Gender-affirming medical care has consistently been linked to improved mental health outcomes and reduced risk for suicide among transgender and nonbinary youth.
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 passage of two bills (HB266/ SB184) by the Alabama House Judiciary Committee that would criminalize doctors for providing best-practice, gender-affirming care to transgender and nonbinary youth — threatening them with a Class C felony and up to 10 years in prison. The bill would also require teachers and school officials to out transgender and nonbinary students to their parents.
“Transgender and nonbinary young people are already placed at significantly increased risk for suicide because of how they are treated. For those who need it, gender-affirming medical care can be life-saving. This legislation is cruel and dangerous, and contradicts the resounding opinion of doctors and medical associations across the country,” said Casey Pick (she/her), Senior Fellow for Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “Stop playing politics with trans youth’s health care and start listening to the families who would be harmed by these misguided policies. If doctors and parents are supportive of their child’s health care, the government should not be intervening.”
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.
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.