LGBTQ youth who had access to an LGBTQ-affirming school reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not.
March 23, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, opposes HR 5 – a bill being considered by the House of Representatives that would create unnecessary and burdensome reporting requirements for schools, remove books about LGBTQ people and topics from school bookshelves, and increase barriers to accessing mental health care for LGBTQ students.
Statement by Casey Pick (she/her pronouns), Director of Law and Policy at The Trevor Project:
“Despite its name, this bill would put politics over parents, censoring content and curriculum in schools and weakening our ability to protect student mental health, with devastating consequences for LGBTQ students and their ability to learn in safe, affirming classroom environments all across the country.
“LGBTQ young people face higher suicide risk compared to their peers not because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but rather because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society. However, access to affirming school environments – where LGBTQ young people can feel safe and seen for who they are – is a powerful protective factor against suicide risk. We have already witnessed many similar school censorship efforts at the state level. These unnecessary acts of government overreach often directly attack LGBTQ-inclusive books and curriculums, despite the reality that learning about LGBTQ people or issues at school has been associated with significantly lower odds of suicide risk among LGBTQ students.
“In a time when parents have made it clear their priority is addressing the crisis of mental health among young people in this country, this legislation would take us in the wrong direction. We urge members of Congress to reject this harmful legislation and, instead, work to create affirming school environments where all young people have access to mental health support and the opportunity to learn and thrive.”
- The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
- Research consistently finds that LGBTQ youth who have access to an LGBTQ-affirming school report significantly lower rates of attempting suicide than those who do not.
- Transgender 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.
- According to a polling conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project, 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 proposed legislation that would require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name/pronoun, or if they identify as LGBTQ at school, 67% of transgender and nonbinary youth said they feel angry, 54% feel stressed, 51% feel scared, 46% feel nervous, and 43% feel sad.
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.