Study: Transgender teens at higher risk of violence, suicide attempts
MelissaJenco, News Content Editor
Transgender teens are at a higher risk of being victims of violence, using drugs and
attempting suicide compared to their peers, according to a new report.
High school students were asked about gender identity as part of a pilot question
on the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Among the sample from 19 sites, about 1.8% of students identified as transgender,
94.4% said they were not transgender and the remaining students were unsure of their
identity or did not understand the question, according to the study by Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention researchers published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
About 27% of transgender students said they feel unsafe at school compared to 5% of
cisgender males and 7% of cisgender females. More transgender students also reported
being bullied at school — 35% compared to 15% of cisgender males and 21% of cisgender
Transgender teens were more likely than their peers to have their first sexual intercourse
before age 13. They also were more likely to be forced to have sexual intercourse,
according to the report.
Researchers also found just over 26% of transgender teens have experienced physical
dating violence, compared to 6% of cisgender males and 9% of cisgender females.
Transgender teens’ risk factors for suicide also were higher including suicide attempts
— 35% compared to 5.5% of cisgender males and 9% of cisgender females.
Substance use among transgender teens was higher for nearly all substances in the
survey. Authors noted this could be linked to their high rates of violence victimization.
They called for more support for these teens.
“Taking steps to create safe learning environments and provide access to culturally
competent physical and mental health care might be important first steps to improving
the health of transgender youths,” they wrote.