Health and Wellness

Calling transgender youth by their name dramatically reduces their chance of suicide

Philadelphia, PA/USA - October 23, 2018- Hundreds gather in Love Park in Philadelphia in response to the Trump administrations memo defining gender as an unchangeable biological characteristicPhoto: Shutterstock

Calling a transgender person by the same name they refer to themselves can reduce their chance of suicide by as much as 65% according to a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Heath.

Researches used a sample of 129 transgender and gender nonconforming youth from three U.S. cities , assessing their name usage among home, school, work, and friends. They then compared it to depression as well as suicidal ideation and behavior.

The results were at once both astounding and unsurprising: when compared to those who are not able to use their own name in any situation, researchers found 71% fewer indications of severe depression.

What’s more, they also found that thoughts of suicide dropped by 35%, and a 65% decrease in attempted suicide. 

Related: Trans teen suicide attempts may have spiked because of Trump’s tweets

“Many kids who are transgender have chosen a name that is different than the one that they were given at birth,” said study author Stephen T. Russell. “We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was.”

The numbers echo other studies into depression and suicide among transgender and nonbinary people. 

A study published last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that more than half of all teenaged transgender men who were involved in the study had attempted suicide, as well as 29.9% of teenaged transgender women, and 41.8% of non-binary youth.

These numbers also compared to the groundbreaking 2014 study from the Williams Institute, which showed that 41% of transgender people attempt suicide.

This most recent study shows that using the name a transgender person uses for themselves, a person can dramatically affect the mental well-being of that transgender person, including at work, school, or home.

“It’s practical to support young people in using the name that they choose,” said Russell. “It’s respectful and developmentally appropriate.”

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