Caitlyn Jenner’s recent transition, made public with her Vanity Fair cover and I Am Cait—a reality show that chronicles her life after coming out as transgender—have drawn public attention to transgender issues. The warm welcome Caitlyn received from many celebrities and political organizations might even create an illusion of support for all transgender people.
Figures from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute reflect a different reality. According to a study by the two organizations, 41% of trans-identified people attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to just 4.6% of the general population. The study analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which was the largest study to explore the experiences and lives of transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the United States. The National Center for Transgender Equality will launch the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey on August 19.
What Is Behind the Transgender Suicide Rate?conversion therapy played a role in her decision. Another transgender youth, M.C. Lampe, became unable to tolerate relentless bullying from peers and attempted suicide in the ninth grade. Lampe survived and was able to receive quality psychiatric care.
Bullying can often push transgender children and teens to attempt suicide. A 2011 National Center of Transgender Equality study found that 82% of transgender youth report feeling unsafe at school, with 44% experiencing physical abuse, 64% experiencing theft of their possessions, and 67% facing online bullying.
For many transgender people, bullying is only the beginning. In 2011, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 12% of transgender youth had been sexually assaulted in school by peers or faculty, and 22% of transgender people who reported being homeless faced assault while staying in shelters.
Promoting Transgender Acceptance
Experts consistently agree that rejection from parents and peers is a significant factor in the high transgender suicide rate. Parents and loved ones of transgender individuals can show their support by accepting a person’s stated identity, avoiding transgender stereotypes, and using a person’s chosen name and correct pronouns.
- Herskovitz, J. (2014, December 31). Suicide note of transgender Ohio teen inspires call to help others. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/31/us-usa-ohio-transgender-idUSKBN0K918W20141231
- Responding to transgender victims of sexual assault: the numbers. (2014, June). Retrieved from http://www.ovc.gov/pubs/forge/sexual_numbers.html
- Transgender bullying: A national epidemic. (2014, July 13). Retrieved from http://nobullying.com/transgender-bullying/
- Ungar, L. (2015, August 16). Transgender people face alarmingly high risk of suicide. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/08/16/transgender-individuals-face-high-rates–suicide-attempts/31626633/
© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.