Research Brief: Latinx LGBTQ Youth Suicide Risk

Summary

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth are more than four times as likely to report attempting suicide in the past year compared to straight/cisgender peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020). Increased suicide risk among LGBTQ youth is due to minority stress-related experiences of stigma, discrimination, and victimization as opposed to being LGBTQ in and of itself (Meyer, 2003). Being Latinx in the United States (U.S.) also comes with unique experiences and challenges including racial-ethnic bias, acculturation stress, and immigration concerns (Silva & Van Orden, 2018; Valentín‐Cortés et al., 2020). However, little is known about suicide risk among Latinx LGBTQ youth. Using data from The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief examines factors associated with attempting suicide among Latinx LGBTQ youth. 

Results

Latinx LGBTQ youth were 30% more likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ youth (aOR = 1.31). In the past year, 17% of Latinx LGBTQ youth reported attempting suicide compared to 14% of non-Latinx LGBTQ youth. Among Latinx LGBTQ youth, those who were transgender or nonbinary (aOR = 2.05), struggling to meet basic needs (aOR = 2.37), and under age 18 (aOR = 2.27) had more than twice the odds of attempting suicide. Those who were assigned female at birth (aOR = 1.38) were at nearly 40% increased risk, and those who completed the survey in Spanish rather than English (aOR = 1.84) were at 84% increased risk of attempting suicide in the past year.

The higher risk of attempting suicide among Latinx LGBTQ youth compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ youth can be explained by greater worries about themselves or family being detained or deported due to immigration policies. After adjusting for the impact of worries about immigration-related detainment or deportation, the 30% greater risk of a past-year suicide attempt among Latinx LGBTQ youth compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ youth (aOR = 1.31) disappeared (aOR = 1.00).

Latinx LGBTQ youth who worry a lot about themselves or a family member being detained or deported due to immigration policies were at double the risk of attempting suicide compared to Latinx LGBTQ youth who never worry about it (aOR = 2.02). Nearly half (47%) of Latinx LGBTQ youth worry “a lot” or “sometimes” about immigration-related detainment or detention compared to 7% of non-Latinx LGBTQ. In our sample, 61% of Latinx youth had at least one parent who was born outside of the U.S. compared to 23% of non-Latinx LGBTQ youth. Among Latinx LGBTQ youth, having a parent born outside the U.S. (aOR = 1.42) was associated with a 40% increased odds of a suicide attempt. Further, 16% of Latinx LGBTQ youth reported that they were born outside of the U.S. compared to 3% of non-Latinx LGBTQ youth; however, this was not associated with greater risk of attempting suicide.

Methodology

A quantitative cross-sectional online survey was used to collect data between December 2019 and March 2020. LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 who resided in the U.S. were recruited via targeted ads on social media. The final analytic sample consisted of 40,001 LGBTQ youth, with representation from 4,114 self-identified Hispanic/Latinx LGBTQ youth, including 525 who completed the survey in Spanish. Past-year suicide attempt was assessed with the question “During the past 12 months, how many times did you actually attempt suicide?” with responses coded as “none” compared to “one or more”. First, a logistic regression model was used to examine the odds of a past-year suicide attempt for Latinx LGBTQ youth compared to non-Latinx LGBTQ after adjusting for the associations of age, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and sex assigned at birth. Next, our measure of worries about immigration-related deportation and detention was included in the model to examine its role on the relationship between Latinx identity and higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year. Immigration-related worries were captured by a question that asked youth, “How often do you worry about you or someone in your family being detained or deported due to immigration policies?” with responses of “never,” “sometimes” and “a lot.” A separate logistic regression model was conducted among only the Latinx LGBTQ youth in the sample to examine the associations of attempting suicide in the past year with age, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sex assigned at birth, youth or parents being born outside of the U.S., completion of the survey in Spanish versus English, and worries about immigration-related deportation and detention.  All reported analyses were significant at p<.01.

Looking Ahead

All youth deserve to live in a world in which they feel safe and supported. To that end, suicide prevention initiatives need to be inclusive of Latinx LGBTQ youth and mindful of the unique findings described in this brief, particularly related to the impact of immigration fears. For Latinx LGBTQ youth, concerns around their own or their family’s potential detainment or deportation were related to significantly greater risk for attempting suicide, demonstrating that environments and policies strongly impact mental health. Individuals supporting Latinx youth should be aware of the impact that immigration concerns and specific immigration policies can have on their mental health and well-being. 

