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The Trevor Project Condemns 17 Anti-LGBTQ Bills Under Consideration in Tennessee State Legislature

BY: Josh Weaver
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85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say recent debates about anti-trans bills negatively impacted their mental health

March 2, 2022 — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, condemned the 17 anti-LGBTQ bills currently under consideration by state lawmakers in Tennessee. 

“Even amid one of the most extreme time periods for anti-LGBTQ politics in our country’s history, lawmakers in Tennessee have distinguished themselves with one of the most anti-LGBTQ legislative agendas in the country. So far this year, they have considered 17 of these bills, seven of which specifically target transgender and nonbinary youth,” said Sam Ames (they/them pronouns), Director for Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “Recent polling shows that 85% of trans and nonbinary youth – and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) – say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. We know that these young people are already disproportionately impacted by bullying, depression, and suicide risk. We urge lawmakers to focus on supporting the mental health of all young people in Tennessee, not make life harder than it already is.”

The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, which captured the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth across the United States, found that 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Yet, nearly half could not access the mental health care they desired.

More relevant research:

  • Schools: LGBTQ students who reported having access to LGBTQ-affirming schools reported significantly lower rates of attempting suicide in the past year. Further, research has found that LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year. 
  • Gender-affirming medical care: Research has consistently found that gender-affirming medical care, such as safe and reversible puberty blockers, is associated with improved mental health outcomes and reduced risk for suicide among transgender and nonbinary youth. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that access to gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) is significantly related to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth. Specifically for young people under age 18, receiving GAHT was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and of a past-year suicide attempt. 
  • Pronouns: A 2020 national survey found that 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.
  • Conversion therapy: 13% of LGBTQ youth reported being subjected to conversion therapy, with 83% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. Further, a peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project found that LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.

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. 

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health 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 TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, 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.

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