Defining yourself as you were intended outside of the expectations of others must be rather difficult. Identifying yourself publicly comes with considerable consequences. Such consequences are not your responsibility, but rather the responsibilities of your environment. Your environment may be receptive or negative. Regardless, you have the right and privilege to be who you are. Although there may be negative reactions, don’t let them influence who you are. As difficult as this experience may be, know there are resources and people who care about you.

A Message to Parents and Professionals

Though Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) youth have a higher rate of suicide, it does not mean that if a youth is identified as LGBTQ, they are at higher risk. By no means is this population stereotyped as more prone to suicide, rather there are increased risk factors and lowered protective factors in such a population, not for who these youth are, but more so as others inappropriately perceive them. Regardless of how these youth identify themselves as individuals, others influence and define how they are perceived. Specifically, LGBTQ youth can come out to their community and parents with received acceptance and not experience any risk. However, if a youth has identified himself or herself and is not accepted, they are generally someone who is subjected to ridicule, isolation, withdrawal and depression as a result of sexual identification. In such instances, there are increased risks and lowered protective factors in that there is a lack of connectivity.

What You May Not Know

  • LGBTQ youth high school students were 3.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide in the last year than their heterosexual peers.
  • LGBTQ youth who experienced severe family rejection were more than 8 times more likely to report having attempted suicide compared with peers from families with little or no rejection.
  • Research indicates that 30 percent of LGB youth versus 13 percent of heterosexual youth (mean age of about 18) had attempted suicide at some point.
  • A study found that 28.1 percent of gay or bisexual males in grades 7 through 12 had attempted suicide at least once during their lives, while only 4.2 percent of heterosexual males in those grades had attempted suicide. The corresponding percentages for females were 20.5 percent for lesbian or bisexual females and 14.5 percent for heterosexual females.
  • Family and parental support are important protective factors against adolescent suicide for LGB youth.
  • In a study of high school students, LGB youth were almost five times as likely as non-LGB youth to have missed school because of fears about their safety and more than four times as likely to have been threatened with a weapon on school property.Victimization – violence, bullying and verbal harassment- is a risk factor for suicideattempts and suicidal ideation.
  • CDC – LGB youth are at an increased risk for suicidal ideations, behaviors, attempts, and completions.
  • CDC – LGB youth experience increased levels of substance use, bullying, negative school climate, feelings of depression and feelings of unsafety within their school/community.
  • SPRC.org – study from the Massachusets Dept. of Ed., 2006 YRBS indicates that LGB high school students are more than 4x as likely to attempt suicide as their non-LGB peers.
  • AAS – Eisenber and Resnick (2006) report that LGB youth are more than 2x as likely to complete suicide as their straight peers; LGBT youth have more sever risk factors thantheir straight peers » AAS – D’Angelli (2002) reports high rates of victimization among LGB youth; Ryan et al. (2009) finds family acceptance was important for LGB youth and that they experience severe family rejection and are 8x more likely to report attempting suicide than their non-LGB youth with the same experiences.

Resources for LGBTQ 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project operates the nations only 24/7 suicide & crisis prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth. If you or a friend are feeling lost or alone call the helpline.

The Gay-Straight Alliance Network

The Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a national youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training. GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to: 1. create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions, 2. educate the school community about homophobia, transphobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and 3. fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. They believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Since homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate, they work to educate teachers, students and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike. They recognize that forces such as racism and sexism have similarly adverse impacts on communities and we support schools in seeking to redress all such inequities. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community. Welcoming any and all individuals as members, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity/expression or occupation, who are committed to seeing this philosophy realized in K-12 schools.

The It Gets Better Project

The It Gets Better Project communicates to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and strives to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can’t imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves. While many of these teens couldn’t see a positive future for themselves, we can. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SEICUS) was founded in 1964 to provide education and information about sexuality and sexual and reproductive health. SIECUS affirms that sexuality is a fundamental part of being human, one that is worthy of dignity and respect. They advocate for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services. SIECUS works to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights. SIECUS educates, advocates, and informs.

Educate: We help schools and communities develop comprehensive sexuality education curricula, train teachers to provide high quality sexuality education in the classroom, and help parents talk to their kids about sex.

Advocate: We educate policymakers and their staff about issues related to sexuality and train advocates on the local, state, and national levels to build support for comprehensive sexuality education and access to reproductive health information and services.

Inform: We produce countless resources for a wide variety of audiences—from policymakers to parents, healthcare providers to teens—to ensure that everyone has access to accurate, complete, and up-to-date information about sexuality.

The Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide — all committed to making HRC’s vision a reality. Founded in 1980, HRC advocates on behalf of LGBT Americans, mobilizes grassroots actions in diverse communities, invests strategically to elect fair-minded individuals to office and educates the public about LGBT issues.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality.