Study Reveals Shocking Rates of Attempted Suicide Among Trans Teens in the United States
Trans teens reveal that they have attempted suicide in the past, they need more support
Recently I have been thinking about the mental health and overall health and safety of the LGBTQ community. I have no association with the community myself but there has been a recent spotlight on the LGBTQ community here in Ghana where I currently live. The LGBT + Rights group newly launched headquarters in Accra was forcibly shut down by the Ghana Security Services. This incident prompted me to carry out more research on the LGBTQ community globally.
As a Muslim woman, it is shocking to most people within the Muslim community that I am concerned about the wellbeing of those in the LGBTQ community. I am because as a Muslim woman I believe that we should be concerned about the wellbeing of other human beings regardless of sexual orientation. I recently came across a very shocking study regarding the rates of attempted suicide among trans teenagers in the United States. It is both shocking and scary to think that young teens are either contemplating or committing suicide due to fear of ridicule and fear of victimization.
I read a study that was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it revealed some very unnerving stats. The study highlighted the terrifying levels of attempted suicide among transgender youth, in particular transgender boys and non-binary youth.
More than 50 percent of the transgender male teenagers that took part in the survey admitted to attempting suicide at some point in their lives. More than 25 percent of the transgender female teenagers also admitted to attempting suicide.
This is a scary revelation and although this survey was carried out in the United States, here in Ghana, the stigma attached to anything that is not considered “traditional” or “conventional” is terrifying. Out here, you are judged for having dreadlocks or colored hair, members of the LGBTQ community fear for their lives here. They are not only judged by members of the public but are also shunned by their own family members. I fear for the mental wellbeing of members of the LGBTQ community out here because there is no safe space for them to express themselves freely.
Lack of support and understanding create significant risk factors for suicide or self-harm. Recently, celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Idris Elba signed a letter to the Ghanaian president requesting a change in the law that criminalizes homosexuality in Ghana, the plea was rejected.
These shocking statistics pertaining to attempted suicide among trans teens in the United States leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because the United States offers far more support in comparison to the support offered here in Ghana. Not to say that the LGBTQ community have it easy anywhere in the world because they don’t. However, there are more support systems available in the western world.
The LGBTQ community need a safe space in Ghana, in Africa as a whole. Like it or not, they are human beings, they exist, they are not going anywhere, so we might as well provide a safe space to protect them from harm.
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