New study shows transgender and nonbinary youth attempt suicide less when allowed to change name, gender marker

Transgender and non-binary individuals and their allies stroll through Atlanta's Midtown district during Gay Pride's Transgender Rights march in Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. Robin Rayne/Associated Press

Transgender and nonbinary youth attempt suicide less when their pronouns are respected and they’re allowed to change their name and/or gender marker on legal documents, according to new research by a California-based nonprofit.

Those were among the findings from a national survey released Wednesday by The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) young people.

A previous survey by The Trevor Project found that nonbinary identities have been growing, and that among LGBTQ youth ages 13-24, one in four identified as nonbinary, and the majority of them used they/them pronouns.

The latest survey, which represents the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 across the United States, found that transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having their pronouns respected by all of the people they lived with attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not.

The survey also found that transgender and nonbinary youth who were able to change their name and/or gender marker on legal documents, such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates, reported lower rates of attempting suicide.

Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, called for lawmakers to look at the results of the study.

“To all the lawmakers considering anti-transgender bills across the county — we urge you to take a hard look at this evidence and take time out of your day to actually meet with the transgender and nonbinary youth who would be harmed by your misguided proposals,” Paley said in a press release.

“Affirming a young person in their gender identity is strongly associated with lower suicide risk. That’s why we should be expanding systems of support and implementing more inclusive policies, not denying trans youth access to affirming spaces and care.”


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