Gender-affirming medical care has consistently been linked to improved mental health outcomes and reduced risk for suicide among transgender and nonbinary youth.
April 20, 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 guidance issued today by the Florida Department of Health that opposes the provision of best practice gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary youth in the state.
“Decades of evidence demonstrates that affirming transgender and nonbinary youth in their identities contributes to positive mental health outcomes and can reduce the risk for suicide. That’s why gender-affirming care is considered best practice by every major medical and mental health association and embraced by providers across the country,” said Sam Ames (they/them), Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “In selectively citing The Trevor Project’s 2021 peer-reviewed study, which examined hormone therapy among more than 9,000 transgender and nonbinary youth, this non-binding guidance ignored that receiving this gender-affirming care was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and a past-year suicide attempt among those under 18. Gender-affirming care can save lives.”
The Trevor Project’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 attempted suicide. However, research has also 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.
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. Further, another 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project found that transgender and nonbinary 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).
According to a recent poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, 85% of transgender 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. When asked about proposed legislation that would ban doctors from prescribing gender-affirming medical care like puberty blockers or hormone therapy, 73% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 57% felt sad, 47% felt stressed, 40% felt scared, and more than 1 in 3 felt hopeless, helpless, and/or nervous.
Further, polling data released last month found that a majority of adults agree that transgender minors should have access to gender-affirming hormone therapy (55%) and puberty blockers (52%) if it’s recommended by their doctor and supported by their parents. And only 1 in 3 adults say lawmakers should have the ability to outlaw gender-affirming medical care for minors even if such a ban is against the recommendation of doctors and major medical associations.
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.