Research shows that discrimination based on gender identity contributes to suicide risk.
Today, the Montana House of Representatives passed two discriminatory bills targeting transgender and nonbinary youth. House Bill 112 would restrict transgender women and girls from playing on school sports teams at the elementary school to college levels that correspond with their gender identity, and House Bill 113 would prohibit medical professionals from providing best-practice medical care to trans youth. Both bills will now advance to the state Senate.
A peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project 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 gender identity-based discrimination.
“On the same day that President Biden has moved our country forward by reversing the transgender military ban, Montana lawmakers are trying to take us a step back. Implementing these policies would be incredibly harmful to the mental health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary youth in Montana, who deserve to live their lives with dignity and respect,” said Sam Brinton, VP of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project is grateful to the Montana representatives of both parties who voted against HB 112 and HB 113, and strongly urges the Montana State Senate to reject these unfair and unnecessary bills and to focus on expanding opportunity and support for transgender and nonbinary youth — a group who we know is already at high-risk for violence, discrimination, and suicide.”
A recent national survey conducted by The Trevor Project between October and December of 2020 found that over 90% of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics negatively influenced their well-being. According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, compared to 40% of all LGBTQ youth respondents. However, trans 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. And more than a quarter of transgender and nonbinary youth (27%) who participated in sports reported their grades as being mostly A’s compared to 19% who did not participate in sports.
“We know first-hand what’s at stake with these harmful pieces of legislation. Lawmakers should be focused on raising support for the transgender community in hopes of saving lives and sparing families the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one. We miss Sam deeply every moment of every day,” said Adam and Vickie Edelman, who lost their 18-year-old child Sam to suicide in February 2016. “Sam only wished to live authentically, to be accepted, to be allowed to live and pursue happiness as a productive member of society. To prevent members of our community, fellow Montanans, from living authentically with equal rights and access to healthcare is heartbreaking, and frankly unacceptable. HB 112 and HB 113 are founded in ignorance, a lack of understanding, and dubious motives focused on taking away fundamental freedoms, basic equality, basic civil rights – This is something that everyone of us should be against.”
“Make no mistake: these bills target and attack trans youth and will cause them serious and lasting harm,” said Caitlin Borgmann, executive director, ACLU of Montana. “We cannot let fear mongering and lies about what it means to be transgender result in laws that would stigmatize trans youth, harm families and communities, and drive businesses away from Montana. Trans youth deserve respect and dignity for everything they are. These anti-trans bills are not welcome in Montana. If they pass the legislature, there’s no doubt — we will sue.”
A poll by The Trevor Project and Morning Consult found that nearly one-third of transgender and nonbinary youth felt unsafe in their living situation since the start of COVID-19, and 75% indicated feeling more lonely than at the start of the pandemic.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention 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. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7 via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.