Information regarding the epidemiology of suicide among lesbian and gay male individuals is limited, and comprehensive information is needed. This study seeks to describe the characteristics and precipitating circumstances of suicide among lesbian and gay male decedents when compared with non-lesbian and non-gay male decedents.
An analysis was conducted of National Violent Death Reporting System data from 18 U.S. states for the years 2003–2014. Sociodemographic characteristics and precipitating circumstances of suicide among lesbian and gay male decedents were compared with non-lesbian and non-gay male decedents. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine the association between precipitating circumstances and suicide by sexual orientation. The analysis was conducted in December 2017.
There were a total of 123,289 suicide decedents from 18 states participating in National Violent Death Reporting System during 2003–2014; of those, 621 (0.5%) were identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The majority of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender decedents were identified as gay male (53.9%), followed by lesbian (28.0%), transgender (10.4%), and bisexual (7.5%). The analysis revealed several differences by age, mechanism of injury, and precipitating circumstances, including intimate partner problems among lesbian decedents, suicide planning and intent for both lesbian and gay male decedents, and mental health problems among gay male decedents.
Findings highlight differences in the characteristics of suicide among lesbian and gay male and non-lesbian and non-gay male decedents. It is important for suicide prevention efforts to be culturally sensitive and consider the needs of sexual minority populations.