Suicide among LGBT youth

Research has found that attempted suicide rates and suicidal ideation among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youth is significantly higher than among the general population.[1][2]

The passage of laws that discriminate against LGBT people have been shown to have significant negative impacts on the physical and mental health and well-being of LGBT youth; for example, depression and drug use among LGBT people have been shown to increase significantly after the passage of discriminatory laws.[3] By contrast, the passage of laws that recognize LGBT people as equal with regard to civil rights may have significant positive impacts on the physical and mental health and well-being of LGBT youth. A study of nationwide data from across the United States from January 1999 to December 2015 revealed that the recognition of same-sex marriage is associated with a significant reduction in the rate of attempted suicide among children, with the effect being concentrated among children of a minority sexual orientation (LGBT youth), resulting in approximately 134,000 fewer children attempting suicide each year in the United States.[4][5][6][7][8] Comparable findings are observed outside the United States. A study using cross-country data from 1991 to 2017 for 36 OECD countries found that same-sex marriage legalization is associated with a decline in youth suicide of 1.191 deaths per 100,000 youth, with this reduction persisting at least into the medium term.[9]

Bullying of LGBT youth has been shown to be a contributing factor in many suicides, even if not all of the attacks have been specifically regarding sexuality or gender.[10] Since a series of suicides in the early 2000s, more attention has been focused on the issues and underlying causes in an effort to reduce suicides among LGBT youth. Research by the Family Acceptance Project has demonstrated that "parental acceptance, and even neutrality, with regard to a child's sexual orientation" can bring down the attempted suicide rate.[11][12]

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention notes that there is no national data (for the U.S.) regarding suicidal ideation or suicide rates among the LGBT population as a whole or for LGBT youth in particular.[13]