LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.
The Trevor Project provides resources to youth.
Social Support and Acceptance from Adults and Peers
- Having at least one accepting adult can reduce the risk of a suicide attempt among LGBTQ young people by 40 percent.
- A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project’s researchers, published in Transgender Health, found that transgender and nonbinary youth who reported gender identity acceptance from adults and peers had significantly lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year.
- LGBTQ youth who felt high social support from their family reported attempting suicide at less than half the rate of those who felt low or moderate social support.
- LGBTQ youth who live in a community that is accepting of LGBTQ people reported much lower rates of attempting suicide than those who do not.
Affirming Spaces and Activities, Especially at School
- The Trevor Project’s research has found that LGBTQ youth who found their school and home to be LGBTQ-affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
- LGBTQ youth who report the presence of trusted adults in their school have higher levels of self-esteem (Dessel et al., 2017) and access to supportive peers is protective against anxiety and depression, including among those who lack support from their family (Parra et al., 2018).
- Schools also offer youth the ability to participate in extracurricular activities and clubs, which have been found to promote positive youth development (Eccles et al., 2003). The presence of Gender and Sexualities Alliances (GSAs) has been found to significantly reduce the risk for depression and increase well-being among LGBTQ youth and young adults (Toomey et al., 2011).
Policies and Practices that Support Transgender and Nonbinary Youth
- Transgender and nonbinary youth attempt suicide less when their pronouns are respected, when they are allowed to officially change the gender marker on their legal documents, and when they have access to spaces (online, at school, and home) that affirm their gender identity.
- Transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all or most people in their lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected.
- A 2022 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project researchers, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, found that transgender and nonbinary youth who had changed their legal documents reported significantly lower rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who had not.
- Gender-affirming medical care, such as hormone therapy, is associated with positive mental health outcomes including showing promise for reducing suicide risk. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project’s researchers, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that gender-affirming hormone therapy is significantly related to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth.