Suicidal thoughts for four in 10 young LGBT+ Americans - survey

by Matthew Lavietes | @mattlavietes | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 17:08 GMT

A young man walks past the One World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, U.S., March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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More than 40% of young, LGBT+ Americans say they considered suicide in the past year, according to the Trevor Project

By Matthew Lavietes

NEW YORK, May 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 40% of young, LGBT+ Americans say they considered suicide in the past year, laid low by COVID-19 lockdowns and political attacks in the Trump era, a survey found on Wednesday.

According to the Trevor Project, a U.S. non-profit dedicated to suicide prevention for LGBT+ Americans, about 70% of the 35,000 young people it surveyed said their mental health was "poor" most or all of the time during the pandemic.

Half said they wanted help with their mental health but were unable to access any.

"This pandemic really had an enormous impact on the mental health and sense of safety for LGBTQ young people," Amit Paley, chief executive of the Trevor Project, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"As we talk about...how we're going to address the impact of the pandemic, we need to make sure that we're paying specific attention to LGBTQ young people."

The overwhelming majority of respondents to the survey, conducted last year between October and December, also raised concerns about LGBT+ rights under former president Donald Trump.

In the survey, 94% of respondents said political events, be it a ban on new transgender military personnel or a rash of LGBT-related bills, had corroded their sense of well-being.

"If you're a young person hearing people talking about your rights as if they're up for debate, that has an impact on your mental health," said Paley.

"That is wrong. That is dangerous. And that puts lives at risk."

Trump announced the military ban in July 2017, reversing a landmark decision by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which allowed trans people to serve openly and receive medical care to transition genders.

President Joe Biden overturned the decision in January.

However, last year also saw robust effort by some state lawmakers to restrict the rights of trans children, mostly around their access to school sports and medical care.

While only a handful of the bills were signed into law, more than 250 similar pieces of legislation have been introduced in state legislatures this year, with 18 becoming law, according to advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign.

Supporters of the moves said they wanted to protect the rights of girls and women in sport and prevent young people from taking medical decisions they might later regret.

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Biden scrambles Plan B on LGBT+ rights as Equality Act meets resistance

(Reporting by Matthew Lavietes @mattlavietes; Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths and Hugo Greenhalgh; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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