At The Trevor Project, we are committed to supporting all LGBTQ youth who need us, including those whose challenges are connected to immigration concerns. Trevor’s Crisis Services team recognizes the impact that multiple forms of minority stress, including immigration fears, xenophobia, and racially-based discrimination, can have on youth mental health and is committed to providing safe and empathetic crisis support across our services. Additionally, Trevor’s research team is committed to ongoing dissemination of data that allows Trevor and others to better understand and address the needs of Latinx LGBTQ youth to support our mission of ending suicide among LGBTQ young people.

References

Johns, M.M., Lowry, R., Andrzejewski, J., Barrios, L.C., Zewditu, D., McManus, T., et al. (2019). Transgender identity and experiences of violence victimization, substance use, suicide risk, and sexual risk behaviors among high school student–19 states and large urban school districts, 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 68(3), 65-71.

Johns MM, Lowry R, Haderxhanaj LT, et al. (2020). Trends in violence victimization and suicide risk by sexual identity among high school students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2015–2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, 69(Suppl-1):19–27. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.su6901a3external 

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 674-697.

Silva, C., & Van Orden, K. A. (2018). Suicide among Hispanics in the United States. Current Opinion in Psychology, 22, 44-49.

Valentín‐Cortés, M., Benavides, Q., Bryce, R., Rabinowitz, E., Rion, R., Lopez, W. D., & Fleming, P. J. (2020). Application of the minority stress theory: understanding the mental health of undocumented Latinx immigrants. American Journal of Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12455

For more information please contact: [email protected]

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Trevor’s Bi Staff Commemorate Bi Awareness Week

By: Gabriella Potter (they/them), Crisis Services Digital Supervisor

In my work as a Crisis Services Digital Supervisor at The Trevor Project, I hear from young bi people everyday about the challenges and fears they face because of the stigma around bisexuality. That’s why we created, “How To Support Bisexual Youth: Ways to Care for Young People Who Are Attracted to More Than One Gender.” We know how important it is to provide resources for those who want to support the bi young people in their lives, as well as affirm and uplift bisexuality as a valid identity for bi young people themselves.

Bi Awareness Week is a celebration of what it means to experience attraction to people of more than one gender. It is also a reminder to us all about the amazing diversity of language that bi people use to describe their sexualities. In a world that often invalidates, erases, and harms people for multi-gender attraction, Bi Awareness Week highlights the need for resources that will help educate the larger population about what advocating for a safer, more inclusive world for bi people means.

As someone who identifies as bi and queer, I know that the bi community is incredibly vast. In fact, bisexual young people comprise 75% of those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual in the CDC’s 2019 YRBSS study. Despite the numbers, we still see a distinct erasure of bisexuality.  With this erasure being so prevalent, identifying as bisexual can be an act of reclamation and power.

Bi Awareness Week aligns with Celebrate Bisexuality Day, also known as Bi Visibility Day. Visibility is a complex topic for many; often those who are most visible in our world are subjected to higher rates of harm and have less access to safety, which is absolutely unacceptable. Visibility can also mean that young people get to see their identities reflected back to them. Being able to see bi people living their lives, finding joy, and making the world a more diverse and beautiful place can be so powerful for young people to see. It is empowering to see successful pathways and possibilities for ourselves, which can show young people that they are capable of accomplishing anything.

The Trevor Project also wants to contribute to increased visibility of the bi community, and celebrate the identities and experiences of our staff members who are attracted to people of more than one gender. Our staff members use a wide variety of terms to identify their multi-gender attraction; with some who use these terms interchangeably and others who do not. As people who experience multi-gender attraction, they all wanted to share their invaluable perspectives for Bi Awareness Week. We asked them a variety of questions, and with their permission we’re sharing their knowledge, insight, and lived experiences to empower bi youth everywhere.


“There is no single way to be bi. Being bi is about acknowledging the capacity to have attraction to more than a single gender, not necessarily in the same way or at the same time or even to the same degree. For me, being bi is also about acknowledging that my relationships (and my own gender) are not confined by notions of what’s masculine and what’s feminine.”

—Alex (he/him), queer/bisexual/pansexual/demisexual


“Being bi for me means belonging to myself and being true to who I am even when it’s not easy or comfortable. It means that I am a valid and complete human being who is not defined by who I am partnered with at a given moment. It also feels important to me to use the passing privilege I hold to educate and challenge people’s expectations about who LGBTQ people are.”

