LGBTQ Group Study Finds That Kids Who ‘Come Out’ Younger Are At Greater Suicide Risk

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Sarah Wilder Social Issues Reporter
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LGBT advocacy group The Trevor Project released a study March 29 that found kids who come out as transgender or nonbinary at a younger age are at greater risk of suicidal thoughts or actions.

Among youth who came out as transgender or nonbinary before 13 years old, 62% have considered suicide and 29% have attempted suicide, according to the study. But among those who came out at the age of 13 years or older, 51% have considered suicide and 17% attempted suicide. (RELATED: Middle Schoolers Allegedly ‘Bullied’ Peers Into Participating In LGBT ‘Day Of Silence’)

“Young people who came out about their gender identity before age 13 reported higher rates of victimization due to their gender identity,” the study further found.

Coming out can make LGBTQ youth “vulnerable to anti-transgender sentiments and actions,” the researchers wrote, adding the study’s findings “highlight the need for continued support” of these minors.

But the rate of suicidal thoughts and attempts is still higher for kids who come out earlier in life, even if their homes provided “high family support” for the child’s transgender self-identity. Seventeen percent of those who came out before 13 years old considered or attempted suicide, while 9% of those who came out after 13 did, according to the study. Both age groups cited “high family support.”

The Trevor Project has a history of supporting transgender treatments for gender-confused minors, claiming “gender-affirming care has been shown to reduce suicide ideation and attempts in transgender individuals.” The group publicly opposed legislation in Florida that would ban sex change procedures for youth.

Activists often claim so-called “gender affirming care” for minors decreases their risk of suicide, but these studies are methodologically flawed, according to psychiatrists. These statistics are usually based on voluntary surveys, and ignore common comorbidities, such as eating disorders and depression, that also place individuals at increased risk of suicide.

A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior casts doubt on the idea that children who socially transition experience better mental health outcomes, such as improvements to pathological indicators including mood disorders, anxiety and suicide attempts.

“We examined the mental health of children and adolescents referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), a specialist clinic in London, UK, who had socially transitioned … Overall, there were no significant effects of social transition or name change on mental health status,” the study found.