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The Trevor Project Opposes Bills Targeting LGBTQ Students in North Dakota Senate

BY: Trevor News
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LGBTQ youth who had access to an LGBTQ-affirming school reported lower rates of attempting suicide than those who did not.

February 9, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, opposes the consideration of two bills, SB 2231 and SB 2260, by the North Dakota Senate. If passed, these bills would require teachers to “out” transgender and nonbinary students to their potentially unsupportive parents without their consent, and ban or impose barriers on classroom instruction on LGBTQ topics in schools, effectively erasing LGBTQ history and culture from curriculums. The Senate is expected to vote on both bills as soon as tomorrow.

“All students deserve to feel safe and supported at school. If passed, these bills would strip teachers and school officials of their ability to create affirming learning environments for LGBTQ young people,” said Gabby Doyle (she/her pronouns), Advocacy Campaign Manager at The Trevor Project. “LGBTQ youth already face disproportionate rates of discrimination, bullying, and suicide risk – and bills like these only isolate them further. 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. We urge lawmakers to reject these bills and, instead, work to foster inclusive school environments for all students across North Dakota.”

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half (53%) of transgender and nonbinary youth. Nearly 1 in 5 transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide. At the state level, The Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health By State found that 35% of LGBTQ youth in North Dakota identified their school as an LGBTQ-affirming space. 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 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. 

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