52% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Iowa seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 22% attempted suicide.
March 8, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, condemns the more than 20 anti-LGBTQ bills being pushed in the Iowa legislature. If passed and signed into law, these bills would ban doctors from providing best-practice, medically necessary care to transgender and nonbinary youth, prohibit trans students from using the bathroom that matches who they are, ban instruction in classrooms related to LGBTQ identity, and censure school books on LGBTQ-related topics.
“52% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Iowa seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 22% attempted suicide. This is a public health crisis that is entirely preventable. Transgender and nonbinary youth are not uniquely prone to suicide, but rather are placed at higher risk by the harassment and discrimination they face because of who they are.. Iowa lawmakers should be working to support these vulnerable youth people by increasing their access to affirming health care, safe schools, and support systems, not pushing a political agenda that will only put them more in harm’s way,” said Kasey Suffredini (he/him pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “The government should not be inserting itself between parents and doctors and making schools less safe for the most marginalized students. Research consistently shows that supporting trans young people produces better mental health outcomes, while discrimination and isolation contribute to suicide risk.”
The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State found that 52% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Iowa seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 22% attempted suicide. At a national level, The Trevor Project’s data has found that 71% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that they had experienced discrimination based on their gender identity, and those who have reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who have not.
However, research has also consistently found that transgender medical care, is associated with positive mental health outcomes including showing promise for reducing suicide risk. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that receiving gender-affirming hormone therapy was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and of a past-year suicide attempt among transgender and nonbinary young people under age 18.
According to The Trevor Project’s new polling, 86% of transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. When asked about new policies that will ban doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth, 74% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 59% felt stressed, 56% felt sad, 48% felt hopeless, 47% felt scared, 46% felt helpless, and 45% felt 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.