Something is wrong. Something has to be wrong when suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 to 24. And something has to be terribly wrong when, even compared to these statistics, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth are still nearly 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.
It’s shocking, but true: gay and transgender youth are at a much greater risk for suicide than the average adolescent. Gay youth are 4 times as likely to think about suicide as their straight peers. Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt. There is no one reason why a young person may attempt suicide. It’s not because of who they are. It’s because adolescence is stressful, and facing adolescence as a gay or transgender teenager is even more stressful still.
It’s time to give a damn about the suicide risk of our gay and transgender youth. Not just because all kids deserve to know that someone cares about them, but also because research has shown that giving a damn actually makes a huge difference in the lives of gay and transgender teens. Peer support groups, teacher training, a caring adult — all help lower the suicide risk among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.
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