According to a recent study, one in every two transgender adolescents who are female but identify as male have attempted suicide.
The study, “Transgender Adolescent Suicide Behavior” was published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The study was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Russell B. Toomey, PhD, of the University of Arizona, Tucson, along with his associates performed an analysis of data taken from the Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors survey. The data was collected from June 2012 to May 2015 and included 120,617 adolescents aged 11-19 years. A total of 202 of which identified as male to female transgender, 175 identified as female to male transgender, 344 identified as nonbinary transgender, 1,052 identified as questioning, 57,871 identified as male and 60,973 identified as female.
The least likely to attempt suicide, according to the data were male adolescents, with 10% reporting at least one attempt, followed by those who identify as female at 18%, questioning at 28%, male to female transgender at 30%, nonbinary transgender at 42%, and female to male transgender at a staggering 51% having attempted suicide at one point in their young lives. All of these groups were significantly more likely to attempt suicide in comparison to male adolescents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults ages 10 to 34 in the U.S.
Geographical location -rural or urban- did not have any significant effect on suicide attempts, nor did higher-levels of education among parents. Race did not have an effect either, with researchers saying they did not find any evidence that non-Caucausian transgender adolescents were at a higher risk compared with Caucasian transgender adolescents.
“These results should be used to inform suicide prevention and intervention policy and programs that are aimed at reducing ongoing gender identity–related disparities in suicide behavior as well as ongoing research in which authors seek to better understand for whom and why suicide behavior risk exists,” the authors concluded.
The leading author of the study, Russell B. Toomey, PhD, focuses his work on youth who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and what they call “queer”-meaning that any attempts to discredit the research as “anti-LGBTQ” will likely fall flat. Toomey descrbied his research in his bio as:
“Largely, my research has examined these relationships with explicit attention to the minority-specific stressors of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination that contribute to the disparate rates of negative outcomes experienced by sexual and gender diverse adolescents and Latinx youth, and the protective factors (e.g., family support, acceptance) that buffer these associations.”
The term “Latix” is used by some instead of “Latino” or “Latina” in an attempt to circumvent the Spanish gendered noun system.
This study comes on the heels of another recently released study from Brown University that focused mainly on what researchers described as “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” gender dysphoria that manifested within days or weeks in teens and young adults, rather than presented in one’s early youth.
Lisa Littman, assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences at Brown’s School of Public Health, and the study’s author stated, “This kind of descriptive study is important because it defines a group and raises questions for more research. One of the main conclusions is that more research needs to be done. Descriptive studies aren’t randomized controlled trials – you can’t tell cause and effect, and you can’t tell prevalence. It’s going to take more studies to bring in more information, but this is a start.”
“The onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe,” she added.
The study was based on 256 surveys, all completed by parents and had been published earlier this month in a peer-reviewed science journal called PLOS ONE, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Over 62% of teens had previously been diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disability, or at least one mental health disorder.
Parents reported their children “exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity.” These findings led to the hypothesis that “friends and online sources could spread certain beliefs.”
For example, parents said they witnessed “clusters of gender dysphoria outbreaks” in the peer groups their children associated with and “in a pattern that seems statistically unlikely based on previous research.”
Within just a few days, Brown University pulled the article that promoted Littman’s study, saying it removed the article to conduct an academic review, but in actuality the decision had more to do with being politically correct and possibly the results being uncomfortable for some to deal with.
More and more adolescents are identifying as transgender. The Atlantic has reported on the rise of transgender children and teens and found that:
“In June 2016, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimated that 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender, a near-doubling of an estimate from about a decade earlier. As of 2017, according to the institute, about 150,000 teenagers ages 13 to 17 identified as trans. The number of young people seeking clinical services appears to be growing as well. A major clinic in the United Kingdom saw a more than 300 percent increase in new referrals over the past three years.”
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