The majority of transgender and non-binary individuals have experienced discrimination one way or another. Resilience is one of the strongest suits of people who belong in this demographic because of oppression. However, a staggering transgender suicide rate is still apparent amidst the LGBTQ+ movements.
According to the study of the American Academy of Pediatrics, LGBTQ youth take the biggest slice of the cake when it comes to the suicide rate of the transgender population, particularly, the transgender youth.
What is the Rate as of 2020?
According to the study of Save.org, 41% of transgender adult respondents reported that they’ve had suicide attempts. The same study found that 61% of the people who were studied were also victims of physical assault.
Meanwhile, from a study of the American Academy of Pediatrics of the transgender youth suicide rate spectrum back in 2018:
- more than 50 percent of the transgender boys who’ve responded have attempted suicide
- 41.8 percent are non-binary
- 29.9 percent of the transgender girls who’ve responded admitted to experience suicide attempts
Way back in the SUICIDE THOUGHTS AND ATTEMPTS AMONG TRANSGENDER ADULTS Findings from the 2015 US Transgender Survey, the largest performed, revealed that 81.7 percent of respondents reported ever seriously thinking about suicide in their lifetimes, while 48.3 percent had done so in the past year.
It’s puzzling to see that even if the media’s showing a lot of positivity when it comes to recognizing trans people, the reality is still grim and does not work towards these people’s mental health.
Why Suicide Rate among Transgender People is High and Common Causes of Transgender Suicide
There are many factors as to why a huge number of transgender people are at risk of suicide; some reasons are even closer to home because of…
Lack of Family Support
A lot of parents are simply not able to support their transgender children.
It can be because of a certain image that the parents want to keep. Religious beliefs, community, lack of education, and the whole society altogether play huge factors too.
This results in them not being able to accept their child’s wishes to transition and could prove to be fatal to someone who’s suffering from gender dysphoria.
Young people need a strong foundation to depend on. If they don’t have parents who will be there for them to aid them mentally and emotionally, such a conundrum can attribute to the posit of a staggering suicide rate.
Most religions do not only disapprove of transgenderism, they also want to completely erase it from the planet.
Instead of acknowledging that gender dysphoria is a real mental disorder according to science, religious people often spread bigotry and hate instead.
Creating a divide like this can be quite harmful to a young transgender individual. For instance, they will experience a lot of discrimination in school and their respective communities simply by expressing their gender identity.
Gradual changes are happening around the world but these are still not enough to reduce the rate drastically. Even if laws already exist in protecting the transgender youth, hate and abuse will still persist from a bully who’s not accountable to the law, most especially if the person is raised by transphobic parents.
In connection with religion, a school that’s founded upon by religious groups can be grassroots in leading to another transgender suicide.
A lot of Catholic schools impose a lot of restrictions when it comes to dressing up and expressing oneself, which can trigger a transgender individual’s gender dysphoria more.
Added to that, children are highly impressionable and what they get from their homes is usually what they will be manifesting when they are in the company of other children. If a certain household is filled with homophobic and transphobic discussions, it’s what a child will most probably be projecting towards their schoolmates who have gender dysphoria.
Because transgender people don’t identify with the sex they were born with, they often feel isolated at a very young age.
They are often forced to be part of groups. Such that they do not identify with; ending up triggering gender dysphoria and possible depression.
Added to this, transgender dating and relationships can prove to be more difficult. They will often be rejected by the person they like who’s normally not into accepting them. An occurrence such as being rejected can urge a transgender individual to feel isolated and unwanted; which may lead to a suicide attempt.
Common discrimination covers a lot of bases in terms of why there’s a high suicide rate.
Discrimination towards transgender people starts at a very young age and when a trans individual realizes that even after the harrowing experiences that they’ve been through in school, they’ll also go through with again in the workforce, depression may sink in.
Most companies around the world are still not open to hiring transgender people. Being able to work is a basic human right and having been stripped of this can lead to the demise of an individual.
Having no friends, job, partner, and more can be crippling and no person deserves to live a life of lack like this.
Other causes of Transgender Suicide
- no access to mental health care
- lack of suicide ideation where they live
- and more
Current Situation of Transgender Suicides
Although trans people are more accepted nowadays, the numbers are still not showing figures to provide relief.
According to new research from the Journal of the Endocrine Society. Depression, suicidal thoughts and self-injury are still common among American transgender teens.
The silver lining is that hormone replacement therapy leads to significant improvements in lowering reported attempting suicide.
“On a scale of 0 to 10, gender dysphoria dropped for affirmed males from 8.08 to 3.99 after starting treatment. For affirmed females, gender dysphoria fell from 7.87 before treatment to 2.96 after treatment began.” According to a report from the USNews.com.
However positive this may sound, the suicide rate in 2020 is still at a staggering 25.5% (MTF transgender individuals) to 70% (FTM transgender individuals).
Transgender Teens Who Overcame Suicide
15% of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people will try to take their life, compared to 29% of young trans individuals according to a study done by The Trevor Project. This isn’t puzzling because transgender people experience more discrimination and are being attacked by gender dysphoria.
However, not every suicide attempt leads to death. From USA Today’s article “Young, transgender and fighting a years-long battle against suicidal thoughts” Shear Avory (20), a transgender woman, shared her story of how she’s constantly battling suicide attempts as a transgender individual.
Her suicidal thoughts began as a kid. Shear’s mother had a substance abuse disorder. She was sent to conversion therapy at the age of 10 by her father; in order to “cure” her.
“I was constantly in a space of being unaccepted, unwelcomed and put down,” she said.
She shared that the way she deals with her suicide attempts is simply by thinking of wanting to live.
“I’m able to feel immediately comfortable and vulnerable,” Avory stated.
“Healing is not a linear experience,” she continued. “For so long I’ve been stuck in just wanting everything to disappear, from wanting the trauma to go away, for it to fade away from me, not to feel these feelings anymore.”
For now, Avory is focused on accepting the past and carving out a different future. Hope, they said, remains.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Avory said. “I can take pride in knowing that I’ve already made something of myself. … I’m alive.”
Solutions for Transgender Suicide
The only solution that would work is for having people to be more accepting and understanding of the trans community. However, this is not an easy feat because of the current climate of the majority’s perception.
If you want to help a trans individual, you need to seek help.
Where to find help with Transgender Suicide
If you don’t know any medical practitioner or expert in this subject, you could give a call to The Trevor Project. They have a toll-free hotline that you’ll be able to reach. If you, or anyone you know, are suffering from anxiety and depression because of transphobia and discrimination; you must act today.