—Gianna (she/they), bisexual/pansexual/queer


“Bisexuality is my recognition that my interests are expansive and yet completely able to be realized. The universe is expanding and I like to think my understanding of my attractions are expanding each day too. That said, erasure is a normal part of my day to day life. Visibility is about correction of misstatements, gratitude for non-assumptions, and clarity when discussing my identities in all their glory.”

—Sam (they/them), bisexual/pansexual


“After coming to terms with my nonbinary gender identity, I began to re-explore my sexual orientation. Recognizing my own relationship with gender and its fluidity helped me realize an attraction to folx with shared experiences of fluidity. I’d always felt more attracted to the person themselves than their body, and while it was scary to ‘come out’ as so many new things at once, I feel proud to not limit myself when it comes to who I could love.”

—Lo (they/them), pansexual


“I first came across the terms bi, pan, and queer on Tumblr at age 14. I was questioning my sexuality, and I realized that the words felt right for me. Before that, I actually didn’t know you could be attracted to more than one gender, so it was an instant feeling of ‘ahh this makes sense for me!’”

—Priscilla (she/her), pansexual/queer


“The things I wish people knew about being bi could fill a book! The biggest thing is that I wish people knew is that no one is more or less bi based on who they may be in a relationship with, who they date, who they are intimate with, or who they are attracted to. If you are bi, you are bi, and you don’t need to prove it to anyone.”

—Gabriella (they/them), queer/bi


Looking for more ways to support LGBTQ young people? Read and share:

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.


Louisville, KY Protects LGBTQ Youth from Conversion Therapy

Today, September 17th, the City of Louisville passed an ordinance that prohibits licensed medical professionals from subjecting LGBTQ youth to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. With this 24 to 1 vote, Louisville becomes the second and largest city in Kentucky to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy — an action that could positively impact the potential of passing statewide legislation in the future.

“The Trevor Project is thrilled to see the largest city in Kentucky take action to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy. Based on our research, this discredited practice is strongly associated with greater rates of attempting suicide. This is a great victory for the LGBTQ youth of Louisville, and hopefully, it will encourage the passage of state-wide protections for all young people in the Bluegrass State,” said Troy Stevenson (he/him pronouns), Advocacy Campaign Manager for The Trevor Project.

Over the past few years, The Trevor Project has been proud to work with our partners at The Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s statewide LGBTQ organization, Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, and grassroots advocates from across the state in pushing to protect LGBTQ youth.

The Trevor Project’s new Protecting with Pride campaign is elevating the ongoing municipal-level fight against conversion therapy through legislation and public education in cities and counties across the United States.

Research:

  • According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 10% of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy, with 78% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. Youth who reported undergoing conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not.
  • According to a new, peer-reviewed journal article by The Trevor Project published in the American Journal of Public Health, LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.

Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. For journalists looking to learn more about how to cover the issue of conversion therapy, here is a guide on best practices.

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.

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 TrevorLifelineTrevorText, 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.


The Trevor Project Releases Animal Crossing Clothing to Help Prevent LGBTQ Youth Suicide

The Trevor Project released its first digital clothing collection today in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to commemorate National Suicide Prevention Month this September. The widely popular game is recognized as an escape that can help players foster positive mental health and hone their focus on in-game tasks, all set to a soothing soundtrack – instead of focusing on barrages of anxiety-inducing news.

The limited edition t-shirts, hats, and more will be available for download beginning today. Designed via NookPhone, the clothes signal that wearers support LGBTQ youth and want to raise awareness of suicide prevention best practices.

During a time of nationwide school closures, mass physical distancing, and increased isolation, the video game has driven positive social connections worldwide. In-game tasks such as fishing, island landscaping, bug catching, and home decoration can help young LGBTQ players form positive social connections in the game and across social media.

With significant decreases in in-person support systems, playing the game can create feelings of belonging, community, and safety that empower LGBTQ youth. Positive social interactions serve as protective factors, which are proven to significantly reduce the risk for negative mental health outcomes, including depression and thoughts of suicide.

