- A recent study looks at the challenges LGBTQ kids face as they come to terms with their sexual orientation and gender identities.
- The paper focuses on the rise in youngsters who come out before becoming 13 years old.
- In comparison to their elder classmates, they experience more victimization, prejudice, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.
The Trevor Project, a 24/7 resource for LGBTQ children, has published a paper analyzing the relationship between the age at which LGBTQ adolescents come out about their sexual orientation and suicide risk in honor of National Coming Out Day on October 11.
The main conclusions of the brief are:
- LGBTQ youth are disclosing their sexual orientation earlier in life.
- LGBTQ adolescents are disclosing their sexual orientation at earlier ages.
- LGBTQ adolescents who came out before age 13 were more likely to commit suicide.
- Before turning 13, LGBTQ kids reported greater rates of victimization because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- In comparison to LGBTQ adolescents who came out before age 13 but did not suffer victimization, those who did so and experienced victimization reported greater rates of suicide attempts.
- LGBTQ kids who came out about their sexual orientation before the age of 13 and had strong family support showed decreased rates of recent suicide attempts.
- There was a 56% rise in the likelihood that LGBTQ kids who came out about their sexual orientation two or more years after first suspecting they might be LGBTQ attempted suicide in the previous year.
The type of support you receive, where you come out, and when you come out are more important factors than whether coming out in and of itself is bad for LGBTQ adolescents’ mental health.
These statistics should serve as a call to action for those who are close to LGBTQ youth to create safe, affirming environments where they can feel seen, and instead of acting as a deterrent to coming out because of worry about bullying or harassment, support is given for who they are.