeted at LGBTQ AAPI youth—and that needs to change. “We need more providers who speak languages of queer AAPIs,” they added. “Whose first language may not be English.”
The biggest takeaway? All youth deserve inclusive, appropriate, and culturally competent resources and support for mental health, and that includes not only the LGBTQ+ community at large but every single person who lives with multiple marginalized identities.
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If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.