Players can access the bright and colorful clothing collection by using the creator code: MA-7248-1702-1536, searching the Custom Design Portal inside Abel Sisters for the item title (e.g. “TRVR Overalls”), or inputting the item download codes below. Learn more about preventing LGBTQ youth suicide at TRVR.org/CARE.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Nintendo’s second-best selling game this year, selling 22.4 million copies since its release. A recent Nielsen survey about gaming found that “10% of all gamers over the age of 18 identify as LGBTQ+,” and that they spend more on games than their peers.


Research Brief: The Well-Being of LGBTQ Youth Athletes

Summary

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS), 58% of straight high school students participated in sports in the past year, compared to 38% of students who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual (CDC, 2020). The YRBS does not include measures of gender identity on a national level; however, The Trevor Project found that transgender and nonbinary youth (TGNB) were nearly half as likely to report sports participation compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and questioning (LGBQ) youth (Green, Price-Feeney, Dorison, 2020). To date, there is limited research exploring the well-being of LGBTQ youth who participate in sports. Past research among the broader U.S. youth population has found sports participation to be associated with higher grades (Van Boekel et al., 2016) and reduced depression (Eime et al., 2013), but also increased alcohol use (Kwan et al., 2014). Given that sports may be one of many areas where LGBTQ youth experience exclusion and discrimination (Greenspan et al., 2019), and therefore do not have equal access to its potential benefits, there is a need for research that examines the well-being of LGBTQ youth who participate in sports, including whether benefits affording to non-LGBTQ youth are also experienced by LGBTQ youth athletes. Using data from The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief examines the associations of symptoms of depression, substance use, and academic achievement with sports participation among LGBTQ youth. 

Results

One in three LGBTQ youth who participated in sports reported their grades as being mostly A’s compared to one in four LGBTQ youth who did not participate in sports. The relationship between grades and sports participation was found among both TGNB youth, with 27% of TGNB youth who participated in sports reporting mostly A’s compared to 19% who did not and cisgender LGBQ youth, with 36% of those who participated in sports reporting mostly A’s compared to 27% who did not.

LGBTQ youth who participated in sports reported nearly 20% lower rates of depressive symptoms (aOR = 0.82, p<.001) compared to those who did not. However, when examined within groups, sports participation was only related to lower rates of depressive symptoms among cisgender LGBQ youth (aOR=0.78, p<.001), with no significant relationship found between sports participation and depressive symptoms for TGNB youth (aOR=0.98, p=.84). 


 

In line with findings found among the broader U.S. populations of high school students, LGBTQ youth who participated in sports reported higher rates of recent alcohol use than LGBTQ youth who did not participate in sports. LGBTQ athletes were 30% more likely to report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days compared to those who did not participate in sports (aOR=1.30, p<.001). The association between sports participation and increased alcohol use was found among both TGNB and cisgender LGBQ youth. 

Methodology

A quantitative cross-sectional online survey was used to collect data between December 2019 and March 2020. LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 who resided in the U.S. were recruited via targeted ads on social media. The final analytic sample consisted of 40,001 LGBTQ youth. Youth who indicated being enrolled in middle school or high school (n=17,476) were asked to select which, if any, school activities they participated in from a list of fifteen categories, including sports. Youth were also asked to describe their grades in school using categorical options of letter grades from “mostly A’s” to “mostly F’s.” Data on depressive symptoms The Patient Health Questionnaire-2 depression screening form was used to indicate depressive symptoms in the past two weeks. Recent alcohol use was assessed by asking youth whether or not they drank alcohol in the past 30 days. Adjusted logistic regression models were used to examine the influence of sports participation on depressive symptoms and substance use after adjusting for age, gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and socioeconomic status. Additionally separate adjusted regression models were run by TGNB status adjusting for age, sex assigned at birth, and socioeconomic status.

Looking Ahead
Although LGBTQ youth are less likely to participate in sports than their straight and cisgender peers (CDC, 2020; Green et al., 2020), their involvement in sports is associated with similar positive (higher grades, lower depression) and negative (greater substance use) factors. Of note, participation in sports was not associated with lower depressive symptoms for TGNB youth, indicating the need for future research to explore how sports participation may differentially impact the mental health of TGNB youth.  Despite these findings of potential benefits, access to sports participation may not be afforded to all LGBTQ youth. Past studies point to discrimination and safety concerns as potential reasons for lower sports participation among LGBTQ youth, particularly those who are TGNB. Additionally, those who do participate report high levels of anti-LGBTQ sentiments (Greenspan et al., 2019). These data highlight the need to reduce harmful barriers to participation and improve the overall climate of sports environments to be supportive and affirming places for all youth. The Trevor Project is actively engaged in research, policy, and public education initiatives to ensure that all youth have the support needed to participate in sports as their authentic selves, free from discrimination and victimization.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2017 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Available at http://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline. Accessed on 6.17.2020.

