Anti-LGBTQ+ laws sweeping through the US are having a negative effect on the mental health of young LGBTQ+ people, according to a new national survey.
Content warning: This story includes topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable and/or upset.
The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organisation for LGBTQ+ young people, surveyed more than 28,000 people aged 13 to 24 across the country as part of its 2023 National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young People.
It found that almost one in three LGBTQ+ youth have reported poor mental health as a result of anti-LGBTQ+ policies and legislation.
Nearly two in three said that hearing about potential state or local laws banning people from discussing LGBTQ+ people at school made their mental health a lot worse.
It marks the fifth consecutive year that The Trevor Project’s data has shown that anti-LGBTQ+ victimisation contributes to higher suicide risk among LGBTQ+ youth.
Verbal harassment at school also continues to be a daily reality for a majority of LGBTQ+ people, according to the survey.
NEW: At a time when LGBTQ existence is unfairly at the center of national political debate, our 2023 National Survey shows the urgency of ensuring that LGBTQ young people feel safe, supported & belonged.
Building a better world for LGBTQ youth starts with you. Read our survey ⬇️
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) May 1, 2023
Roughly half of trans and non-binary young people found their school to be gender-affirming and those who did reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
More generally, attempted suicide rates were lower among trans and non-binary youth who said the people they live with respect their pronouns.
More than four in 10 (41 per cent) of young LGBTQ+ people considered attempting suicide in the past year, with rates being higher among trans, non-binary and/or people if colour.
Almost six in 10 (56 per cent) of LGBTQ+ young people who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it.
“This is a public health crisis — and it’s preventable”
“Among transgender and nonbinary young people, half seriously considered suicide, and one in five attempted suicide in the past year. This is a public health crisis — and it’s preventable,” said Kasey Suffredini, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project.
“Our government must work from the top down to curb risk factors like violence and discrimination and increase access to essential health care, safe schools, and support systems.
“Yet, far too many lawmakers at the state level are working overtime to push a dangerous political agenda that will jeopardize young lives.
“We understand that some of these issues can seem complicated for people who’ve never met a transgender person, but the impact of victimization on our young people is clear and dire.”
You can read The Trevor Project’s findings in full here.