Calling transgender youth by their chosen name can reduce their chance of dying by suicide by as much as 65 percent, according to the Journal of Adolescent Health.

In a study of 129 transgender and gender nonconforming youth, those who were able to use their own name in all situations were found to have 71 percent fewer indications of severe depression, 35 percent less thoughts of suicide, and 65 percent less attempted suicides than those who couldn’t.

These results show the positive effect of using the chosen name of a transgender individual on their mental health, according to study author Stephen T. Russell.

“We showed that the more contexts or settings where [trans youth] were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was,” Russell said. “It’s practical to support young people in using the name that they choose. It’s respectful and developmentally appropriate.”

Similar studies have yielded similar results. In a 2014 study entitled “Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults” done by the Williams Institute, it was found that 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide.

10 Responses

  1. Jamie

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article. As a Baby boomer mtf transgender I can so relate. When I was young I’d made several very serious attempts at suicide. There was not even a distinction between gay and trans, not that any of us were accepted. Bullying and beating were pretty acceptable towards lgbtq+ kids then. So much has changed for the better but there’s much more to be done. Now I’m happy to say I love being trans.

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  4. Nikki

    Great article, however I noticed and cringed at the phrase committed suicide.. people aren’t committing a crime they’re losing their battle with depression. I work in mental health and in my quest to remove stigma we prefer the terms died by suicide or completed suicide. But thank you for sharing this valuable information.

    • Katie Burkholder

      Hi Nikki,

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I had no idea at all. I’ve changed the wording of the article to reflect your concerns.

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  6. Will Lewis

    I’ve always been horrified by sexual discrimination, and fully support people being called by their chosen name. After all, haven’t ‘straight’ people named William gone by the names of Willy, Will, Bill, and Billy, and haven’t a number of Richard’s preferred Dick? I must state a biological fact though, and that is there is no such thing as a heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, or otherwise, human being. Human beings are omnisexuals.

    We do not require partners to have sex, as evidenced by the fact all of us have played with our happy places in secret spaces. Nor do we require a specific sex, sex act, or partner, also evidenced by the fact that our kind has had sex with everything from vegetables to animals. The truth is that historically the human sex drive has often been as perverse as it has been diverse. We are sexual beings, and none of us should be shamed for being so. Bravo to all who speak for sexual liberation!


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