Eime, R. M., Young, J. A., Harvey, J. T., Charity, M. J., & Payne, W. R. (2013). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(1), 98.

Green, Price-Feeney, & Dorison. (2020). The Trevor Project Research Brief: LGBTQ Youth Sports Participation. New York, New York: The Trevor Project. 

Greenspan, S. B., Griffith, C., Hayes, C. R., & Murtagh, E. F. (2019). LGBTQ+ and ally youths’ school athletics perspectives: a mixed-method analysis. Journal of LGBT Youth, 16(4), 403-434.

Kwan, M., Bobko, S., Faulkner, G., Donnelly, P., & Cairney, J. (2014). Sport participation and alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review of longitudinal studies. Addictive Behaviors, 39(3), 497-506.

Van Boekel, M., Bulut, O., Stanke, L., Zamora, J. R. P., Jang, Y., Kang, Y., & Nickodem, K. (2016). Effects of participation in school sports on academic and social functioning. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 46, 31-40.

For more information please contact: [email protected]

Download the PDF


Anchorage Becomes First City in Alaska to Protect LGBTQ Youth From Conversion Therapy

Yesterday, August 26th, the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance that prohibits licensed medical professionals from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, becoming the first city in Alaska to do so. With this victory, Alaska also becomes the 40th state to take action against conversion therapy — only 10 states have not introduced similar legislation or enacted any protections at the state or municipal level. The Trevor Project is proud to have worked with Anchorage Assembly Members Felix Rivera and Christopher Constant to support this ordinance. 

“The Trevor Project applauds the Anchorage Assembly for taking this historic action to end conversion therapy in Alaska’s largest city. According to data from The Trevor Project’s new national survey, LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not. From Alaska to Maine, The Trevor Project is working in cities and counties across the country to protect LGBTQ young people from this dangerous and discredited practice,” said Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs.

The Trevor Project’s new Protecting with Pride campaign is elevating the ongoing municipal-level fight against conversion therapy through legislation and public education in cities and counties across the United States. 

Research: 

  • According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 10% of LGBTQ youth reported undergoing conversion therapy, with 78% reporting it occurred when they were under age 18. Youth who reported undergoing conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not.
  • According to a new, peer-reviewed journal article by The Trevor Project published in the American Journal of Public Health, LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.

Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. For journalists looking to learn more about how to cover the issue of conversion therapy, here is a guide on best practices.

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.

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 TrevorLifelineTrevorText, 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.


The Trevor Project Applauds the Fourth Circuit for its Groundbreaking Decision in Favor of Gavin Grimm and Trans Equality

Statement from Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project:

“Today’s decision in favor of Gavin Grimm is a tremendous victory for transgender equality. When transgender and nonbinary students are denied access to school facilities or documents consistent with their gender identity, they are are not only denied basic dignity and respect, but also fundamental human rights. This decision reaffirms that anti-transgender discrimination is, in fact, illegal under the law. The Trevor Project applauds Gavin Grimm and his attorneys for their immense courage and resiliency over the course of this five-year-long battle for justice. Grimm’s leadership has inspired trans youth across our country and this victory will work to save young lives.”

The Trevor Project was proud to have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board. The Trevor Project hears regularly via our crisis services about how detrimental and damaging policies restricting access to bathrooms in schools are to the transgender youth we serve.

According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health:

  • 61% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being prevented or discouraged from using a bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
  • More than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past year.
    • 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
    • Transgender and nonbinary youth with access to tools such as binders, shapewear, and gender-affirming clothing reported lower rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to transgender and nonbinary youth without access.

Progress in Kentucky

The conversation around protecting Kentucky’s LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy has ramped up this month. Today, August 25th, the Kentucky State Legislature held its first-ever informational hearing on the dangers of conversion therapy in a Joint Interim Legislative Committee, which could positively impact the potential of passing statewide legislation in the future. And on August 31st, the City of Louisville will introduce a proposed ordinance that would protect LGBTQ youth from being subjected to the discredited practice of conversion therapy by licensed mental health practitioners.

