Policy priority: LGBTQ individuals and communities
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons and those who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ1) experience significant health and behavioral health disparities. Sexual orientation is defined as “an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to other people.” Gender identity is an individual’s innermost sense of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither (Human Rights Campaign, 2018). Research has shown that LGBT people have much higher rates of having attempted suicide at some point in their lifetimes as compared to their non-LGBT peers. LGB youth are approximately three times more likely to contemplate suicide and about five times as likely to attempt suicide in comparison to heterosexual youth (Center for Disease Control (CDC), 2016). For those who identify as transgender, about 40% have attempted suicide, which is 9 times higher than general rate of the U.S. population (James et al., 2015). Among students in grades nine through twelve, almost 50% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students have seriously considered attempting suicide, while the percentage among heterosexual students is 14.5% (YRBS, 2019).