Trans youth and allies rally at City Hall in a student-organized effort to advocate for their rights. (Photo: Jason Villemez)

Survey: 12 Percent of LGBTQ Youth Attempted Suicide in 2023

New data from the Trevor Project, the main suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth in the United States, reveals that more than one in 10 young people who identify as LGBTQ attempted suicide in 2023. The new national survey of LGBTQ young people shows high rates of suicide risk, harmful impacts of anti-LGBTQ politics and anti-LGBTQ bullying. The report also details and breaks down the percentages for each group, with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

The 37-page “2024 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People” included responses from 18,000 people aged 13 to 24, according to the organization.

Nearly 40 percent of LGBTQ young people seriously considered suicide in the past year, the survey found. That number was even higher for transgender and nonbinary youth at 46 percent. In addition, LGBTQ youth of color reported higher rates than their white peers. Of all LGBTQ youth, 12 percent attempted suicide in the past year, a staggering number. 30 percent of Gen Z women identify as LGBTQ and LGBTQ identity is at an all-time high of 7.6 percent.

The Trevor Project explained that similar to previous surveys, anti-LGBTQ victimization was strongly associated with suicide risk, “adding to the long-established reality that LGBTQ young people are not inherently prone to suicide risk, but rather, placed at a higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized by others.”

A full 90 percent of LGBTQ young people said their well-being was negatively impacted due to recent politics, and nearly half (45 percent) of transgender and nonbinary young people reported that they or their family have considered moving to a different state because of LGBTQ-related politics and laws. Nearly half (49 percent) of LGBTQ young people aged 13-17 experienced bullying in the past year, and those who did experience bullying reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year.

Janson Wu, Senior Director of State Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project, said in a statement, “Much of our efforts to address the public health crisis of suicide among LGBTQ young people are made that much harder by the ongoing wave of anti-LGBTQ policies pushed by extremist lawmakers across the country.”

Wu said of the study, “With such striking numbers and families literally wanting to uproot their homes to seek safety, lawmakers must seriously reconsider the real and damaging impact that their anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric create. No ‘political victory’ should be worth risking the lives of young people.”

LGBTQ people, particularly youth, are under attack from GOP legislation, from policies against gender affirming care for trans youth to book bans of books with LGBTQ content.

The Trevor Project found that even though queer and trans youth were subject to risks that their straight and cisgender peers were not, half of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care could not access such help.

The Trevor Project said that the survey’s findings underscore how LGBTQ young people “continue to report high rates of mental health challenges, suicide risk and associated experiences of anti-LGBTQ victimization such as bullying, discrimination, threats of physical violence, and conversion therapy.”

The survey also included information about how to support LGBTQ youth in what the Trevor Project stated is an attempt to “highlight the association between lower odds of suicide risk and access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces and experiences, such as affirming homes, schools, and communities, as well as gender-neutral bathrooms.”

The survey found that LGBTQ people who reported living in accepting environments “attempted suicide at less than half the rate” of those who lived in communities which were not accepting. In addition, “transgender and nonbinary people who had their preferred pronouns used and had access to gender-affirming clothing and school bathrooms had lower rates of attempting suicide compared to those who did not.”

According to the study, suicide risks were strongly associated with “anti-LGBTQ victimization” including recent politics and bullying related to their sexual or gender identity. Those who revealed they experienced bullying reported “significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year,” the Trevor Project explained. Among those LGBTQ youth, 90 percent of those surveyed said “their well-being was negatively impacted due to recent politics.”

Dr. Ronita Nath, the Vice President of Research at the Trevor Project, said in a statement that the survey “illustrates a need to better support the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ young people, a group that we know consistently experiences higher rates of suicide compared to their peers.”

As one of the largest and most diverse of its kind, Nath said the survey “offers unique insights into the experiences of LGBTQ young people in the U.S. across intersecting identities such as race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, and region.”

Nath said, “Once again, this year’s survey shows that considering or attempting suicide is not uncommon among LGBTQ young people. However, many of the contributing risk factors for suicide are preventable, and often rooted in victimizing behaviors of others.”

Nath added, “The results of this survey clearly identify a need for adults and allies to create more affirming environments for LGBTQ young people, and better support them in being their true selves.”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. The Trevor Project also has a crisis line (1-866-488-7386) and text line (Text ‘START’ to 678678). Visit thetrevorproject.org/get-help/ for more resources.

Story courtesy of Philadelphia Gay News via the National LGBTQ Media Association. The National LGBTQ Media Association represents 13 legacy publications in major markets across the country with a collective readership of more than 400K in print and more than 1 million + online. Learn more here: https://nationallgbtmediaassociation.com/