Utah now joins 11 other states banning transgender students from participating in sports that align with their gender identity
March 25, 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 override of a veto for HB11, which would bar transgender girls from participating in school sports matching their gender identities. With this override of the governor’s veto, Utah now joins 11 other states banning trans students from participating in sports that align with their gender identity.
“Governor Spencer Cox was the second Republican this week who vetoed a bill attacking transgender youth. Through tears, he explained that his choice was a result of meeting these young people face-to-face and listening to their stories. But today — without allowing any public hearings or debates, and without having the courage to look trans youth in the eye — the legislature voted to override that act of courage and compassion,” said Sam Ames (they/them pronouns), Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “This bill focuses on a problem of ‘fairness’ in school sports that simply does not exist — but its negative impacts on the mental health and well-being of trans and nonbinary youth are very real. These youth already face disproportionate rates of bullying, depression, and suicide risk, and bills like this one will only make matters worse. To the young people watching tonight, the young people who report they are following these debates over their existence and suffering because of it: you are stronger than they know. We will continue to fight for you, and we are not going anywhere.”
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 new policies that would ban transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams and transgender boys from playing on boys’ sports teams, 74% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 57% felt sad, 43% felt stressed, and nearly 1 in 3 felt scared.
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. Further, a 2020 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project’s researchers, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that transgender and nonbinary youth who report experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity had more than double the odds of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not experience discrimination based on their gender identity.
However, research also shows that transgender and nonbinary youth who have access to gender-affirming spaces report lower rates of attempting suicide. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project’s researchers, published in Transgender Health, also 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.
The Trevor Project’s research has also found that a majority of LGBTQ young people (68%) have never participated in sports for a school or community league or club — with many citing fear of bullying and discrimination as a key factor for not participating.
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.