“The Trevor Project is encouraged by the growing momentum against conversion therapy in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. According to our 2020 national survey, LGBTQ youth who reported undergoing conversion therapy reported more than twice the rate of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who did not. It is critical that Kentucky lawmakers take action to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice,” said Troy Stevenson (he/him pronouns), Advocacy Campaign Manager for The Trevor Project.

In February, The Trevor Project joined our partners at The Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s statewide LGBTQ organization, for a rally with local advocates, lawmakers, and Governor Andy Beshear.

Stevenson added, “I have been in state-houses across the nation advocating for the protection of LGBTQ youth, and the level of energy and solidarity around ending conversion therapy in Kentucky was something I had never seen before. The speakers were animated and the crowd was electric. Governor Beshear spoke passionately about protecting LGBTQ youth and reaffirmed his commitment to progress. It is inspirational to see so much support and enthusiasm in a state normally written off as ‘red.’”

The Trevor Project is proud to partner with our friends at The Fairness Campaign and Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky in advocating for the LGBTQ youth of Kentucky.


New Data Further Highlights Suicide Risk Disparity Among Queer Youth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth continue to experience significantly more violence victimization and suicide risk than heterosexual youth.

Statement from Dr. Amy E. Green (she/her pronouns), Director of Research at The Trevor Project:

“The new YRBS data is a sobering reminder that we have a lot of work to do to better support LGBTQ youth across this country. But there’s also still so much we do not know, which makes our work to provide support and prevent suicide that much harder.

“For one, this data does not grasp our current reality, as all of it was collected before the onset of COVID-19. Back in April, The Trevor Project released a white paper outlining the way in which LGBTQ youth may be particularly vulnerable to the negative mental health impacts associated with COVID-19. A June 2020 study, the first to specifically examine the experiences of LGBTQ youth during the pandemic, confirmed what we had posited: many LGBTQ youth no longer have access to their usual support systems and some are now isolated in unaccepting home environments. These unique challenges have the potential to exacerbate the existing mental health problems made apparent by the YRBS data.

“Alarmingly, CDC data released last week found that over a quarter of youth ages 18–24 seriously considered suicide in June, but that data was not segmented by sexual orientation or gender identity. We need increased investment in national data collection that is inclusive of both sexual orientation and gender identity to understand the breadth of LGBTQ youth mental health issues and risk factors for suicide and better inform our response strategies.

“However, we do know that positive social interactions remain vital for suicide prevention. According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 national survey, LGBTQ youth who reported high levels of social support from family and friends or access to at least one LGBTQ affirming space were significantly less likely to attempt suicide. That’s why it is imperative for elected officials, schools, and all youth-serving institutions and organizations to specifically consider the unique needs of LGBTQ youth and to develop innovative strategies to help maintain positive connections as long as the pandemic persists.”

For more information on the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey’s findings on LGB youth, please see the full report.

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 TrevorLifelineTrevorText, 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.


The Trevor Project Joins Lambda Legal & Over Two Dozen LGBTQ Organizations on Amicus Brief Urging SCOTUS to Protect LGBTQ Foster Youth and Parents

Oral argument for Fulton v. City of Philadelphia is scheduled for November 4, 2020.

Statement from Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project:

“As the largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth, we know how vital family support is to mental health and wellness. According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 national survey, LGBTQ youth who reported high levels of social support from family and friends were significantly less likely to attempt suicide compared to those with lower levels of social support. It is unconscionable that any foster care agency would deny a child a loving home simply because that home is led by an LGBTQ couple.

“Licensing this form of discrimination would not only hurt prospective LGBTQ parents, but it would also jeopardize the health and security of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system by further limiting the number of potential home placements, including those who might be more likely to understand their unique needs. LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care due to increased experience with family rejection and stigma. A broad religious exemption to youth-serving agencies could have far-reaching and dangerous consequences, including the denial of LGBTQ-affirming health care or the potential subjection of LGBTQ youth to the discredited practice of conversion therapy — both of which are detrimental to LGBTQ youth mental health.

“Discrimination like this can make LGBTQ youth feel as though something is wrong with them just for being themselves. LGBTQ youth are beautiful the way that they are and deserve to be loved and supported. And for many, foster care or adoption may be their most realistic path to become a parent one day. All LGBTQ youth who hold that dream should be able to envision it for themselves without fear of discrimination.”

For more information, please see Lambda Legal’s press release and the full amicus brief.

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 TrevorLifelineTrevorText, 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.