Causes of Transgender Suicidal Thoughts in Adults
Suicidal thoughts are crushingly sad and often part of a broader mental health condition. While doctors can treat many such illnesses with therapy, medication, and support, it’s clear that the suicide rate of transgender people is disproportionately high.
Here we’ll look at the causes, the factors, and ways we can make a change.
Are Transgender Suicide Statistics Worse Than Average?
It’s an easy question to answer – and, unfortunately, it’s a yes.
The Williams Institute research in 2019 quantified that suicidal thoughts were far higher in transgender people than in the rest of the US public.
Some of the leading elements, present in the majority of trans respondents who had experienced such thoughts, or attempted suicide, include:
- Family rejection – lack of support from family or losing contact with relations who cannot accept a trans person for who they are severely increases the likelihood of a suicide attempt.
- Correspondingly, violence and discrimination- gender fluid people who experience discrimination or violence are exposed to higher instances of attempts on their lives.
- Medical access – those with access to medical care and gender-affirming medication have lower suicide prevalence.
We can see instantly that lack of empathy, understanding, and acceptance are critical triggers for suicidal thoughts.
How Many Adult Trans People Commit Suicide?
Sadly, 98% of trans community members involved in the research reported four or more instances of abuse or discrimination in the last year.
Nearly every person had been assaulted in some way.
Of those participants, 51% attempted suicide in the same year.
To put that into context, around 0.013% of people experience mental health disorders that lead to suicide across the US.
That tells us that the injustices experienced by trans people make them a terrifying 99.97% more prone to try to take their own lives at some point – and something must change.
The enormous tragedy here is that it is not being trans that makes a person consider suicide – it is rejection by people they love, being attacked and abused, or having zero medical support to live their authentic lives.
All things that could easily change if the political drive and social awareness were on board.
What Makes a Trans Person More Vulnerable to Suicidal Thoughts?
The following factors make a trans person more exposed to having suicidal thoughts. These often accompany other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or chronic stress.
- Severe psychological distress, along with heavy substance abuse, including alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Generally, poor health, with a fraction of suicide attempts being by trans people in excellent health.
- Disabilities, with disabled people more likely to experience homelessness or arrest.
Why Are Some Transgender Fluid People So Much Better Balanced?
There’s little doubt these stats are crushingly sad and highlight why so much work is required to eliminate trans discrimination.
Resilience. It’s an easy word to say, harder to do actively, and something that the broader members of society can bolster – in ways that are more profound than you could imagine.
Any person taking their life is a terrible situation. Still, knowing that the risks can be steeply cut down with support, medical care, and community compassion means trans suicide rates can improve.
Let’s look at respondents to trans surveys and the indicators that they’re far less at risk of suicide.
How Can We Help Reduce the Instances of Suicide in Our Transgender Communities?
Supportive families – trans individuals who have support from their families are far more likely to avoid mental health conditions, not experience suicidal thoughts, and never attempt suicide.
Good medical care – people who have chosen to receive medical care, either hormonal or surgical, and get that treatment, have a significantly lower prevalence of suicide.
Many trans suicide deaths occur in people who wanted hormone treatment or were hoping to receive gender affirmation surgery but were refused or could not afford the costs.
US states with gender identify non-discrimination laws are more likely to be home to trans people who remain in good health.
States where no such legislation exists, and trans discrimination is much higher, put their trans citizens at greater vulnerability to suicide.
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