On Tuesday, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and the Williams Institute, released new analysis from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which was released by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 2011. This report uses the 6,456 accounts of discrimination from transgender and gender non-conforming (GNC) adults (compiled in NTDS), to find unprecedented links between experiences of discrimination, and suicide attempts among transgender people. The comprehensive report is one part of new study being conducted by Dr. Jody L. Herman (Williams Institute), with Doctors Ann P. Haas and Phillip L. Rogers (AFSP).
Forty-one percent of respondents reported having attempted suicide at some point in their lives. This new groundbreaking analysis seeks to identify and understand the characteristics and experiences that factor into the prevalent suicide attempts among transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study outlines a somber relationship between the negative experiences transgender people face from anti-transgender biases, and the increased pervasiveness of suicide attempts in the transgender and GNC populations.
Beyond showing genuine concern for transgender/GNC people, the analysis of data collected in the National Transgender Discrimination Survey highlights some of the hard and fast truths for transgender people, many of which have been blurred over for too long. These truths lie in the negative experiences, also known as minority stressors, which hold the reins on the shocking prevalence of suicide attempts among transgender and gender nonconforming people. Importantly, this analysis zeros in on the environmental stressors and negative biases that contribute to the astronomical suicide attempt rates among transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Some additional truths from the study to note:
- Fifty-seven percent (57%) of NTDS respondents whose families chose to not spend time with, or not speak with them, had attempted suicide.
- Sixty percent (60%) of respondents whose doctor or healthcare provider refused to treat them, had attempted suicide.
- Seventy percent (70%) of respondents who had experienced homelessness, had also attempted suicide.
Numbers like these can no longer be ignored. As the report states:
“[F]urther research is needed to examine the interrelationship of rejection, discrimination, victimization, and violence related to anti-transgender bias and serious mental health conditions. In-depth studies using in-person interviews and clinical measures are also needed to determine the independent and combined effects of these two factors in creating a pathway to suicidal behavior in transgender and gender non-conforming populations. Such studies could not only provide the basis for better interventions, but could also underscore the need to address through public policy the high levels of rejection, discrimination, victimization, and violence experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people.”