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Acceptance of Transgender and Nonbinary Youth from Adults and Peers Associated with Significantly Lower Rates of Attempting Suicide

BY: Josh Weaver
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Acceptance was associated with lower odds of a past-year suicide attempt across all adult and peer relationships observed, the strongest being parents and family members.

November 3, 2021 — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, published a new peer-reviewed study in Transgender Health that found acceptance of one’s gender identity from adults and peers was associated with significantly lower odds of attempting suicide among transgender and nonbinary youth. Based on a national sample of more than 8,000 transgender and nonbinary youth from across the United States, these findings further suggest a need to equip adults and young people with the information, skills, and resources necessary to support and affirm the transgender and nonbinary young people in their lives, as this gender identity acceptance can protect against negative mental health outcomes, including suicide. 

“The findings of this study are clear: transgender and nonbinary young people who feel accepted by the people in their lives, are less likely to attempt suicide,” said Dr. Myeshia Price (she/her or they/them pronouns), Senior Research Scientist at The Trevor Project. “So much of the research that has been conducted on the topic of gender identity acceptance has focused exclusively on parents. While that relationship is critical to understand, our data emphasize the need to analyze the impact of other adults and peers in the lives of trans and nonbinary young people, as they also have a key role to play in fostering acceptance and creating safe spaces. Doing so will help save young lives.” 

Key findings from the article, “Association of Gender Identity Acceptance with Fewer Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Nonbinary Youth,” include:

  • Transgender and nonbinary (TGNB) youth who reported gender identity acceptance from at least one adult had 33% lower odds of reporting a past-year suicide attempt.
    • Transgender youth with acceptance from at least one adult had 39% lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared with their transgender peers who were not accepted.
    • Nonbinary youth with acceptance from at least one adult had 33% lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared with their nonbinary peers who were not accepted.
  • TGNB youth who reported gender identity acceptance from at least one peer had 34% lower odds of reporting a past-year suicide attempt.
  • TGNB youth who reported high gender identity acceptance from a variety of adults had significantly lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year, including: from their parents (43% lower odds), from other family members (49% lower odds), from school professionals (33% lower odds), and from health care professionals (32% lower odds).
  • TGNB youth who reported high gender identity acceptance from a variety of fellow young people also had significantly lower odds of attempting suicide in the past year, including: from their peers (34% lower odds), from their straight friends (34% lower odds), from their LGBTQ friends (33% lower odds), from their classmates (42% lower odds).

Transgender and nonbinary youth report more than four times greater rates of suicide attempts compared with their cisgender peers, including those who are LGBQ. A 2020 study, published by The Trevor Project’s researchers in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that transgender and nonbinary youth were 2 to 2.5 times as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide compared to their cisgender LGBQ peers. Further, Trevor’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 1 in 5 reported attempting suicide.  

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678. 

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About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. 

For media inquiries, please contact:  

Rob Todaro
Communications Manager
[email protected]
212-695-8650 x403

For research-related inquiries, please contact:

Amy Green, PhD
Vice President of Research
[email protected]
310.271.8845 x242

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