Two percent of high school students identify as transgender
Nearly two percent of high school students identify as transgender, of which a third (35%) have attempted suicide in the past year, a study has shown.
The Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asked 131,901 students across ten states and nine “large urban school districts” about their gender identity.
The CDC partnered with LGBT organisations, including the inclusive schools non-profit GLSEN, to obtain the statistics, which show trans students face a higher risk of mental health problems and bullying.
Caitlin Clark, a research associate at GLSEN, told NBC: “In order to make policy changes, we need to have hard numbers to point to.
“Trans youth don’t experience poorer mental health or higher suicidality because it’s something that comes with being trans.
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“Trans people have poorer mental health because they are at higher risk of victimisation and discrimination.”
Better school environment for trans students
The CDC suggests anti-bullying policies and better training for staff members could help create a safe and supportive school environment for trans students.
Amit Paley, CEO & executive director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for LGBTQ youth, said in a statement: “The CDC’s new groundbreaking report shows that transgender youth exist in much greater numbers than researchers previously estimated.
“By collecting data inclusive of gender identity, the report shows the very real health risks faced by transgender and gender non-conforming youth.
“The CDC’s findings highlight the need for even more policies to protect transgender and gender nonconforming youth, as well as additional support for LGBTQ-affirming organisations like The Trevor Project.”
Paley added that the work is not over, highlighting only ten states and 9 urban school districts chose to ask about gender identity and expression.
“Only by understanding who our youth are and how they identify can we craft policies to allow every young person to thrive,” he said.