The Importance Of Understanding

May 27, 2022

In 2020, the Trevor Project, a nonprofit advocacy group, conducted a nationwide survey of LGBTQ+ youth. What they found was alarming — more than half of transgender and non-binary youth had seriously considered attempting suicide within the past year. In 2021, the survey was repeated; there was no improvement as once again, more than half of this marginalized group had considered suicide.’
Why are so many people — specifically kids, among the most vulnerable individuals in society — struggling so deeply? The answer can be surprisingly simple. In that same survey, the Trevor Project found a variety of ways to reduce the risk of suicide for gender non-conforming youth. LGBTQ+ youth who had their pronouns respected by the people around them were less likely to consider suicide, and also less likely to attempt it. The same was true of those who were able to change their name if desired, and LGBTQ+ youth who had access to welcoming spaces. Clearly, there are ways to protect LGBTQ+ youth. The persistence of their struggles can thus be attributed to the actions of some people in society who fail to provide that kind of support.
If everyone respected young people’s pronouns, affirmed their identities, and made them feel welcome, more LGBTQ+ youth would be alive today. That is the critical nature of the kind of understanding that can only be attained through a dedication to reading, learning, and talking about the experiences of non-binary people. If you can take what you read here today and expand upon it — asking questions, seeking information, and providing support — the world will be a better place for millions of young people. They’re counting on you.

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