LGBTQ youth who had access to an LGBTQ-affirming school reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not.
February 6, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, condemns the consideration of SB49, a broad, anti-LGBTQ school curriculum censorship bill which would require teachers to “out” transgender and nonbinary students to their potentially unsupportive parents without their consent, and ban K-4 classroom instruction on LGBTQ topics in schools, effectively erasing LGBTQ history and culture from curriculums. The bill is being considered by the North Carolina Senate Rules and Operations Committee today, and expected to move forward to a full floor vote in the Senate as early as tomorrow.
“Our schools must be safe, supportive spaces where students can express themselves and excel academically. This is especially true for LGBTQ students, many of whom tragically do not live in supportive households. Censoring curriculums and instilling a fear of being outed will only fuel isolation and stigma,” said Gabby Doyle (she/her pronouns) Advocacy Campaign Manager at The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project’s research has consistently found that LGBTQ students who have access to LGBTQ-affirming schools — and trans and nonbinary students who have support from their teachers and peers — report lower rates of attempting suicide. Prohibiting any acknowledgment of the LGBTQ community, our civil rights heroes, pop culture icons, or even our families is not only cruel, but also a disservice to North Carolina’s ability to provide quality public education.”
The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State found that 46% of LGBTQ youth in North Carolina seriously considered suicide in the past year, including 53% of transgender and nonbinary youth. 16% of transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide. However, 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. Additionally, learning about LGBTQ people or issues has been associated with significantly lower odds (23%) of a past-year suicide attempt in LGBTQ students.
According to a new poll 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 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.