8 Things the Statistics Actually Say About Trans Suicide

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Author’s note 1: If you are thinking about hurting yourself or ending your life, please reach out and get help. We want you to stay alive. National Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255; National Crisis Textline: Text “GO” to 741-741; Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860; Trevor Helpline for LGBT Youth: 1-866-7386.

Author’s note 2: As this is getting shared, many people have been asking questions about how to interpret the findings I describe. For example, “Does this mean that this causes that?” I penned a post briefly explaining some concepts, like correlations and risk, which should help if, like most folks, you’ve never had the pleasure of a course on statistics or research methods.

I have seen a growing number of people citing statistics about increased suicide risk as evidence that therapists/psychologists/counselors/society should not support trans people’s identities and transitions. Gina Loudon told Fox News that those who supported trans people’s right to transition were “science deniers,” claiming that research has found that trans people’s suicide risk increases 20-fold when they transition (spoiler: that statistic is inaccurate). Michael Cook recently penned a blog post titled “What do the statistics say about transgender mental health?”, in which he concluded that the idea that trans people’s psychological stress will be relieved through transitioning is pure deception that runs counter to the evidence. Heath Lambert, professor of biblical counseling who counsels trans people to avoid transition, defends his position by stating that trans people who have transitioned still have higher rates than the general population.

I’ll be clear: Trans people do have increased suicide risk. Across all demographics, if a person is transgender they are more likely to seriously consider and attempt suicide.1The research, however, just flat out does not support the above views that this increased risk is due to some instability associated with undergoing a gender transition. I propose we take a thorough look at the statistics and the science on trans suicide, so we can get a grasp on what we do know about trans people’s suicide risk. Below are 8 consistent findings from the literature on trans suicide.

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