Whose lives matter?

A ten-year old transgender child living in a suburb of Atlanta asks her parents, “If I kill myself, do you think that people at the school would feel bad enough they would let other transgender students use the right bathrooms?”

Transgender and gender non-forming (TGNC) people experience alarmingly high rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Research shows that TGNC people report a history of suicidal ideation 4–6 times higher and a history of suicide attempts 6–11 times higher than the estimated lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the general population (13.5% and 4.6%, respectively).

A recent study shows that a significant majority of transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people who have attempted suicide one or more times made their first suicide attempt before the age of 20. As shown in the graphic below, the attempt rates peak at the 13–16 age group.

It is being reported that the Trump administration will rescind guidance issued under President Obama on equal treatment of transgender students in public schools. Sources indicate that the Departments of Education and Justice will soon send a letter withdrawing the guidance.

The increased risk of suicide for TGNC people is due, in part, to four external stressors: gender-based victimization, gender-based rejection, gender-based discrimination, and identity nonaffirmation. Gender-based rejection includes multiple forms of rejection from individuals, institutions, and communities based on one’s gender identity or expression.

The actions of the Departments of Education and Justice in withdrawing the guidance will put lives at risk — lives of elementary, middle, and high school students who do not conform with traditional gender roles and stereotypes. Children’s lives.