Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults

Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults:  Findings of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, Williams Institute, January 2014

This is the study most frequently cited to convince parents that their children must be allowed to transition or they will probably commit suicide.  A common slogan trans-promoting doctors will say is, "you can either have a living son or a dead daughter", and they will point to studies like this one to prove their point.


The survey only included exactly one question on suicide:  "Have you ever attempted suicide?"  (Y/N)

The survey did not ask when the attempt was made.  Was it made before? during? after transition?  If we do not know, then how can we know if transitioning will reduce the risk of suicide?  How serious was the attempt?

In spite of this glaring limitation, gender affirming professionals are undaunted in using it to scare parents into compliance with transitioning their child.

The survey did not explore mental health status.

The presence of mental health issues is a major risk factor for both attempted and completed suicide.

If we don't know the mental health status of the respondents, then how can we know if the suicide attempt is related to being transgender, such as social stigma, or due to a pre-existing mental health issue?

The survey did not explore personal history

Adverse life events, such as being attacked, raped or suffering the loss of a loved one, can increase the likelihood of a suicide attempt.  This likelihood is increased substantially among people with co-existing mood, anxiety and other mental disorders.

How many of the respondents, especially those with mental health issues, had adverse life events that may have caused them to attempt suicide?

The survey did not include a group who had gender dysphoria, but did not transition.

This would have been useful to discover if the rates of suicide attempts were the same, greater, or less than those who transitioned.